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AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2000 Jan;21(1):112-8.

Gender effects on age-related changes in brain structure.

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Department of Internal Medicine III, Shimane Medical University, Izumo, Japan.



Previous reports have suggested that brain atrophy is associated with aging and that there are gender differences in brain atrophy with aging. These reports, however, neither exclude silent brain lesions in "healthy subjects" nor divide the brain into subregions. The aim of this study is to clarify the effect of gender on age-related changes in brain subregions by MR imaging.


A computer-assisted system was used to calculate the brain matter area index (BMAI) of various regions of the brain from MR imaging of 331 subjects without brain lesions.


There was significantly more brain atrophy with aging in the posterior parts of the right frontal lobe in male subjects than there was in female subjects. Age-related atrophy in the middle part of the right temporal lobe, the left basal ganglia, the parietal lobe, and the cerebellum also was found in male subjects, but not in female subjects. In the temporal lobe, thalamus, parieto-occipital lobe, and cerebellum, brain volume in the left hemisphere is significantly smaller than in the right hemisphere; sex and age did not affect the hemisphere differences of brain volume in these regions.


The effect of gender on brain atrophy with aging varied in different subregions of the brain. There was more brain atrophy with aging in male subjects than in female subjects.

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