Antonio Giorgio1,2, Luca Santelli3, Valentina Tomassini1, Rose Bosnell1, Stephen M. Smith1, Nicola De Stefano2, Heidi Johansen-Berg1
1FMRIB Centre, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom; 2Neurology and Neurometabolic Unit, University of Siena, Siena, Italy; 3Department of Neuroscience, University of Padua Medical School, Padua, Italy
Normal ageing is associated with gradual deterioration of brain structures. However, there is mixed evidence over the precise time course and spatial distribution of change. We studied a group of 66 adults aged between 23 and 81 years using voxel-based morphometry (VBM)-style analysis and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). We found widespread reductions in GM volume from middle age onwards but earlier reductions were detected in frontal cortex. WM decline was detected earlier (in young adulthood) and more sensitively using DTI-based measures of microstructure than using markers of WM volume derived from conventional T1-weighted imaging.