Brain structural differences between 73- and 92-year olds matched for childhood intelligence, social background, and intracranial volume.
ABSTRACT: Fully characterizing age differences in the brain is a key task for combating aging-related cognitive decline. Using propensity score matching on 2 independent, narrow-age cohorts, we used data on childhood cognitive ability, socioeconomic background, and intracranial volume to match participants at mean age of 92 years (n = 42) to very similar participants at mean age of 73 years (n = 126). Examining a variety of global and regional structural neuroimaging variables, there were large differences in gray and white matter volumes, cortical surface area, cortical thickness, and white matter hyperintensity volume and spatial extent. In a mediation analysis, the total volume of white matter hyperintensities and total cortical surface area jointly mediated 24.9% of the relation between age and general cognitive ability (tissue volumes and cortical thickness were not significant mediators in this analysis). These findings provide an unusual and valuable perspective on neurostructural aging, in which brains from the 8th and 10th decades of life differ widely despite the same cognitive, socioeconomic, and brain-volumetric starting points.
Project description:Children born very preterm (VPT) are at high-risk for altered brain development and impaired neurodevelopmental outcomes but are not well-studied before school-age. We investigated 64 four-year-olds: 37 VPT children [<32 weeks gestational age [GA]; 22 males; mean GA: 28.8 weeks ± 1.6], 25 full-term (FT) children (12 males), plus two VPT cases with ventriculomegaly and exceptionally resilient outcomes. All children underwent high-resolution structural magnetic resonance imaging and developmental assessments. Measures of brain volume, cortical thickness, and surface area were obtained. Children born VPT demonstrated reduced cerebral and cerebellar white matter volumes yet increased cerebral gray matter, temporal lobe, occipital lobe and ventricle volumes after adjusting for total brain volume. Cortical thickness was greater in the VPT children compared to FT children across all lobes. On developmental assessments, the VPT children scored lower on average than FT children while the two cases had intact cognitive abilities. In addition to larger ventricle volumes, the two cases had white matter and gray matter volumes within the ranges of the FT children. The VPT children displayed distinct differences in structural brain volumes at 4 years of age, consistent with delayed maturation. The cases with persistent ventriculomegaly and good cognitive outcomes displayed typical gray matter and increased white matter volumes, indicating a potential protective developmental phenomenon contributing to their intact cognitive abilities.
Project description:The age at which a parent has a child impacts the child's cognition and risk for mental illness. It appears that this risk is curvilinear, with both age extremes associated with lower intelligence and increased prevalence of some neuropsychiatric disorders. Little is known of the neural mechanisms underpinning this phenomenon. We extracted lobar volumes, surface areas, and cortical thickness from 489 neuroanatomic magnetic resonance images acquired on 171 youth. Using linear mixed model regression, we determined the association between parental age and offspring's neuroanatomy, adjusting for offspring's age, sex, intelligence, and parental socioeconomic class. For gray matter volumes, quadratic paternal and maternal age terms contributed significantly (maternal quadratic age effect: t = -2.2, P = 0.03; paternal quadratic age effect: t = -2.4, P = 0.02) delineating an inverted "U" relationship between parental age and gray matter volume. Cortical volume increased with both advancing paternal and maternal age until around the early 30s after which it fell. Paternal age effects were more pronounced on cortical surface area, whereas maternal age impacted more on cortical thickness. There were no significant effects of parental age on white matter volumes. These parental age effects on cerebral morphology may form part of the link between parental age extremes and suboptimal neurocognitive outcomes.
Project description:To determine the cortical mechanism that underlies the cognitive impairment and motor disability in hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP), nine HSP patients from a Chinese family were examined using clinical evaluation, cognitive screening, and genetic testing. Controls were matched healthy subjects. White-matter fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD), and radial diffusivity (RD; tract-based spatial statistics), cortical thickness (FreeSurfer), and subcortical gray matter (FIRST) based on T1-weighted MRI and diffusion tensor imaging were analyzed. A novel mutation in the SPAST gene (NM_014946.3, c.1321+2T>C) was detected. Patients had motor disability and low Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) scores. Patients showed significantly decreased total gray- and white-matter volumes, corpus callosum volume, cortical thickness, and subcortical gray-matter volume as well as significantly lower FA and AD values and significantly higher MD and RD values in the corpus callosum and corticospinal tract. Cortical thickness, subcortical gray-matter volume, and MoCA score were negatively correlated with disease duration. Cortical thickness in the right inferior frontal cortex was negatively correlated with Spastic Paraplegia Rating Scale score. Cortical thickness and right hippocampus volume were positively correlated with the MoCA score and subscores. In conclusion, brain damage is not restricted to the white matter in SPG4-HSP patients, and widespread gray-matter damage may account for the disease progression, cognitive impairment, and disease severity in SPG4-HSP.
Project description:White matter hyperintensities of presumed vascular origin (WMH) are a prevalent form of cerebral small-vessel disease and an important risk factor for post-stroke cognitive dysfunction. Despite this prevalence, it is not well understood how WMH contributes to post-stroke cognitive dysfunction. Preliminary findings suggest that increasing WMH volume is associated with total hippocampal volume in chronic stroke patients. The hippocampus, however, is a complex structure with distinct subfields that have varying roles in the function of the hippocampal circuitry and unique anatomical projections to different brain regions. For these reasons, an investigation into the relationship between WMH and hippocampal subfield volume may further delineate how WMH predispose to post-stroke cognitive dysfunction. In a prospective study of acute ischemic stroke patients with moderate/severe WMH burden, we assessed the relationship between quantitative WMH burden and hippocampal subfield volumes. Patients underwent a 3T MRI brain within 2-5 days of stroke onset. Total WMH volume was calculated in a semi-automated manner. Mean cortical thickness and hippocampal volumes were measured in the contralesional hemisphere. Total and subfield hippocampal volumes were measured using an automated, high-resolution, ex vivo computational atlas. Linear regression analyses were performed for predictors of total and subfield hippocampal volumes. Forty patients with acute ischemic stroke and moderate/severe white matter hyperintensity burden were included in this analysis. Median WMH volume was 9.0 cm3. Adjusting for intracranial volume and stroke laterality, age (? = -3.7, P < 0.001), hypertension (? = -44.7, P = 0.04), WMH volume (? = -0.89, P = 0.049), and mean cortical thickness (? = 286.2, P = 0.006) were associated with total hippocampal volume. In multivariable analysis, age (? = -3.3, P < 0.001) and cortical thickness (? = 205.2, P = 0.028) remained independently associated with total hippocampal volume. In linear regression for predictors of hippocampal subfield volume, increasing WMH volume was associated with decreased hippocampal-amygdala transition area volume (? = -0.04, P = 0.001). These finding suggest that in ischemic stroke patients, increased WMH burden is associated with selective hippocampal subfield degeneration in the hippocampal-amygdala transition area.
Project description:The aim of this investigation was to determine whether circulating inflammatory biomarkers c-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL6), and alpha 1-antichymotrypsin (ACT) were related to structural brain measures assessed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). High-resolution structural MRI was collected on 680 non-demented elderly (mean age 80.1years) participants of a community-based, multiethnic cohort. Approximately three quarters of these participants also had peripheral inflammatory biomarkers (CRP, IL6, and ACT) measured using ELISA. Structural measures including brain volumes and cortical thickness (with both global and regional measures) were derived from MRI scans, and repeated MRI measures were obtained after 4.5years. Mean fractional anisotropy was used as the indicator of white matter integrity assessed with diffusion tensor imaging. We examined the association of inflammatory biomarkers with brain volume, cortical thickness, and white matter integrity using regression models adjusted for age, gender, ethnicity, education, APOE genotype, and intracranial volume. A doubling in CRP (b=-2.48, p=0.002) was associated with a smaller total gray matter volume, equivalent to approximately 1.5years of aging. A doubling in IL6 was associated with smaller total brain volume (b=-14.96, p<0.0001), equivalent to approximately 9years of aging. Higher IL6 was also associated with smaller gray matter (b=-6.52, p=0.002) and white matter volumes (b=-7.47, p=0.004). The volumes of most cortical regions including frontal, occipital, parietal, temporal, as well as subcortical regions including pallidum and thalamus were associated with IL6. In a model additionally adjusted for depression, vascular factors, BMI, and smoking status, the association between IL6 and brain volumes remained, and a doubling in ACT was marginally associated with 0.054 (p=0.001) millimeter thinner mean cortical thickness, equivalent to that of approximately 2.7years of aging. None of the biomarkers was associated with mean fractional anisotropy or longitudinal change of brain volumes and thickness. Among older adults, increased circulating inflammatory biomarkers were associated with smaller brain volume and cortical thickness but not the white matter tract integrity. Our preliminary findings suggest that peripheral inflammatory processes may be involved in the brain atrophy in the elderly.
Project description:Various cognitive differences have been reported between consistent and weak handers, but little is known about the neurobiological factors that may be associated with this distinction. The current study examined cortical structural lateralization and corpus callosum volume in a large, well-matched sample of young adults (N?=?164) to explore potential neurostructural bases for this hand group difference. The groups did not differ in corpus callosum volume. However, at the global hemispheric level, weak handers had reduced or absent asymmetries for grey and white matter volume, cortical surface area, thickness, and local gyrification, relative to consistent handers. Group differences were also observed for some regional hemispheric asymmetries, the most prominent of which was reduced or absent gyrification asymmetry for weak handers in a large region surrounding the central sulcus and extending into parietal association cortex. The findings imply that variations in handedness strength are associated with differences in structural lateralization, not only in somatomotor regions, but also in areas associated with high level cognitive control of action.
