I assume this was taken from an MRI or CT scan report.
"Diffuse cerebral atrophy changes" generally means that the brain has shrunk in size.
Cerebral atrophy is a common feature of many of the diseases that affect the brain. Atrophy of any tissue means loss of tissue mass. In brain tissue, atrophy describes a loss of neurons and the connections between them. Atrophy can be generalized, which means that all of the brain has shrunk; or it can be focal, affecting only a limited area of the brain and resulting in a decrease of the functions that area of the brain controls. If the cerebral hemispheres (the two main lobes of the brain that form the cerebrum) are affected, conscious thought and voluntary processes may be impaired.
There are many diseases and disorders that can have this as a condition. These can include such things as:
* stroke and traumatic brain injury
* Depression (mood)
* Alzheimer's disease, Pick’s disease, senile dementia, fronto-temporal dementia, and vascular dementia
* cerebral palsy, in which lesions (damaged areas) may impair motor coordination
* Huntington's disease, and other genetic disorders that cause build-up of toxic levels of proteins within the neurons
* leukodystrophies, such as Krabbe disease, which destroy the myelin sheath that protects axons
* mitochondrial encephalomyopathies, such as Kearns-Sayre syndrome, which interfere with the basic functions of neurons
* multiple sclerosis, which causes inflammation, myelin damage, and lesions in cerebral tissue
* infectious diseases, such as encephalitis, neurosyphilis, and AIDS, in which an infectious agent or the inflammatory reaction to it destroys neurons and their axons
* epilepsy, in which lesions cause abnormal electrochemical discharges that result in seizures
* Anorexia nervosa
This is not a complete list by any means. It just gives you an idea of the variety of disorders that can be associated with cerebral atrophy.
You should discuss the finding with your physician. Findings on any study need to be correlated with the patient’s history, symptoms, and physical exam.