Regional age-related atrophy after screening for preclinical alzheimer disease

Neurobiol Aging. 2022 Jan:109:43-51. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2021.09.010. Epub 2021 Sep 15.


Brain atrophy occurs in aging even in the absence of dementia, but it is unclear to what extent this is due to undetected preclinical Alzheimer disease. Here we examine a cross-sectional cohort (ages 18-88) free from confounding influence of preclinical Alzheimer disease, as determined by amyloid PET scans and three years of clinical evaluation post-imaging. We determine the regional strength of age-related atrophy using linear modeling of brain volumes and cortical thicknesses with age. Age-related atrophy was seen in nearly all regions, with greatest effects in the temporal lobe and subcortical regions. When modeling age with the estimated derivative of smoothed aging curves, we found that the temporal lobe declined linearly with age, subcortical regions declined faster at later ages, and frontal regions declined slower at later ages than during midlife. This age-derivative pattern was distinct from the linear measure of age-related atrophy and significantly associated with a measure of myelin. Atrophy did not detectably differ from a preclinical Alzheimer disease cohort when age ranges were matched.

Keywords: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI); Normal Aging; Preclinical Alzheimer disease; Volumetrics.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / pathology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Atrophy
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myelin Sheath / metabolism
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Young Adult