The effects of age and sex on cortical sulci in the elderly

Tao Liu, Wei Wen*, Wanlin Zhu, Julian Trollor, Simone Reppermund, John Crawford, Jesse S. Jin, Suhuai Luo, Henry Brodaty, Perminder Sachdev

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


A large number of structural brain studies using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have reported age-related cortical changes and sex difference in brain morphology. Most studies have focused on cortical thickness or density, with relatively few studies of cortical sulcal features, especially in the elderly. In this paper, we report global sulcal indices (g-SIs) of both cerebral hemispheres and the average sulcal span in six prominent sulci, as observed in T1-weighted scans obtained from a large community cohort of 319 non-demented individuals aged between 70 and 90 years (mean=78.06±4.75; male/female=149/170), using automated methods. Our results showed that for both hemispheres, g-SIs had significant negative correlations with age in both men and women. Using an interactive effect analysis, we found that g-SIs for men declined faster with age than that for women. The widths of all six sulcal spans increased significantly with age, with largest span increase occurring in the superior frontal sulcus. Compared to women, men had significantly wider sulcal spans for all sulci that were examined. Our findings suggest that both age and sex contribute to significant cortical gyrification differences and variations in the elderly. This study establishes a reference for future studies of age-related brain changes and neurodegenerative diseases in the elderly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-27
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Cortex
  • MRI
  • Sex
  • Sulcus


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