Age-related differences in volumes of subcortical nuclei, brain matter, and cerebrospinal fluid in healthy men as measured with magnetic resonance imaging.
Magnetic resonance imaging was used to determine the volumes of brain, subcortical gray matter nuclei, and the ventricular and sulcal cerebrospinal fluid in 27 healthy men. Subjects were divided into young (less than 35 years, n = 10) and old (greater than 60 years, n = 17) groups. Volumes were normalized as percent intracranial volume. Older subjects had significantly less brain mass and significantly larger ventricular and peripheral cerebrospinal fluid volumes than the younger men. The caudate and lenticular nuclei were significantly smaller in older than younger men. This significant difference remained when their volumes were expressed as a ratio of cerebral brain matter volume. This cross-sectional study demonstrates age-related atrophy and concurrent dilation of cerebrospinal fluid spaces in healthy subjects. Of brain regions affected, the caudate and lenticular nuclei are significantly more affected by healthy aging than is cerebral brain matter; this may account for some of the motor abnormalities in aging.