Cortical Thinning at Midlife: The PATH Through Life Study

Marnie E. Shaw, Walter P. Abhayaratna, Perminder S. Sachdev, Kaarin J. Anstey, Nicolas Cherbuin

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Cortical thinning is a part of normal ageing. Recent studies suggest that accelerated cortical thinning in vulnerable regions may be a useful biomarker for neuropathologies including Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Longitudinal studies, which have largely focused on older adults, have provided estimates of normative rates and patterns of age-related cortical thinning. Very little, however, is known about healthy cortical thinning at midlife. Here we provide longitudinal estimates of age-related cortical thinning observed over 8 years, in a large (n = 404) group of healthy individuals aged 44–49 years at baseline, who were scanned with MRI (1.5T) on up to three occasions. Age-related cortical thinning was assessed across the whole cortex. We measured a mean annual decrease in cortical thickness of 0.26 % on the left and 0.17 % on the right hemisphere, and largely affecting frontal and cingulate cortices. Medial and lateral temporal regions were generally spared. Studying regions that are specifically vulnerable to—or spared from—healthy age-related cortical thinning at midlife may be important for the early identification of neurodegeneration, including AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)875-884
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Topography
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Cortical thickness
  • Healthy
  • Longitudinal
  • Midlife
  • MRI

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