Brain shrinkage exists and, yes, it is real. Even though it is a natural part of aging, knowing the different factors that hasten the “melting” of our brains are essential in slowing down the process, somehow.
A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that human brain shrinks up to 15 percent as we age. Aside from stress, depression, and anxiety, here are 5 additional factors that accelerate the countdown of our brainpower.
1. Internet Addiction
People who use social media a lot are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts. That is why their brains are, at the same time, more likely to shrink too.
Moreover, a Chinese study revealed the brain scan of 18 college-aged internet users which showed their brains shrunk from up to 10-20 percent.
2. Chugging Down Alcohol
Alcohol, as a vice and when not taken moderately, really does not bear any good especially to our brains. A finding from a 2008 study in the UK Independent also showed the hippocampus, the part of the brain tasked for memory storage, was found to be smaller in the brains of people who drink wine as compared to those who opt for beer.
3. Watching Porn
German researchers were able to find those men who always watch porn have key areas in their brain that are smaller than others who do not watch porn as much. Notably, the striatum, which is linked to our brain’s motivation-and-reward response, shrinks for people who watch too much porn.
4. Using Vape
While some people think vaping is safer than smoking, Dr. Jonathan Winickoff of Massachusetts General Hospital for Children and Harvard Medical School compares smoking the electronic cigarette as “playing Russian roulette with the brain.”
Moreover, the effects of vape actually decrease the working memory of its users’ brain. Risks for depression and anxiety is higher too.
5. Smoking Weed
Marijuana continues to be a controversial topic, especially when its medical purposes are brought up. But still, smoking too much weed can reduce the gray matter in our brain.
This will affect a person’s decision-making skills and emotional control. The hippocampus and amygdala of those who smoke marijuana five times daily for 20 years are significantly smaller too.
Other factors that increase the risk of anxiety, depression, and stress, like lack of sleep and loneliness, can also rush brain shrinkage. But again, it is a normal part of aging for us humans. Yet being aware of these factors, for those who want to improve their lifestyle, will not hurt.