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The Aging Brain

This illustration depicts how massive cell loss changes the whole brain in advanced Alzheimer's disease. This slide shows a crosswise "slice" through the middle of the brain between the ears.

In the Alzheimer's brain:

  • The cortex shrivels up, damaging areas involved in thinking, planning and remembering.
  • Shrinkage is especially severe in the hippocampus, an area of the cortex that plays a key role in formation of new memories.
  • Ventricles (fluid-filled spaces within the brain) grow larger.