How is cerebral atrophy treated?

There is no cure for cerebral atrophy. Once brain cells have been lost, the damage is permanent. Treatment for cerebral atrophy focuses on treating the symptoms and complications of cerebral atrophy.

Treatment for dementia and loss-of-function symptoms of cerebral atrophy

Treatments for dementia symptoms of cerebral atrophy include medications and nonmedication therapies including:

  • Medications that change the amount of chemicals that control brain signaling or treat symptoms of cognitive impairment, sometimes used in Alzheimer’s disease
  • Physical therapy to improve function and ability to perform daily activities
  • Psychological counseling and support

Treatment for other symptoms of cerebral atrophy

Other symptoms of cerebral atrophy may be treated medicinally or with therapy as well including:

  • Anticonvulsive medication to stop seizures
  • Cognitive or behavioral therapy to improve quality of life
  • Physical therapy to slow loss of muscle control
  • Speech therapy to decrease the impact of aphasia (impaired speech and comprehension)
  • Treatment for the underlying infection or injury leading to cerebral atrophy

What you can do to improve your cerebral atrophy

The best way to improve symptoms of cerebral atrophy or slow the progression of cerebral atrophy is to lead an active, healthy lifestyle including:

  • Eating a balanced diet rich in antioxidant fruits and vegetables
  • Engaging in regular exercise
  • Increasing mental activity

Complementary treatments

Some complementary treatments may help some people in their efforts to deal with cerebral atrophy. These treatments, sometimes referred to as alternative therapies, are used in conjunction with traditional medical treatments. Complementary treatments are not meant to substitute for full medical care.

Complementary treatments may include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Massage therapy
  • Nutritional dietary supplements, herbal remedies, tea beverages, and similar products
  • Yoga

What are the potential complications of cerebral atrophy?

Complications of untreated or poorly controlled cerebral atrophy can be serious, even life threatening in some cases. You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications of cerebral atrophy include:

  • Inability to participate normally in activities
  • Loss of independence
  • Withdrawal or depression


  1. NINDS cerebral atrophy information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
  2. Alzheimer's disease. PubMed Health, a service of the NLM from the NIH.
  3. Buchman AS, Boyle PA, Yu L, et al. Total daily physical activity and the risk of AD and cognitive decline in older adults. Neurology 2012; 78:1323.

What is cerebral atrophy?

Cerebral atrophy refers to the progressive loss of brain cells over time. Atrophy refers to a decreased size or wasting away of any part of the body. Cerebral atrophy can happen in either the entire brain or in just one part of the brain and can lead to decreased brain mass and loss of neurological function. The symptoms of cerebral atrophy depend on the cause and location of cell death. Read more about cerebral atrophyintroduction


What are the symptoms of cerebral atrophy?

Symptoms of cerebral atrophy can be generalized (affecting the whole brain) or localized (affecting only one part of the brain or one function). Generalized symptoms include symptoms of dementia, such as problems with memory or changes in personality. Localized symptoms include seizures and problems with speech, vision or movement.

Generalized symptoms of cerebral atrophy

... Read more about cerebral atrophysymptoms


What causes cerebral atrophy?

Cerebral atrophy can arise from many diseases of the brain, injury to the brain, or infection of the brain.

Injury causes of cerebral atrophy

Death of brain cells may occur as a result of injury to the brain including:

  • Stroke
  • Traumatic brain injury

Diseases that may cause cerebral atrophy

Cerebral atrophy may... Read more about cerebral atrophycauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Brain and Nerves