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Intracranial volume, cranial thickness, and hyperostosis frontalis interna in the elderly




According to the “brain reserve hypothesis,” a larger premorbid brain protects against the development of dementia. The aim of this study was to reveal a possible pathophysiology of brain degenerative diseases by studying intracranial bone lesions that act to reduce intracranial volume (ICV), such as hyperostosis frontalis interna (HFI).


Three hundred and eighty postmenopausal females (aged 60+) who had undergone a head computerized tomography scan (Brilliance 64, Philips Healthcare, Cleveland, OH) at the Carmel Medical Center, Haifa, Israel, before the study were included. The subjects were divided into four groups according to their degree of HFI. Six measurements of the skull and brain were taken.


As HFI becomes more severe, the cranial bone thickness and cranial bone volume increase. This process is accompanied by a decrease in ICV. In none of the HFI groups studied there was a significant association between ICV and cranial bone thickness. The inter-relationships between the various thickness parameters are not disturbed by the degree of HFI.


HFI is accompanied by an increase in thickness of all calvarial bones and reduced ICV. In addition, the thickening process initiated by HFI is synchronized among the calvarial bones. Presence of HFI suggests a decrease in brain volume and has a major clinical significance as it may indicate the beginning of degenerative processes of the brain. In addition, as females age, their skulls tend to develop more robust characteristics. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 2012. © 2012Wiley Periodicals, Inc.