A comparison between voxel-based cortical thickness and voxel-based morphometry in normal aging

Neuroimage. 2009 Nov 1;48(2):371-80. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.06.043. Epub 2009 Jun 25.


The morphology of cortical grey matter is commonly assessed using T1-weighted MRI together with automated computerised methods such as voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and cortical thickness measures. In the presented study we investigate how grey matter changes identified using voxel-based cortical thickness (VBCT) measures compare with local grey matter volume changes identified using VBM. We use data from a healthy aging population to perform the comparison, focusing on brain regions where age-related changes have been observed in previous studies. Our results show that overall, in healthy aging, VBCT and VBM yield very consistent results but VBCT provides a more sensitive measure of age-associated decline in grey matter compared with VBM. Our findings suggest that while VBCT selectively investigates cortical thickness, VBM provides a mixed measure of grey matter including cortical surface area or cortical folding, as well as cortical thickness. We therefore propose that used together, these techniques can separate the underlying grey matter changes, highlighting the utility of combining these complementary methods.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aging / pathology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Linear Models
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Size
  • Young Adult