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Aging brain

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The human brain goes through several large-scale changes as the individual progresses from embryo through to old age.

Pre-natal development

Developmental neurobiology concerns itself with the development of the brain. The process of neurogenesis populates the brain, then programmed cell death cuts the growing brain down to size.


During adolescence the brain goes through a process of synaptic pruning.


Over the years, the human brain shows a decline in function and a change in gene expression. This modulation in gene expression may be due to oxidative DNA damage at promoter regions in the genome. Genes that are down-regulated over the age of 40 include:

Genes that are upregulated include:

Normal aging is distinct from Neurodegenerative disease. DNA damage due to oxidation increase as the brain ages, possibly due to impaired mitochondrial function.

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