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Brain Cogn. 2011 Mar;75(2):170-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2010.11.008. Epub 2010 Dec 4.

Correlation between gray/white matter volume and cognition in healthy elderly people.

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  • 1Division of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan.


This study applied volumetric analysis and voxel-based morphometry (VBM) of brain magnetic resonance (MR) images to assess whether correlations exist between global and regional gray/white matter volume and the cognitive functions of semantic memory and short-term memory, which are relatively well preserved with aging, using MR image data from 109 community-dwelling healthy elderly individuals. We used the Information and Digit Span subtests of the Wechsler Adult Intelligent Scale-Revised as measures of semantic memory and short-term memory, respectively. We found significant positive correlations between the gray matter ratio, the percentage of gray matter volume in the intracranial volume, and performance on the Digit Span subtest, and between the regional gray matter volumes of the bilateral anterior temporal lobes and performance on the Information subtest. No significant correlations between performance on the cognitive tests and white matter volume were found. Our results suggest that individual variability in specific cognitive functions that are relatively well preserved with aging is accounted for by the variability of gray matter volume in healthy elderly subjects.

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