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Br J Radiol. 1981 May;54(641):384-90.

Age-related brain atrophy and mental deterioration--a study with computed tomography.


The relation of brain atrophy measured with computed tomography (CT) to mental deterioration on living people was studied. A newly improved technique for quantitative measurement of brain atrophy was developed. The pixels inside the head slices were divided into three parts; brain skull, and cerebrospinal fluid according to their CT number. The volume of brain, CSF, and cranial cavity were calculated by counting the number of pixels of each tissue. Results from 130 normal brains showed that the CSF volume was constant at about 16 ml through 20--39 years old. After 40 years the mean CSF volume increased drastically and reached 71 ml in the seventies. The volume of the brain was standardized for comparison between different-sized heads (brain volume index: BVI). The mean BVI decreased with statistical significance after 40 years of age. Mental function of these persons were evaluated using Hasegawa's dementia rating scale for the elderly. Progression of brain atrophy accompanied loss of mental activities (p less than 0.01).

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