Aging does not affect gray matter asymmetry

F.G.B. Smeets*, E.F.P.M. Vuurman, M.P.J. van Boxtel, S. Burgmans, E.H.B.M. Gronenschild, H.B.M. Uylings, J. Jolles

*Corresponding author for this work

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Previous research has shown that asymmetry of brain activity is decreased in older adults. This study investigates whether cortical gray matter asymmetry also shows age-related differences, and whether gray matter asymmetry differs between cognitively stable persons and persons who have shown profound age-related declines in cognitive functioning. In addition, we have examined whether prodromal dementia affects the study outcome. The gray matter volumes of seven prefrontal and temporal regions of interest were delineated on T1-weighted MRI scans in 70 adults aged between 52 and 84 years. Statistical analyses were conducted with and without participants who developed dementia within 6 years after the MRI scan session. It was found that asymmetry did not differ over the age range of 52-84 years of age. This result did not change when data from participants who were diagnosed with dementia within 6 years after MRI assessment were excluded from the analysis. In addition, no gray matter asymmetry differences were found between cognitively stable participants and participants who showed cognitive decline. We conclude that alterations in gray matter asymmetry may not be part of the healthy aging process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-594
JournalPsychology and Aging
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010

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