Brain development and aging: Overlapping and unique patterns of change

Center for the Study of Human Cognition, Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway. Electronic address: .
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.36). 12/2012; 68. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.11.039
Source: PubMed


Early-life development is characterized by dramatic changes, impacting lifespan function more than changes in any other period. Developmental origins of neurocognitive late-life functions are acknowledged, but detailed longitudinal magnetic resonance imaging studies of brain maturation and direct comparisons with aging are lacking. To these aims, a novel method was used to measure longitudinal volume changes in development (n=85, 8-22years) and aging (n=142, 60-91years). Developmental reductions exceeded 1% annually in much of cortex, more than double that seen in aging, with a posterior-to-anterior gradient. Cortical reductions were greater than subcortical during development, while the opposite held in aging. The pattern of lateral cortical changes was similar across development and aging, but the pronounced medial temporal reduction in aging was not precast in development. Converging patterns of change in adolescents and elderly, particularly in medial prefrontal areas, suggest that late developed cortices are especially vulnerable to atrophy in aging. A key question in future research will be to disentangle the neurobiological underpinnings for the differences and the similarities between brain changes in development and aging.

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    • "; Mills, Lalonde, Clasen, Giedd, & Blakemore, 2014; Pfeifer & Blakemore, 2012; Pfeifer & Peake, 2012; Sebastian et al., 2008). Longitudinal structural neuroimaging studies show that the mPFC is one of the latest developing regions (Mills, Goddings, Clasen, Giedd, & Blakemore, 2014; Mills, Lalonde et al., 2014; Tamnes et al., 2013). Developmental fMRI studies on metalizing (including self-reference processing studies described below) showed that mPFC activity increases between childhood and adolescence, followed by a decrease between adolescence and adulthood (Blakemore, 2008, 2012). "
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    Child Development 10/2015; DOI:10.1111/cdev.12440 · 4.92 Impact Factor
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    • "Structural connections between these regions continue to mature during adolescence, resulting in greater top-down control, and strengthening pathways that are called upon routinely (Gee et al., 2013). This improved connectivity is largely a result of a linear increase in white matter volume and density in adolescence; however, this decelerates into adulthood (Giedd et al., 1999; Ostby et al., 2009; Tamnes et al., 2013). Developmental changes in white matter are thought to reflect ongoing axonal myelination, increasing the efficiency of neurotransmission between brain regions (although see Perrin et al., 2009, for a discussion on sex differences in the maturation of white matter; specifically they found age-related increases in axonal calibre in males and increased myelination in females, suggesting a more complex developmental picture). "
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    Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience 07/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.dcn.2015.07.006 · 3.83 Impact Factor
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    • "Notably, the developing cerebral cortex shows an initial growth in early childhood (Lyall et al., in press), followed by a subsequent decrease. This inverted U-shape is evident in both grey matter density and grey matter volume (Taki et al., 2013), cortical thickness (Lyall et al., in press; Shaw et al., 2008; Tamnes et al., 2013) and surface area (Fjell et al., 2015; Wierenga et al., 2014) measures, with different peak ages for these respective measures ranging from about 2 years for cortical thickness (Lyall et al., in press) to about 8–12 years for cortical surface area (Brown et al., 2012; Wierenga et al., 2014). While the mechanisms underlying these developmental trajectories remain unclear, they likely involve at least an initial increase in the number of neurons and synapses per neuron, and a subsequent decrease in the number of synapses as well as an increase of cortical myelination during adolescence and young adulthood (Taki et al., 2013). "
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