Rationale and Objective. Structure of the brain is generally thought to remain stationary over the course of young adulthood. However, there is some evidence that microstructural changes of the brain do occur during this period. Magnetic resonance diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) provides quantitative measures of structural changes in the brain. We used DTI to detect possible age-related structural changes in the brains of young adults. Materials and Methods. Twenty-five healthy adults in their 20s and 30s were studied using DTI. Maps of mean diffusivity and fractional anisotropy (FA) were created for subsequent histogram and region-of-interest analyses, and the results were correlated with the respective ages of the subjects. Results. The histogram analysis revealed a significant increase in the mean FA value (r = 0.407, P <. 05) and a significant decrease in FA peak height (r = -0.578, P <. 002) with increasing age. No age-related changes were observed in indices derived from mean diffusivity maps. Region-of-interest analysis showed no focal white matter regions with significant FA change. Conclusion. Quantitative DTI revealed age-related structural changes in the brains of young adults. Changes on FA histograms observed in this study were considered to be related to changes in the relative volumes of gray and white matter and may represent maturational changes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging