Incidental findings in magnetic resonance imaging of the brains of healthy young men

J Neurol Sci. 2006 Jan 15;240(1-2):81-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2005.09.008. Epub 2005 Oct 26.


Background and purpose: To determine the frequency of serious intracranial abnormalities in a healthy young male population.

Methods: Cranial MRI of 2,536 healthy young males, mean age 20.5 years, all applicants for military flying duties in the German Air Force.

Results: The authors report a variety of morphological abnormalities in the brains of a large population of healthy young males, providing data on disease prevalence. Arachnoid cysts were found in 1.7% (95% CI 1.2 to 2.3%), vascular abnormalities in 0.51% (95% CI 0.29 to 0.9%), and intracranial tumors in 0.47% (95% CI 0.26 to 0.85%) of the applicants. No cerebral aneurysms were found.

Conclusion: The prevalence of primary brain tumors seems to be higher, whereas the prevalence of intracranial aneurysms is lower than expected. Only a small percentage of the detected abnormalities require urgent medical attention.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain / abnormalities
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain Diseases / classification
  • Brain Diseases / epidemiology
  • Brain Diseases / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Military Personnel
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies