Cerebral Atrophy

Understanding nervous system related symptoms and features.

Symptoms may affect multiple parts of the body. Understanding which part of the body a symptom affects, can help us to better understand the potential underlying causes of a symptom, including a rare disease or genetic syndrome.

The nervous system is made up of a network of nerves and cells that carry messages to and from both the brain and the spinal cord. Within the nervous system are the Central nervous system and the Peripheral nervous system.

The brain and spinal cord make up the central nervous system.

Within the peripheral nervous system are the somatic and autonomic nervous systems. The somatic system controls responses to sensory stimuli, while the autonomic nervous system controls the inner workings of organs, including digestion, breathing and the heartbeat.

Sleep is one body function, controlled by the autonomic nervous system, specifically the sympathetic nervous system.

What is Cerebral atrophy?

Cerebral atrophy refers to a wasting away or loss of brain cells over time. This wasting away over the brain cells may occur in just one part of the brain, or the entire brain as a whole.

It leads to reduced brain mass and size, and also a loss of neurological function. This means a loss of brain function which may affect the life of an affected individual, according to the part of the brain that has atrophied.

With old age, some cerebral atrophy or brain wasting is expected. Cerebral atrophy is one of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. However in younger individuals it may be the result of a rare disease, or inherited disorder.

What should I do next?

In some instances, cerebral atrophy may be one of the features of a rare disease or genetic syndrome. In this case fast, targeted genetic analysis can give you a more accurate diagnosis.

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