Degenerative brain disease

  1. Is fatal degenerative brain disease inevitable? If we could transplant ourselves into clones every 20 years or something like that, how long would we be able to live before degenerative brain disease, or something like that, killed us?
  2. jcsd
  3. DocToxyn

    DocToxyn 424
    Science Advisor

    There is a progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons of the brain as we age, somewhere close to 13% per decade after age 45 (some loss occurs before this time as well, it's just not as rapid). This is the type of neuron which is lost in Parkinson's disease (PD). In order to develop symptoms of PD a certain threshold limit of damage must be attained, believed to be about 70% neuron loss, once this happens clinical symptoms of PD can occur. Certain people in a population may be more prone to developing this, others not, its not a completely understood disease and is generally termed idiopathic PD, because the cause is unknown. There is also an early-onset PD which strikes rather young people, Michael J. Fox for example, and some forms of heritable familial PD. This is the brain region/disease I am most familiar with, so there may be other examples, Alzheimer's and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis come to mind.

    Most people will not live long enough to encounter the above mentioned threshold, but it is always there and if we were somehow able to extend our lives, more and more degenerative processes would be be un-masked and we would eventually die, or suffer, from those.
  4. So we would eventually suffer, (If we lived a really long time) but not necessarily die, from degenerative processes?
  5. DocToxyn

    DocToxyn 424
    Science Advisor

    PD is not fatal, Alzheimer's is.
  6. The degenerative brain disease is so severe one which affects the whole nervous system.
    Degenerative nerve diseases cause worsening of many of your body's activities, including balance, movement, talking, breathing and heart function. Many of these diseases are genetic, which means they run in families or you have a genetic mutation.

    Brainhealthandpuzzles - brain disease
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