Chapter

Structural Brain Imaging and Cognitive Aging

Joel Ramirez and Sandra E. Black

in Mind and the Frontal Lobes

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199791569
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919215 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199791569.003.0062
Structural Brain Imaging and Cognitive Aging

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MRI-derived neuroimaging measures from tissue volumetrics to microstructural integrity allow for the non-invasive examination of normal and pathological aging of the human brain. Generally, whole brain parenchymal volumes decrease with age, with gray matter declining linearly and white matter changes showing a quadratic function. Neuroimaging-based indices, such as cortical thickness and 3D shape analysis, measuring age-related atrophy in the hippocampus and medial temporal lobe can discriminate Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) from normal elderly. White matter hyperintensities (WMH) and lacunes indicate small vessel disease and correlate with executive functioning, balance and gait. Recent studies suggest periventricular-WMH may reflect venous occlusion due to aging and vascular risk factors resulting in venous leakage and edema. Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) show age-related microstructural degradation of white matter and correlate with WMH, cognition, memory and processing speed.

Keywords: structural-MRI; neuroimaging; white matter hyperintensities; aging; atrophy; Alzheimer’s Disease

Chapter.  10609 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuropsychology

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