This network is linked to a heightened vulnerability to unhealthy development and aging.
A new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found a brain network that is linked to development, aging, and vulnerability to disease. The researchers demonstrated that this network of regions of the brain develops relatively late during adolescence and shows accelerated degeneration during old age.
The degeneration in the network is greater than in other parts of the brain. This network is linked to a heightened vulnerability to unhealthy development and aging. Unhealthy development correlates with schizophrenia. Unhealthy aging correlates with Alzheimer’s and dementia. These brain regions are less developed in chimpanzees and other primates, but schizophrenia and dementia are not seen in these animals.
Medical News Today reports that schizophrenia is a mental health condition that affects approximately 24 million people worldwide. Although symptoms of the condition can vary, the most common are delusions, hallucinations, abnormal thoughts and agitated body movements.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss is an example. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia. Dementia is not a specific disease. Rather, it is an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities.
Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases. In a study published in the journal Nature Medicine, the research team notes that Alzheimer’s disease causes a progressive dementia that currently affects over 35 million individuals worldwide and is expected to affect 115 million by 2050. As of yet, there are no cures or disease-modifying therapies.