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Brain size, sex, and the aging brain


Jäncke, Lutz; Mérillat, Susan; Liem, Franziskus; Hänggi, Jürgen (2015). Brain size, sex, and the aging brain. Human Brain Mapping, 36(1):150-169.

Abstract

This study was conducted to examine the statistical influence of brain size on cortical, subcortical, and cerebellar compartmental volumes. This brain size influence was especially studied to delineate interactions with Sex and Age. Here, we studied 856 healthy subjects of which 533 are classified as young and 323 as old. Using an automated segmentation procedure cortical (gray and white matter [GM and WM] including the corpus callosum), cerebellar (GM and WM), and subcortical (thalamus, putamen, pallidum, caudatus, hippocampus, amygdala, and accumbens) volumes were measured and subjected to statistical analyses. These analyses revealed that brain size and age exert substantial statistical influences on nearly all compartmental volumes. Analyzing the raw compartmental volumes replicated the frequently reported Sex differences in compartmental volumes with men showing larger volumes. However, when statistically controlling for brain size Sex differences and Sex × Age interactions practically disappear. Thus, brain size is more important than Sex in explaining interindividual differences in compartmental volumes. The influence of brain size is discussed in the context of an allometric scaling of the compartmental volumes.

Abstract

This study was conducted to examine the statistical influence of brain size on cortical, subcortical, and cerebellar compartmental volumes. This brain size influence was especially studied to delineate interactions with Sex and Age. Here, we studied 856 healthy subjects of which 533 are classified as young and 323 as old. Using an automated segmentation procedure cortical (gray and white matter [GM and WM] including the corpus callosum), cerebellar (GM and WM), and subcortical (thalamus, putamen, pallidum, caudatus, hippocampus, amygdala, and accumbens) volumes were measured and subjected to statistical analyses. These analyses revealed that brain size and age exert substantial statistical influences on nearly all compartmental volumes. Analyzing the raw compartmental volumes replicated the frequently reported Sex differences in compartmental volumes with men showing larger volumes. However, when statistically controlling for brain size Sex differences and Sex × Age interactions practically disappear. Thus, brain size is more important than Sex in explaining interindividual differences in compartmental volumes. The influence of brain size is discussed in the context of an allometric scaling of the compartmental volumes.

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21 citations in Web of Science®
19 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
08 University Research Priority Programs > Dynamics of Healthy Aging
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:brain size; magnetic resonance imaging; morphometry; neuroanatomy; sex differences
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:26 Nov 2014 11:46
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:32
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1065-9471
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/hbm.22619
PubMed ID:25161056

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