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Magnetic Resonance Materials in Physics, Biology and Medicine

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 251–257

First Online: 14 October 2014Received: 01 May 2014Revised: 28 August 2014Accepted: 23 September 2014


ObjectWe sought to measure brain metabolite levels in healthy older people.

Materials and methodsSpectroscopic imaging at the level of the basal ganglia was applied in 40 participants aged 73–74 years. Levels of the metabolites N-acetyl aspartate NAA, choline, and creatine were determined in -institutional units- IU corrected for T1 and T2 relaxation effects. Structural imaging enabled determination of grey matter GM, white matter WM, and cerebrospinal fluid content. ANOVA analysis was carried out for voxels satisfying quality criteria.

ResultsCreatine levels were greater in GM than WM 57 vs. 44 IU, p < 0.001, whereas choline and NAA levels were greater in WM than GM 13 vs. 10 IU p < 0.001 and 76 versus 70 IU p = 0.03, respectively. The ratio of NAA-cre was greater in WM than GM 2.1 vs. 1.4, p = 0.001 as was that of cho-cre 0.32 vs. 0.16, p < 0.001. A low voxel yield was due to brain atrophy and the difficulties of shimming over an extended region of brain.

ConclusionThis study addresses the current lack of information on brain metabolite levels in older adults. The normal features of ageing result in a substantial loss of reliable voxels and should be taken into account when planning studies. Improvements in shimming are also required before the methods can be applied more widely.

KeywordsMR spectroscopy Brain metabolites Basal ganglia Ageing Older adults Healthy volunteers AbbreviationsBGNDBackground non-brain tissue and air

CHESSChemical shift selective

CSFCerebrospinal fluid

GMGrey matter

LBCLothian Birth Cohort

NAAN-acetyl aspartate

PRESSPoint-resolved spectroscopy

WMWhite matter

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Autor: Jehill Parikh - Michael J. Thrippleton - Catherine Murray - Paul A. Armitage - Bridget A. Harris - Peter J. D. Andrews


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