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Brain Shrinkage Plagues Humans, Not Chimps

Chimpanzees have a very distinct advantage over humans: Their brains don’t shink as they age.

At least that was the finding of recent study that The Wall Street Journal reported on in an article headlined “Brain Shrinkage: It’s Only Human.”

The human brain can diminish in size, anywhere from 10 percent to 15 percent, as a person ages. And this brain shrinkage is blamed  for dementia, bad memory and even depression, according to The Journal.

Yet chimps don’t face any of these issues. Their brains don’t get smaller as they get older, according to brain-scanning research performed by an anthrohopolist,   Chet Sherwood, at George Washington University.

The studyaccording to The Journal, involved 87 men from 22 to 88 and 99 chimps from 10 to 51 years old. A human’s brain is three pounds, three times the size of a chimp’s brain. 

But no matter how scientists sliced it, while the human’s lost volume in their brains, the chimps’ brains didn’t change.

One theory about this difference is that human’s have a lifespan of 80 years or more, which is double the lifespan of a chimp. 

“During those extra decades of life, natural cell-repair mechanisms may wear out and neural circuits with, the researchers said,” The Journal reported.

At this point, that seems to be the unavoidable cost of living a long life for humans. And those changes can leads to  Alzeimer’s and memory lose for the aged.  Hopefully, the latest research will be a step toward finding a cure for the disease. 

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