Age effects on hippocampal structural changes in old men: The HAAS

Yuan Xu, Daniel J. Valentino*, Ann I. Scher, Ivo Dinov, Lon R. White, Paul M. Thompson, Lenore J. Launer, Arthur W. Toga

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Understanding the variability of the hippocampus in human brain research is essential. The effect of age on the hippocampus has been explored in several studies that have been focused on either normal aging or neural degeneration. Shape analysis of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides morphological measures for brain structures. This study further investigates the age effects on hippocampal morphology in three groups (104 normal controls, 24 Alzheimer's disease (AD) and 14 vascular dementia (VaD) patients). By utilizing a parametric shape analysis of hippocampal MRI scans, each individual distance map is generated and analyzed statistically. Specifically, after eliminating similarity parameters (rotation, translation, and scaling) effects for each hippocampus, an individual distance map is generated from parametric hippocampal surfaces and medial axes. Then statistical methods, including regression, and permutation tests, are applied to detect the differences in hippocampal distance maps and volumes under the effect of age in each group. Statistical analyses reveal that the loss of hippocampal volume and changes in shape are more significantly related to aging in the control group than in AD/VaD. The results also show that the asymmetry of hippocampus in healthy subjects is greater than that in either of the disease groups. Our study shows that 3D statistical shape analysis could enhance the understanding of age effects on local areas of hippocampi. However, the sample sizes of disease groups are relatively low; further studies with more AD/VaD data are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1003-1015
Number of pages13
Issue number3
StatePublished - 15 Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Age
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Hippocampus
  • Statistical shape analysis
  • vascular dementia


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