5 doctors weighed in:
Can brain atrophy be normal in a 42 year old?
5 doctors weighed in

Dr. Alan Jacobs
Neurology
3 doctors agree
In brief: No
Our brains shrink as we age from 30 to 90, but this is due cell size reducing.
The term "atrophy", if used correctly, means the degree of shrinkage is more than normal for age. This is generally an imaging term, like from MRI data. Atrophy can then be graded mild, moderate or severe and given regional specificity (e.g. Global v. Medial temporal). This then means a loss of brain cells.

In brief: No
Our brains shrink as we age from 30 to 90, but this is due cell size reducing.
The term "atrophy", if used correctly, means the degree of shrinkage is more than normal for age. This is generally an imaging term, like from MRI data. Atrophy can then be graded mild, moderate or severe and given regional specificity (e.g. Global v. Medial temporal). This then means a loss of brain cells.
Dr. Alan Jacobs
Dr. Alan Jacobs
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Dr. Mark Fisher
Neurology
2 doctors agree
In brief: Yes and no
Depends how you define "normal.
" Brains atrophy "normally" as we age. This doesn't necessarily correspond with how a brain is working. Elderly atrophied brains can work just fine. Some genetic & degenerative diseases cause atrophy as part of the disease. Occasionally, a younger neurologically normal person's MRI will be read as mildly atrophic by radiological criteria but the person is okay.

In brief: Yes and no
Depends how you define "normal.
" Brains atrophy "normally" as we age. This doesn't necessarily correspond with how a brain is working. Elderly atrophied brains can work just fine. Some genetic & degenerative diseases cause atrophy as part of the disease. Occasionally, a younger neurologically normal person's MRI will be read as mildly atrophic by radiological criteria but the person is okay.
Dr. Mark Fisher
Dr. Mark Fisher
Thank
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