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Neurology. 1992 Mar;42(3 Pt 1):527-36.

Quantitative cerebral anatomy of the aging human brain: a cross-sectional study using magnetic resonance imaging.

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Department of Psychiatry (Neuropsychiatry), Medical College of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh.


Seventy-six healthy adults underwent magnetic resonance imaging (1.5 T) to investigate the effects of age on regional cerebral volumes and on the frequency and severity of cortical atrophy, lateral ventricular enlargement, and subcortical hyperintensity. Increasing age was associated with (1) decreasing volumes of the cerebral hemispheres (0.23% per year), the frontal lobes (0.55% per year), the temporal lobes (0.28% per year), and the amygdala-hippocampal complex (0.30% per year); (2) increasing volumes of the third ventricle (2.8% per year) and the lateral ventricles (3.2% per year); and (3) increasing odds of cortical atrophy (8.9% per year), lateral ventricular enlargement (7.7% per year), and subcortical hyperintensity in the deep white matter (6.3% per year) and the pons (8.1% per year). Many elderly subjects did not exhibit cortical atrophy or lateral ventricular enlargement, however, indicating that such changes are not inevitable consequences of advancing age. These data should provide a useful clinical context within which to interpret changes in regional brain size associated with "abnormal" aging.

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