Brain gray matter (GM) morphometric changes are prevalent in both aging and Alzheimers disease (AD), though disentangling these two processes has proved challenging. Using independent component analysis, we derived morphometric networks from a large, multi-cohort dataset, and investigated how GM volume within these networks differs in young adulthood, old adulthood, and AD. Aging and AD contributed additive effects on GM loss in nearly all networks, except frontal lobe networks, where GM reductions were more specific to aging. While no networks show GM loss highly specific to AD, a higher degree of variability in the whole-brain pattern of GM volume characterized AD only. Preservation of the whole-brain GM pattern in cognitively normal older adults was related to better cognition and lower risk of developing cognitive impairment. These results suggest both aging and AD involve widespread atrophy, but that cognitive impairment is uniquely associated with disruption of morphometric organization.
- Grey matter
- Structural covariance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)