Gyrification of the cerebral cortex changes with aging and relates to development of cognitive function during early life and midlife. Little is known about how gyrification relates to age and cognitive function later in life. We investigated this in 4397 individuals (mean age: 63.5 years, range: 45.7 to 97.9) from the Rotterdam Study, a population-based cohort. Global and local gyrification were assessed from T1-weighted images. A measure for global cognition, the g-factor, was calculated from five cognitive tests. Older age was associated with lower gyrification (mean difference per year ​= ​−0.0021; 95% confidence interval ​= ​−0.0025; −0.0017). Non-linear terms did not improve the models. Age related to lower gyrification in the parietal, frontal, temporal and occipital regions, and higher gyrification in the medial prefrontal cortex. Higher levels of the g-factor were associated with higher global gyrification (mean difference per g-factor unit ​= ​0.0044; 95% confidence interval ​= ​0.0015; 0.0073). Age and the g-factor did not interact in relation to gyrification (p ​> ​0.05). The g-factor bilaterally associated with gyrification in three distinct clusters. The first cluster encompassed the superior temporal gyrus, the insular cortex and the postcentral gyrus, the second cluster the lingual gyrus and the precuneus, and the third cluster the orbitofrontal cortex. These clusters largely remained statistically significant after correction for cortical surface area. Overall, the results support the notion that gyrification varies with aging and cognition during and after midlife, and suggest that gyrification is a potential marker for age-related brain and cognitive decline beyond midlife.

Aging, Cognition, Gyrification, Structural MRI,
Department of Epidemiology

Lamballais, S, Vinke, E.J. (Elisabeth J.), Vernooij, M.W, Ikram, M.A, & Muetzel, R.L. (2020). Cortical gyrification in relation to age and cognition in older adults. NeuroImage, 212. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.116637