Brain volume loss (BVL) has gained increasing interest for monitoring tissue damage in neurodegenerative diseases including multiple sclerosis (MS). In this longitudinal study, 117 healthy participants (age range 37.3-82.6 years) received at least 2 magnetic resonance imaging examinations. BVL (in %) was determined with the Structural Image Evaluation using Normalisation of Atrophy/FMRIB Software Library and annualized. Mean BVL per year was 0.15%, 0.30%, 0.46%, and 0.61% at ages 45, 55, 65, and 75 years, respectively. The corresponding BVL per year values of the age-dependent 95th percentiles were 0.52%, 0.77%, 1.05% and 1.45%. Pathological BVL can be assumed if an individual BVL per year exceeds these thresholds for a given age. The mean BVL per year determined in this longitudinal study was consistent with results from a cross-sectional study that was published recently. The cut-off for a pathological BVL per year at the age of 45 years (0.52%) was consistent with the cut-off suggested previously to distinguish between physiological and pathological BVL in MS patients. Different cut-off values, however, need to be considered when interpreting BVL assessed in cohorts of higher ages.
Keywords: Aging; Brain atrophy; Brain volume loss; Cutoff; Multiple sclerosis; SIENA.
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