Purpose: To characterize age-related MR diffusion patterns of the prefrontal brain cortex microstructure using a new method for investigating the non-Gaussian behavior of water diffusion called diffusional kurtosis imaging (DKI).
Materials and methods: Measures of mean diffusivity (MD), fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean kurtosis (MK) were compared in the prefrontal brain cortex of 24 healthy volunteers (adolescents, young adults, and elderly) ranging from age 13 to 85 years. A Mann-Whitney test was used to compare subject groups with respect to the diffusion measures, and linear regression was used to characterize the change in each diffusion measure as a function of age.
Results: We found significant age-related changes in the elderly adult group, with increase of MD and decrease of FA.
Conclusion: The current study demonstrates distinct mean kurtosis patterns for different age-ranges, with significant age-related correlation for mean kurtosis (MK) and MK peak position, showing that diffusional kurtosis is able to characterize and measure age-related diffusion changes for both grey and white matter, in the developing and aging brain.
(c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.