How much of your brain mass do you lose each year?

A chimpanzee brain at the Science Museum London
Image via Wikipedia

If you want optimum brain health you obviously want to preserve as much of your brain as possible as you age.

At birth your brain weighs in at about 400 grams (g) and grows to 1,200 g by the time you reach 6 years old. After that it grows more slowly until peaking at some time before you hit 25 years old at 1450 g. After the pivotal age of 25 your brain starts ‘shrinking’.

According to a 2009 paper researchers have found that the average brain loses about 2 grams per year from the age of 26 to 80.

So doing the math you would lose 108 g from your original 1450 g sized brain to settle down to 1,342 g. That is a loss of 7.5% of your total brain mass. After the age of 80 the rate of loss increases to 5 g per year.

Did you think you were really losing all that brain mass? Do you need it? We have all heard the story about us only using 10% of our brain so does it really matter if we loss 5 or 10% of our brain mass?

In general we hear about the mental decline that occurs with aging, but is this true, and if so how much do we lose and when? Is it related to the loss of brain mass?

Come back tomorrow and I will share some of the data.

Today’s lesson is that after the age of 25 we lose 2 g of our brain mass per year. Go out there today and do something to prevent this loss – exercise, stimulate your brain with novelty, and eat lightly.

1 comment for “How much of your brain mass do you lose each year?

  1. tyler
    February 24, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Yes it dose matter! that 5-10% was the percent I was using. D’: