Age, sex and laterality effects on cerebral glucose metabolism in healthy adults

Psychiatry Res. 2002 Feb 15;114(1):23-37. doi: 10.1016/s0925-4927(01)00126-3.


Normal cerebral glucose metabolism (CMRglc) was assessed with positron emission tomography in 66 healthy adults (28 women, 38 men; mean age 39, range 20--69 years) to determine effects of age, sex and laterality on CMRglc using statistical parametric mapping. Significant age-related decreases in global metabolism (gCMRglc) were noted in the entire sample and in both sexes, as well as widespread and bilateral decreases in cortical absolute regional metabolism (rCMRglc) and more focal anterior paralimbic normalized rCMRglc. However, significant positive correlations of age with normalized rCMRglc were observed in cerebellum, thalamus and occipital areas. Although the declines in gCMRglc and rCMRglc with age did not significantly differ between sexes, men compared with women had significantly lower gCMRglc and widespread decreased cortical and subcortical absolute rCMRglc. In the entire sample, and similarly in both sexes, left greater than right asymmetry was observed in medial frontal gyrus, posterior thalamus, lingual gyrus, cuneus and superior cingulate. The opposite laterality appeared in mesio-anterior cerebellum, and lateral frontal and temporal regions. Few regions showed significant interactions of metabolic laterality with either age or sex. These findings contribute toward a convergence in the literature, and the regression models of CMRglc vs. age serve as a normative database to which patients may be compared.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*


  • Blood Glucose