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What is Cerebral Atrophy? – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju
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Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

The human brain is a marvel of evolution. It’s a complex organ that allows us to perceive the world around us. It is a truly unique structure, containing over 100 billion neurons. This vast network of neurons allows us to perform incredible feats of cognition.

But, despite its remarkable abilities, the human brain is not invincible. One of the most common causes of brain dysfunction is cerebral atrophy. According to definition, cerebral atrophy is a condition in which the brain shrinks and loses its functionality over time. Cerebral atrophy can occur due to a variety of factors. They include aging, genetic factors, and certain neurological disorders. The symptoms of cerebral atrophy can vary depending on the affected regions of the brain. But they may include memory loss, difficulty with language, and impaired judgment.

It is vital for individuals who are experiencing symptoms of cerebral atrophy to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Early intervention can help slow down the progression of the disease. And this can improve quality of life.

What Is Cerebral Atrophy?

It is a condition that refers to the progressive loss of brain cells and tissue. This condition can affect people of all ages, but it is most commonly seen in older adults. Cerebral atrophy can lead to a range of symptoms. It includes memory loss and difficulty speaking or understanding language. Also, problems with movement and coordination can occur due to the condition.

This condition greatly affects the mental abilities of a person. As a result, this condition can aggravate the patient’s life. And it leads to irreversible negative consequences. But the disease can develop over many years. When the first symptoms are detected, the patient has time for therapy. This can slow down the irreversible changes and improve the patient’s condition.

That is why it is crucial to know what cerebral atrophy is. We will tell you about the condition’s symptoms in the next block.

symptoms of cerebral atrophy

Symptoms of Cerebral Atrophy

The symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the condition and affected areas of the brain. Some of the most common symptoms of cerebral atrophy include:

  1. Memory loss. One of the most common symptoms of cerebral atrophy is memory loss. This may manifest as difficulty recalling recent events or forgetting important dates or appointments. Also, having trouble remembering new information can occur.
  2. Difficulty speaking or understanding language. It can also affect the areas of the brain responsible for language processing. This can lead to difficulty speaking or understanding language. And problems with reading and writing can occur.
  3. Problems with movement and coordination. The condition affects the parts of the brain responsible for movement and coordination. This can lead to problems with balance, difficulty walking, and tremors or shaking.
  4. Mood changes. Cerebral atrophy can also cause changes in mood and behavior. This may manifest as depression, anxiety, irritability, or apathy.
  5. Cognitive decline. As cerebral atrophy progresses, it can lead to a decline in cognitive function. This may include difficulty with problem-solving, reduced attention span, and problems with decision-making.

Causes of Cerebral Atrophy

Cerebral atrophy can be caused by some different factors, including:

  • Age. As we age, our brain cells naturally begin to die off. This can lead to cerebral atrophy over time.
  • Neurodegenerative diseases. Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease cause cerebral atrophy.
  • Traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury causes cerebral atrophy, particularly if the injury is severe.
  • Chronic alcohol abuse. Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to a condition known as alcoholic dementia. It can cause cerebral atrophy.
  • Genetics. Some types of cerebral atrophy are inherited. For example, Huntington’s disease can be the cause of cerebral atrophy.

Who Is at Risk for Cerebral Atrophy?

Cerebral volume loss can affect people of all ages. But certain factors are increasing your risk of developing this condition. Some of the most common risk factors for cerebral atrophy include:

  • Age. As mentioned earlier, cerebral atrophy is more common in older adults.
  • Family history. If you have a family history of this condition, you may be at risk of the condition.
  • Traumatic brain injury. If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury, you may be at an increased risk of developing cerebral atrophy.
  • Chronic alcohol abuse. Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to cerebral atrophy. So you may be at an increased risk if you drink heavily regularly.

When You Should Visit a Doctor

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of cerebral volume loss, visit a doctor as soon as possible. A doctor will be able to perform a thorough examination. And they will diagnose the underlying cause of your symptoms.

In some cases, cerebral atrophy may be treatable. For example, if a vitamin deficiency causes the condition. Its addressing may help to slow or reverse the progression of the condition. Similarly, if a neurodegenerative disease causes cerebral atrophy. There may be medications or other treatments that slow the progression.

If you have experienced a traumatic brain injury, seek medical attention immediately. Prompt treatment can help to prevent further damage to the brain. And it reduces the risk of developing cerebral atrophy.

In general, if you are experiencing any symptoms that you believe may be related to cerebral atrophy, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a significant difference in the outcome.

Cerebral Atrophy treatment

Treatment for Cerebral Atrophy

Unfortunately, there is no cure for cerebral volume loss. But, some treatments may help to slow the progression of the condition. The specific treatment plan will depend on the underlying cause of the condition:

  1. Medications. Certain medications can be used to manage the symptoms associated with cerebral atrophy. For instance, cholinesterase inhibitors can help improve memory and cognitive function. In contrast, antipsychotics and antidepressants can manage mood and behavioral changes.
  2. Physical therapy. Physical therapy can help manage movement problems associated with cerebral atrophy. Exercises aimed at improving balance, coordination, and mobility can be helpful.
  3. Cognitive therapy. It can help improve memory and cognitive function in people with cerebral atrophy. This therapy focuses on improving attention, memory, and executive function.
  4. Speech therapy. This can be helpful for people with cerebral atrophy who experience speech difficulties. The therapy aims to improve communication skills and address language deficits.
  5. Nutritional supplements. Vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, and folate may be beneficial. They have neuroprotective properties and may help slow the progression of the condition.
  6. Lifestyle modifications. Certain lifestyle modifications can also help manage cerebral atrophy. Regular physical exercise, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, and maintaining a healthy diet can help improve brain health and slow the condition’s progression.
  7. Surgery. It may relieve pressure on the brain or remove a tumor or other abnormal growth. But surgery is only recommended in cases with a specific underlying cause.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, now you know cerebral atrophy definition. This condition can cause a range of negative symptoms. Many factors can cause cerebral atrophy. They’re age, neurodegenerative diseases, traumatic brain injury, chronic alcohol abuse, and genetics. And age and family history may also increase your risk of developing this condition.

You should see a doctor if you have cerebral atrophy signs. Early detection and therapy can make the situation easier. For cerebral atrophy, there are no known treatments. But there are some methods to stop the condition from getting worse.


  • What does cerebral mean?

Cerebral refers to the brain, specifically the cerebrum. It is the largest part of the brain responsible for functions such as:

  • Movement.
  • Sensation.
  • Perception.
  • Thought.
  • What happens if you have atrophy in your brain?

This can lead to a range of symptoms depending on the location and extent of the atrophy. They’re:

  • Memory loss.
  • Difficulty speaking.
  • Understanding language.
  • Problems with movement and coordination.
  • How do I know if I have brain atrophy?

A diagnosis of brain atrophy typically requires medical evaluation and imaging tests. The most common tests are CT scans and X-rays.

  • How long can you live with cerebral atrophy?

The prognosis and life expectancy for someone with cerebral atrophy vary. It depends on the underlying cause and extent of the atrophy.

  • How many years can a person with cerebral atrophy live?

If it occurred due to a degenerative disease, the life expectancy could range from several years to a decade. But, if it occurred due to a traumatic brain injury or stroke, the life expectancy may be shorter depending on the extent of brain damage and other medical factors.

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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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