A longitudinal study of brain atrophy over two years in community-dwelling older individuals

Jiyang Jiang, Perminder Sachdev, Darren M. Lipnicki, Haobo Zhang, Tao Liu, Wanlin Zhu, Chao Suo, Lin Zhuang, John Crawford, Simone Reppermund, Julian Trollor, Henry Brodaty, Wei Wen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


Most previous neuroimaging studies of age-related brain structural changes in older individuals have been cross-sectional and/or restricted to clinical samples. The present study of 345 community-dwelling non-demented individuals aged 70-90. years aimed to examine age-related brain volumetric changes over two years. T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging scans were obtained at baseline and at 2-year follow-up and analyzed using the FMRIB Software Library and FreeSurfer to investigate cortical thickness and shape and volumetric changes of subcortical structures. The results showed significant atrophy across much of the cerebral cortex with bilateral transverse temporal regions shrinking the fastest. Atrophy was also found in a number of subcortical structures, including the CA1 and subiculum subfields of the hippocampus. In some regions, such as left and right entorhinal cortices, right hippocampus and right precentral area, the rate of atrophy increased with age. Our analysis also showed that rostral middle frontal regions were thicker bilaterally in older participants, which may indicate its ability to compensate for medial temporal lobe atrophy. Compared to men, women had thicker cortical regions but greater rates of cortical atrophy. Women also had smaller subcortical structures. A longer period of education was associated with greater thickness in a number of cortical regions. Our results suggest a pattern of brain atrophy with non-demented people that resembles a less extreme form of the changes associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-211
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cortical thickness
  • Longitudinal
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Non-demented
  • Subcortical volume


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