Grey matter – neuron cell bodies that create and translate messages
White matter – myelin-covered axons that transmits the messages across the brain
Conditions that affect grey matter:
1. Dementia – memory starts to fail with age (due to the death of brain cells). Newest formed memories get lost first (Last In First Out), and it progresses until the vital functions are lost.
2. Alzheimer’s – similar results of dementia, different cause.
3. Bipolar – there is not a clear explanation, but the grey matter of someone who exhibits bipolar symptoms looks different on a brain scan from the grey matter of someone who doesn’t.
4. Amnesia – can be because the cells holding the information or memories have been injured or killed due to injury, or because the wires that would send the messages for recall have been damaged. This can be caused by head injuries. In traumatic experiences, amnesia is a self-preserving mechanism.
5. Lewy- body dementia – a type of dementia that manifests in Parkinson’s disease. As a neuron cell dies, it fills up with protein and blocks message transmission. These large clumps of protein-filled cells will show on a brain scan. These buildups can lead to hallucinations – visual or auditory. Also, affects memories, just like typical dementia does.
6. Schizophrenia – stereotypical symptoms can be caused by changes in grey matter, but not the same as protein build-up. And still a lot unknown about why.
Your brain cells do not reproduce and replenish the way other cells (like your skin) do. We do know that the brain can create new cells, but it is a very slow process that requires very specific conditions to be present. But the new growth of brain cells is not fast enough to slow or reverse a disease.