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Anatomical changes in the emerging adult brain: A voxel-based morphometry study

Authors

  • Craig M. Bennett,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Moore Hall, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
    • Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College, Moore Hall, Hanover, NH 03755
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  • Abigail A. Baird

    1. Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Moore Hall, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
    2. Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Moore Hall, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
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Abstract

Research has consistently confirmed changes occur in brain morphometry between adolescence and adulthood. The purpose of the present study was to explore anatomical change during a specific environmental transition. High-resolution T1-weighted structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were acquired from 19 participants (mean age at initial scan = 18.6 years) during their freshman year. Scans were completed during the fall term and 6 months later before the conclusion of the school year. Voxel-based morphometry was used to assess within-subject change. Significant intensity increases were observed along the right midcingulate, inferior anterior cingulate gyrus, right caudate head, right posterior insula, and bilateral claustrum. Regional changes were not observed in two control groups; one controlling for method and another controlling for age-specific change over time. The results suggest that significant age-related changes in brain structure continue after the age of 18 and may represent dynamic changes related to new environmental challenges. Findings from the regions of change are discussed in the context of specific environmental demands during a period of normative maturation. Hum Brain Mapp, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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