The brain of 142 healthy volunteers aged 21 to 80 years were investigated using MR imaging. The number and size of the white matter hyperintensity lesions (WMHL) in the cerebral hemispheres were determined. Furthermore, the volume of the cerebral hemispheres and of the lateral ventricles was measured. An almost linear increase in the number of volunteers with WMHL was seen with aging for males and females. With aging a significant decrease in the volume of the cerebral hemispheres was found for males, and a significant increase in the volume of the lateral ventricles was seen for both males and females. Our results suggest that with aging central atrophy increases more (relatively) than cortical atrophy. No correlation was found between the decreasing volume of the cerebral hemispheres and the increasing number and size of WMHL, nor between the increasing volume of the lateral ventricles and the increasing number and size of WMHL.