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February 1960

Changes in the Brain Associated with Senility

Author Affiliations

From the Laboratory of Neuropathology, Philadelphia General Hospital.

AMA Arch Neurol. 1960;2(2):151-159. doi:10.1001/archneur.1960.03840080037007

Intellectual deterioration in the aged is a problem to both the physician and the community. In spite of its social and economic ramifications, relatively little is known about its causation. "Aging" of neural tissue has been postulated, and both arteriosclerosis of the cerebral vessels and infarction of the brain have been implicated in its etiology. Few factual studies, however, support these hypotheses.

The relation of degeneration of cerebral arteries to intellectual enfeeblement in the aged requires critical reevaluation. The process is so frequently a concomitant of aging, in the absence of psychic disorders, that direct correlation with mental status is difficult to establish. In view of the dependence of brain tissue upon its circulation and the effects of anoxia on psychic function, it is conceivable that intellectual impairment may result if atheromatous processes develop to the point of critical restriction of cerebral blood flow. Arterial disease of this magnitude is

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