The relation between global and limbic brain volumes on MRI and cognitive performance in healthy individuals across the age range

Neurobiol Aging. 2000 Jul-Aug;21(4):569-76. doi: 10.1016/s0197-4580(00)00133-0.


The present study investigated the range of age-related changes in brain morphology and the relation with performance on memory and other cognitive tests in a healthy population. A group of 61 subjects (21 to 81 years old, mean = 55.7), free from cognitive and medical deficits, underwent MRI scanning and neuropsychological assessment encompassing memory and other cognitive tests. Volumetry of the hippocampus, parahippocampal gyrus, mamillary bodies, third ventricle, and total brain matter was performed. The results indicate that in healthy individuals increases in ventricular volume and volume decreases in total brain matter, hippocampus and parahippocampal gyrus, but not mamillary bodies, are clearly apparent with increasing age. However, no relation could be established between the brain volumes and test performance when controlling for the effects of age. To conclude, variations in total and limbic brain volumes do not seem predictive for cognitive performance independent of age.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Cognition*
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / anatomy & histology
  • Humans
  • Limbic System / anatomy & histology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Mammillary Bodies / anatomy & histology
  • Memory
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Parahippocampal Gyrus / anatomy & histology
  • Reference Values
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Factors
  • Third Ventricle / anatomy & histology