Project description:Because the white matter of the cerebral cortex contains axons that connect distant neurons in the cortical gray matter, the relationship between the volumes of the 2 cortical compartments is key for information transmission in the brain. It has been suggested that the volume of the white matter scales universally as a function of the volume of the gray matter across mammalian species, as would be expected if a global principle of wiring minimization applied. Using a systematic analysis across several mammalian clades, here we show that the volume of the white matter does not scale universally with the volume of the gray matter across mammals and is not optimized for wiring minimization. Instead, the ratio between volumes of gray and white matter is universally predicted by the same equation that predicts the degree of folding of the cerebral cortex, given the clade-specific scaling of cortical thickness, such that the volume of the gray matter (or the ratio of gray to total cortical volumes) divided by the square root of cortical thickness is a universal function of total cortical volume, regardless of the number of cortical neurons. Thus, the very mechanism that we propose to generate cortical folding also results in compactness of the white matter to a predictable degree across a wide variety of mammalian species.
Project description:Inflammation is linked to cognitive decline in midlife, but the neural basis for this link is unclear. One possibility is that inflammation associates with adverse changes in brain morphology, which accelerates cognitive aging and later dementia risk. Clear evidence is lacking, however, regarding whether inflammation relates to cognition in midlife via changes in brain morphology. Accordingly, the current study examines whether associations of inflammation with cognitive function are mediated by variation in cortical gray matter volume among midlife adults.Plasma levels of interleukin (IL)-6 and C-reactive protein (CRP), relatively stable markers of peripheral systemic inflammation, were assessed in 408 community volunteers aged 30-54 years. All participants underwent structural neuroimaging to assess global and regional brain morphology and completed neuropsychological tests sensitive to early changes in cognitive function. Measurements of brain morphology (regional tissue volumes and cortical thickness and surface area) were derived using Freesurfer.Higher peripheral inflammation was associated with poorer spatial reasoning, short term memory, verbal proficiency, learning and memory, and executive function, as well as lower cortical gray and white matter volumes, hippocampal volume and cortical surface area. Mediation models with age, sex and intracranial volume as covariates showed cortical gray matter volume to partially mediate the association of inflammation with cognitive performance. Exploratory analyses of body mass suggested that adiposity may be a source of the inflammation linking brain morphology to cognition.Inflammation and adiposity might relate to cognitive decline via influences on brain morphology.
Project description:We investigated white matter lesion load and global and regional brain volumes in relation to domain-specific cognitive performance in the stroke-free Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS) population.We quantified white matter hyperintensity volume (WMHV), total cerebral volume (TCV), and total lateral ventricular (TLV) volume, as well as hippocampal and cortical gray matter (GM) lobar volumes in a subgroup. We used general linear models to examine MRI markers in relation to domain-specific cognitive performance, adjusting for key covariates.MRI and cognitive data were available for 1,163 participants (mean age 70 ± 9 years; 60% women; 66% Hispanic, 17% black, 15% white). Across the entire sample, those with greater WMHV had worse processing speed. Those with larger TLV volume did worse on episodic memory, processing speed, and semantic memory tasks, and TCV did not explain domain-specific variability in cognitive performance independent of other measures. Age was an effect modifier, and stratified analysis showed that TCV and WMHV explained variability in some domains above age 70. Smaller hippocampal volume was associated with worse performance across domains, even after adjusting for APOE ?4 and vascular risk factors, whereas smaller frontal lobe volumes were only associated with worse executive function.In this racially/ethnically diverse, community-based sample, white matter lesion load was inversely associated with cognitive performance, independent of brain atrophy. Lateral ventricular, hippocampal, and lobar GM volumes explained domain-specific variability in cognitive performance.
Project description:In order to assess the effect of gray matter volumes and cortical thickness on antidepressant treatment response in late-life depression, the authors examined the relationship between brain regions identified a priori and Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) scores over the course of an antidepressant treatment trial.In a nonrandomized prospective trial, 168 patients who were at least 60 years of age and met DSM-IV criteria for major depression underwent MRI and were enrolled in a 12-week treatment study. Exclusion criteria included cognitive impairment or severe medical disorders. The volumes or cortical thicknesses of regions of interest that differed between the depressed group and a comparison group (N=50) were determined. These regions of interest were used in analyses of the depressed group to predict antidepressant treatment outcome. Mixed-model analyses adjusting for age, education, age at depression onset, race, baseline MADRS score, scanner, and interaction with time examined predictors of MADRS scores over time.Smaller hippocampal volumes predicted a slower response to treatment. With the inclusion of white matter hyper-intensity severity and neuropsychological factor scores, the best model included hippocampal volume and cognitive processing speed to predict rate of response over time. A secondary analysis showed that hippocampal volume and frontal pole thickness differed between patients who achieved remission and those who did not.These data expand our understanding of the prediction of treatment course in late-life depression. The authors propose that the primary variables of hippocampal volume and cognitive processing speed, subsuming other contributing variables (episodic memory, executive function, language processing) predict antidepressant response.