Common causes of cerebral atrophy and memory loss

There are quite a lot of common factors that lead to serious mental illnesses in the long term.

Insomnia

Experts from the National Sleep Foundation indicate that most adults need to spend 7-9 hours sleeping every night. This gives our brains enough time to undergo all the stages of sleep, especially the REM sleep (rapid eye movement sleep). 

REM sleep is proved to help strengthen the memory and recharge the energy. As a matter of fact, it is hard for people who are diagnosed with chronic insomnia to concentrate. 

Various other findings also imply that chronic insomnia can cause cerebral atrophy, especially when the patients are over 60. In other words, as we get older, the sleep becomes more and more vital. 

Smoking 

With each cigarette, a smoker inhales 7,000 toxic chemicals, including 69 carcinogens. Smoking also causes a wide range of other diseases such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, heart diseases and stroke. What is more, smoking negatively affects the brain, causing serious damages including memory loss. 

Dehydration

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The notion that alcohol can kill brain cells is rooted in the fact that this beverage leads to a series of abnormal processes in the body. When you drink too much beer or alcohol, it inhibits the vasopressin (so-called antidiuretic hormone) which functions to retain water in the body. Blocked vasopressin makes the body unable to keep urine in the body, resulting in dehydration. This is the reason why we often feel uncomfortable after any drunks. 

Dehydration also causes electrolyte imbalance, disrupting the communication among neurons, which easily causes seizures. All of these disorders put a huge stress on the brain, which is harmful to the mental health.

Stress 

Cortisol released from the adrenal glands is the cause of stress. Usually, this hormone is responsible for bringing energy to the most important places in the body such as the digestive system. 

However, in people who suffer from chronic stress, cortisol level rises to the point that the brain cannot produce enough myelin-producing cells, whereas the number of neurons falls. Myelin is a material that contributes to the white matter of the brain and transmits the information among the neurons. The lack of myelin and neurons increases the risk of dangerous mental illnesses. 

Cocaine and other drugs 

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In a study conducted in 2003, scientists analyzed brain samples collected from 35 dead cocaine users and compared them to those of 35 normal bodies. The team found that the dopamine levels were significantly low in cocaine users. 

Researchers believe that this abnormality in the brain leads to drug addiction, and the addicts will become increasingly dependent on drugs.

By: Chris Stewart

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