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Asymmetric thinning of the cerebral cortex across the adult lifespan is accelerated in Alzheimer’s disease

Roe, J.M., Vidal-Piñeiro, D., Sørensen, Ø., Brandmaier, A.M., Düzel, S., Gonzalez, H.A., Kievit, R.A., Knights, E., Kühn, S., Lindenberger, U., Mowinckel, A.M., Nyberg, L., Park, D.C., Pudas, S., Rundle, M.M., Walhovd, K.B., Fjell, A.M., Westerhausen, R. and Brown, B.ORCID: 0000-0001-7927-2540 (2021) Asymmetric thinning of the cerebral cortex across the adult lifespan is accelerated in Alzheimer’s disease. Nature Communications, 12 . Article number: 721.

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Aging and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are associated with progressive brain disorganization. Although structural asymmetry is an organizing feature of the cerebral cortex it is unknown whether continuous age- and AD-related cortical degradation alters cortical asymmetry. Here, in multiple longitudinal adult lifespan cohorts we show that higher-order cortical regions exhibiting pronounced asymmetry at age ~20 also show progressive asymmetry-loss across the adult lifespan. Hence, accelerated thinning of the (previously) thicker homotopic hemisphere is a feature of aging. This organizational principle showed high consistency across cohorts in the Lifebrain consortium, and both the topological patterns and temporal dynamics of asymmetry-loss were markedly similar across replicating samples. Asymmetry-change was further accelerated in AD. Results suggest a system-wide dedifferentiation of the adaptive asymmetric organization of heteromodal cortex in aging and AD.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Psychology, Counselling, Exercise Science and Chiropractic
Publisher: Springer Nature
Copyright: © 2021 The Authors
Other Information: Belinda Brown appears courtesy of The Australian Imaging Biomarkers and Lifestyle Flagship Study of Ageing
United Nations SDGs: Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being
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