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An MRI study of sex- and age-related differences in the dimensions of the corpus callosum and brain

Author(s): Mourgela S | Anagnostopoulou S | Sakellaropoulos A | Gouliamos A

Journal: Neuroanatomy
ISSN 1303-1783

Volume: 6;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 63;
Date: 2007;
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Keywords: neuroanatomy | anatomy | corpus callosum | dimensions | MRI | gender | age | brain

The primary purposes of this study were to investigate the possible existence of sex- and age-related differences in 1) the various dimensions of the corpus callosum, and 2) its relative position within the brain. Magnetic resonance images (MRI) from 21 females and 14 males, ranging in age from 24 to 80, were reviewed. Only MRI studies without any pathologic findings were included in analysis. The following corpus callosum measurements were done: maximum longitudinal dimension (frontal to occipital pole-AB); maximum vertical dimension (upper to lower surface-CD); length of the genu (EZ/3); length of the splenium (EZ/5); and total longitudinal dimension of the corpus callosum (EZ). Callosal longitudinal dimensions were measured using the Witelson division method, and were correlated with brain dimensions in the same living humans, in order to examine for sex- and age-related differences. To investigate age-related differences, we stratified the studied population into age subgroups (24-45, 46-65, 66-80). Statistical analysis involved Spearman correlations and Wilcoxon sign ranks tests. Across all subjects, there was minimal variability in the dimensions and relative dimensions of the corpus callosum. The longitudinal dimension of the genu (EZ/3) and total corpus callosum (EZ) were found to be larger in males, whereas the longitudinal dimension of the splenium (EZ/5) was larger in females. Females exhibited a smaller brain vertical dimension versus males. The ratios -EZ:AE and EZ:CD - were larger in females, but the dimensions EZ/3, EZ, and EZ/5 did not vary with gender. Corpus callosum dimensions were statistically less, by 3%, in those over age 45 versus those younger than 45. The corpus callosum’s dimensions and position remain stable relative to surrounding brain, but some sex differences exist. Also, the brain and corpus callosum both appear to decrease in size in older individuals.

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