White matter changes with normal aging


CR Guttmann, FA Jolesz, R Kikinis, RJ Killiany, MB Moss, T Sandor, and MS Albert. 1998. “White matter changes with normal aging.” Neurology, 50, 4, Pp. 972-8.


We evaluated brain tissue compartments in 72 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 81 years with quantitative MRI. The intracranial fraction of white matter was significantly lower in the age categories above 59 years. The CSF fraction increased significantly with age, consistent with previous reports. The intracranial percentage of gray matter decreased somewhat with age, but there was no significant difference between the youngest subjects and the subjects above 59. A covariance adjustment for the volume of hyperintensities did not alter the foregoing results. The intracranial percentage of white matter volume was strongly correlated with the percentage volume of CSF. The finding of a highly significant decrease with age in white matter, in the absence of a substantial decrease in gray matter, is consistent with recent neuropathologic reports in humans and nonhuman primates.