Brain Morphometry and Cognitive Performance in Normal Brain Aging: Age- and Sex-Related Structural and Functional Changes

Yauhen Statsenko, Tetiana Habuza, Darya Smetanina, Gillian Lylian Simiyu, Liaisan Uzianbaeva, Klaus Neidl-Van Gorkom, Nazar Zaki, Inna Charykova, Jamal Al Koteesh, Taleb M. Almansoori, Maroua Belghali, Milos Ljubisavljevic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The human brain structure undergoes considerable changes throughout life. Cognitive function can be affected either negatively or positively. It is challenging to segregate normal brain aging from the accelerated one. Objective: To work out a descriptive model of brain structural and functional changes in normal aging. Materials and Methods: By using voxel-based morphometry and lesion segmentation along with linear statistics and machine learning (ML), we analyzed the structural changes in the major brain compartments and modeled the dynamics of neurofunctional performance throughout life. We studied sex differences in lifelong dynamics of brain volumetric data with Mann-Whitney U-test. We tested the hypothesis that performance in some cognitive domains might decline as a linear function of age while other domains might have a non-linear dependence on it. We compared the volumetric changes in the major brain compartments with the dynamics of psychophysiological performance in 4 age groups. Then, we tested linear models of structural and functional decline for significant differences between the slopes in age groups with the T-test. Results: White matter hyperintensities (WMH) are not the major structural determinant of the brain normal aging. They should be viewed as signs of a disease. There is a sex difference in the speed and/or in the onset of the gray matter atrophy. It either starts earlier or goes faster in males. Marked sex difference in the proportion of total cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and intraventricular CSF (iCSF) justifies that elderly men are more prone to age-related brain atrophy than women of the same age. Conclusion: The article gives an overview and description of the conceptual structural changes in the brain compartments. The obtained data justify distinct patterns of age-related changes in the cognitive functions. Cross-life slowing of decision-making may follow the linear tendency of enlargement of the interhemispheric fissure because the center of task switching and inhibitory control is allocated within the medial wall of the frontal cortex, and its atrophy accounts for the expansion of the fissure. Free online tool at illustrates the tests and study results.

Original languageEnglish
Article number713680
JournalFrontiers in Aging Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - Jan 26 2022


  • aging
  • artificial intelligence
  • brain morphometry
  • cognitive decline
  • executive functioning
  • psychophysiological test
  • sex
  • structural-functional association

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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