Effects of healthy aging on the regional cerebral metabolic rate of glucose assessed with statistical parametric mapping

Neuroimage. 1998 Apr;7(3):176-84. doi: 10.1006/nimg.1997.0318.


The aging process is thought to result in changes in synaptic activity reflecting both functional and structural cell derangement. However, previous PET reports on age-related changes in resting brain glucose utilization (CMRglc) have been discrepant, presumably because of methodological as well as subject screening differences. In contrast to other studies, which used a region of interest approach, the objective of the present work was to determine, by means of the SPM software, the changes in regional CMRglc as a function of age in 24 optimally healthy, unmedicated volunteers of ages from 20 to 67 years. Global CMRglc showed a significant decline with age (approximately 6% per decade, P < 0.05), which concerned all the voxels studied save for most of the occipital cortex and part of the cerebellum. The most significant effects (P < 0.001) concerned the association neocortex in perisylvian temporoparietal and anterior temporal areas, the insula, the inferior and posterior-lateral frontal regions, the anterior cingulate cortex, the head of caudate nucleus, and the anterior thalamus, in a bilateral and essentially symmetrical fashion. The high posterior parietal cortex was not sampled in this study. This distribution of changes in CMRglc with age may differ from that seen in Alzheimer' disease, where the earliest metabolic reduction has been shown to affect the posterior cingulate cortex.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cerebral Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Male
  • Mathematical Computing
  • Middle Aged
  • Software
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed / statistics & numerical data*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18