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Paranoia relating to aging, and inevitably dying
Oct 30, 2004

Hello Dr. Horwath,

I'd like to thank you generously for answering my question, as you've been a testimony to the good will of people, especially in the medical community!

My question is relating to getting older, and thinking of myself in the context of tomorrow, or the day after. Everytime I picture myself in this way, I'm quickly submerged in brief panic attacks and feeling dizzy.

I'd also like to know one more thing, if possible, does aging adversely affect the brain, and if so at what age? I read somewhere that after the age of 20, your brain loses a small amount of mass every year after 20.

Thank you so very much for answering my question, I'm deeply pleased that you're willing to share your time with troubled people. You're among the finest doctors in the world!

Response from Dr. Horwath

There certainly are changes in the body and the brain with aging. However, the brain changes that result in significant cognitive impairment are related to various disease states. For example, the most common causes of dementia in people over 65 (in the U.S.) are Alzheimer's disease and cerebrovascular disease. These disease cause specific changes in the brain that lead to impaired ability to perform cognitive tasks and imapired ability to function normally. Older people who do not have these or other illnesses are likely to be able to function normally.



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