Larger Brain Could Mean Lower Dementia Risk
The size of a person's brain could help predict if they're more or less likely to develop dementia.
According to new research, published in _Alzheimer’s Research and Therap_y, the larger a person's hippocampus, the lower their risk may be of developing cognitive impairment.
The hippocampus comprises two “seahorse looking structures” on the left and right sides of the brain. These structures help us regulate memory and when they are weakened, such as with Alzheimer’s disease, it becomes harder to remember certain details. The left hippocampus deals more with verbal cues, while the right is associated with spatial recall.
Researchers from the Center for Brain Health at the Cleveland Clinic examined 226 patients in a memory clinic to evaluate their risk for dementia. All patients had various types of neurodegenerative disorders, with 34 having Alzheimer’s and 82 diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Memory tests were given in which patients were asked to remember lists of words that were read to them, and also to remember shapes and patterns. Brain scans using an MRI were also made.
Compared to patients who were diagnosed with cognitive impairments, those who had normal memory function were found to have larger hippocampi.
Though this was the largest study of its kind, researchers say more tests are needed to determine a clear cause and effect relationship between hippocampus size and dementia. ,