Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the principal method for studying structural age-related brain changes in vivo. However, previous research has yielded inconsistent results, precluding understanding of structural changes of the aging brain. This inconsistency is due to methodological differences and/or different aging patterns across samples. To overcome these problems, we tested age effects on 17 different neuroanatomical structures and total brain volume across five samples, of which one was split to further investigate consistency (883 participants). Widespread age-related volume differences were seen consistently across samples. In four of the five samples, all structures, except the brainstem, showed age-related volume differences. The strongest and most consistent effects were found for cerebral cortex, pallidum, putamen and accumbens volume. Total brain volume, cerebral white matter, caudate, hippocampus and the ventricles consistently showed non-linear age functions. Healthy aging appears associated with more widespread and consistent age-related neuroanatomical volume differences than previously believed.
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