Decreases in regional cerebral blood flow with normal aging

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 1991 Jul;11(4):684-9. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.1991.121.


Positron emission tomographic (PET) images of regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) from 30 normal, resting volunteers aged 30 to 85 years were analysed to identify areas where rCBF fell with age. Images were anatomically normalised, and a pixel-by-pixel linear regression was performed to remove differences in global CBF between subjects. Pixels at which rCBF then showed a significant (p less than 0.01) negative correlation with age were identified. They were displayed as a statistical parametric map (SPM) of correlations. We demonstrate an age-related decrease in adjusted rCBF in the cingulate, parahippocampal, superior temporal, medial frontal, and posterior parietal cortices bilaterally, and in the left insular and left posterior prefrontal cortices (omnibus significance, chi 2 = 2,291, p less than 0.0001, df = 1). Decreases in rCBF suggest a regionally specific loss of cerebral function with age. The affected areas were all limbic, or association, cortices. Therefore, these decreases may constitute the cerebral substrate of the cognitive changes that occur during normal aging.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology*
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / blood supply
  • Gyrus Cinguli / blood supply
  • Hippocampus / blood supply
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parietal Lobe / blood supply
  • Temporal Lobe / blood supply
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed