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Can structural MRI indices of cerebral integrity track cognitive trends in executive control function during normal maturation and adulthood?



We explored the relationship between structural neuroimaging-based indices of cerebral integrity and executive control function (ECF) in two groups of healthy subjects: A maturing group (33 subjects; 19–29 years) and a senescing group (38 adults; 30–90 years). ECF was assessed using the Executive Interview (EXIT) battery. Cortical indices of cerebral integrity included GM thickness, intergyral span, and sulcal span, each measured for five cortical regions per hemisphere. Subcortical indices included fractional anisotropy (FA), measured using track-based-spatial-statistics (TBSS), and the volume of T2-hyperintense WM (HWM). In the maturing group, no significant relationships between neuroanatomical changes and ECF were found; however, there were hints that late-term maturation of cerebral WM influenced variability in ECF. In the senescing group, the decline in ECF corresponded to atrophic changes in cerebral WM (sulcal and intergyral span) primarily in the superior frontal and anterior cingulate regions. A large fraction of the variability in ECF (62%) can be explained by variability in the structural indices from these two regions. Hum Brain Mapp 2009. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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