Question: What is white matter?

What is the definition of white matter?

White matter: The part of the brain that contains myelinated nerve fibers. The white matter is white because it is the color of myelin, the insulation that covers nerve fibers.

What is gray matter and white matter?

Grey matter is distinguished from white matter in that it contains numerous cell bodies and relatively few myelinated axons, while white matter contains relatively few cell bodies and is composed chiefly of long-range myelinated axons. The colour difference arises mainly from the whiteness of myelin.

What does it mean when you have white matter on a brain MRI?

Small strokes—the most common cause of white spots on a brain MRIare often caused by blockages of small blood vessels due to high blood pressure and/or diabetes, while large strokes are usually caused by heart disease or carotid artery disease.

Is white matter bad?

More evidence has been accumulated that damage to cognitive areas is widespread from white matter disease. White matter disease is responsible for about a fifth of all strokes worldwide, more than doubles the future risk of stroke, and is a contributing factor in up to 45% of dementias.

What is the role of white matter?

Long thought to be passive tissue, white matter affects learning and brain functions, modulating the distribution of action potentials, acting as a relay and coordinating communication between different brain regions. White matter is named for its relatively light appearance resulting from the lipid content of myelin.

What is the life expectancy of someone with white matter disease?

It is not possible to stop disease progression, and it is typically fatal within 6 months to 4 years of symptom onset. People with the juvenile form of metachromatic leukodystrophy, which develops between the age of 4 and adolescence, may live for many years after diagnosis.

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Is gray matter good or bad?

While after death the brain does turn a grayish color, hence the name, while you’re alive your gray matter is a healthy pink due to all the blood that’s constantly flowing through.

What is the function of GREY matter?

The grey matter serves to process information in the brain. Structures within the grey matter process signals generated in the sensory organs or other areas of the grey matter. This tissue directs sensory (motor) stimuli to nerve cells in the central nervous system where synapses induce a response to the stimuli.

What does white matter of the brain mean?

White matter is found in the deeper tissues of the brain (subcortical). It contains nerve fibers (axons), which are extensions of nerve cells (neurons). Many of these nerve fibers are surrounded by a type of sheath or covering called myelin. Myelin gives the white matter its color.

Can white matter lesions in the brain be nothing?

White matter lesions observed on brain MRI are usually characteristic and occur in specific areas including the corpus callosum and pons. “However, in many cases, the white matter lesions as isolated observations are nonspecific” and could be due to MS or another cause, explained Drs Lange and Melisaratos.

Does everyone have white matter in the brain?

R. Douglas Fields. “Gray matter” is only one of two types of brain tissue; the other “white matter” is rarely mentioned. Yet white matter makes up half the human brain and has not been thought to be important in cognition or learning outside the context of pathology.

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At what age does white matter disease start?

Age-related changes in the brain — the appearance, starting around age 60, of “white-matter lesions” among the brain’s message-carrying axons — significantly affect cognitive function in old age. White-matter lesions are small bright patches that show up on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain.

How do you get rid of white matter disease?

There isn’t a specific treatment for white matter disease. The goal is to treat the cause of the damage and keep the disease from getting worse. Your doctor may prescribe medicines to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol.

Is white matter disease normal?

Originally, white matter disease was considered a normal, age-related change. But over the last decade, medical experts have come to understand that the presence of large areas of disease in the white matter of the brain are associated with cognitive decline and dementia in patients.

Can white matter in the brain be repaired?

White matter injuries are very serious, but, depending on the type and extent of the injury, extensive recovery may occur. As long as the neuron cell bodies remain healthy, axons can regrow and slowly repair themselves.

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