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Psychiatry Res. 2007 Dec 15;156(3):185-97. Epub 2007 Nov 7.

Hippocampus and amygdala volumes in a random community-based sample of 60-64 year olds and their relationship to cognition.

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  • 1Centre for Mental Health Research, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.


Reduced volumes of the hippocampus (HC) and amygdala (AG) are potential biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other neuropsychiatric disorders. Published studies on HC and AG volumes suffer from methodological limitations, and a valid and reliable normative database does not exist. This study aimed to establish a database of HC and AG volumes from a large community sample of participants 60-64 years old and relate them to cognition. A total of 452 randomly selected participants (from 622 approached) were retained in the study (238 males, 214 females), and all received brain MRI scans, as well as cognitive and physical assessments. HC and AG volumes were estimated from manual tracings on T1-weighted images, and intracranial volume (ICV) was obtained from an automated program. In both sexes, right hippocampi were larger than left, while left amygdala were larger than right. The only correlation to remain significant after normalization was left HC volume and percent retention of a word list in females. This study provides a HC and AG volumetrics database and describes its relationship with cognitive performance in a representative sample using a standard methodology that will be a reference for future studies. It will therefore have clinical applicability in early AD and other disorders.

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