Associations of deformation-based brain morphometry with cognitive level and decline within older Blacks without dementia

Neurobiol Aging. 2022 Mar:111:35-43. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2021.11.003. Epub 2021 Nov 20.


Blacks are at higher risk of developing cognitive impairment with age than non-Hispanic Whites, yet most brain morphometry and cognition research is performed with White samples or with mixed samples that control for race or compare across racial groups. A deeper understanding of the within-group variability in associations between brain structure and cognitive decline in Blacks is critically important for designing appropriate outcomes for clinical trials, predicting adverse outcomes, and developing interventions to preserve cognitive function, but no studies have examined these associations longitudinally within Blacks. We performed deformation-based morphometry in 376 older Black participants without dementia and examined associations of deformation-based morphometry with cognitive level and decline for global cognition and five cognitive domains. After correcting for widespread age-associated effects, there remained regions with less tissue and more cerebrospinal fluid associated with level and rate of decline in global cognition, memory, and perceptual speed. Further study is needed to examine the moderators of these associations, identify adverse outcomes predicted by brain morphometry, and deepen knowledge of underlying biological mechanisms.

Keywords: African-American; Aging; Black race; Cognition; Deformation-based morphometry; Neuroimaging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / pathology*
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Black People*
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Cognition*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Reaction Time