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37 years old. Found shrinkage of brain. Prognosis?

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I was just informed a few days ago by my neurologist that my brain is shrinking. I am a 37 year old female and the doctor said I had the brain of a 60-70 year old. I have many tests scheduled this week but am very concerned. What is the prognosis for me if my brain has basically "lost" 30 years?
Posted Sun, 24 Mar 2013 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Gopal Krishna Dash 1 hour later

Thanks for the query,

First of all let me assure you that you do not have to worry if MRI shows brain atrophy. Before I do respond to your query, I would like to inform you that the presence of atrophy of brain in MRI (done for some other reasons and without clinical symptoms) does not imply anything serious. Further, if the atrophy is noted in MRI or CT scan of the brain, it should be correlated with the clinical findings of the patient. Simply atrophy does not mean anything. Brain may look atrophied than the age of a patient in conditions like dementia, chronic alcoholism, hand, if you have symptoms like memory loss, behavioural problem, problems in planning and execution, seizures etc, then you can XXXXXXX a cognitive neurologist and get evaluated.

Hope this clarifies.
Best wishes,

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: 37 years old. Found shrinkage of brain. Prognosis? 4 hours later
I had a brain injury resulting in a concussion and then a diagnosis of post concussive syndrome approximately 2 1/2 years ago. Since the concussion I have had migraine headaches, spell/episodes of not being able to speak properly and not thinking clearly, emotional episodes of both anger and crying, and most recently I lost my ability to speak, was unable to walk without falling, and had large periods of memory loss which led to being taken to the hospital. I do not consume alcohol very regularly and all of my blood work has been fine. I have not been able to do my job very effectively due to these episodes as I am an administrative law judge. I have met with a neurologist and have a series of tests scheduled including a neuropsychological test, an EEG, and a MRI. My neurologist wants to rule out seizures and other possible issues before proceeding. When my neurologist mentioned the "shrinking of my brain" he seemed to be holding back a little and that concerned me. I understand that I need to wait on the test results to fully understand everything but I would like to know your thoughts given this information. Also, it may be important to mention that my mother is an alcoholic and drank excessively during her pregnancy with me (I have not had the opportunity to tell my neurologist this information yet though.) Thank you.
Answered by Dr. Gopal Krishna Dash 6 hours later

Thanks for the feedback.

Your symptoms could be related to 1. Post traumatic dementia 2. Anxiety related

Co-existent seizures need exclusion.

Despite these possibilities (I am sorry that I do not have the advantage of examining you), I still think that if seizures and stress in you are taken care of, you will do very well. A detailed neuropsychological assessment will help us classify the type of cognitive deficits that you have. One must understand that people who are stressed out, anxious can have false positive test (I mean false results in Neuropsychology).
Children of mother exposed to heavy alcohol can have poor cognition. But in your case, I suppose that you were okay before the trauma. This link may not be valid for you.

Best wishes
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