It has been well established that the volume of several subcortical structures decreases in relation to age. Different metrics of cortical structure (e.g., volume, thickness, surface area, and gyrification) have been shown to index distinct characteristics of interindividual differences; thus, it is important to consider the relation of age to multiple structural measures. Here, we compare age-related differences in subcortical and ventricular volume to those differences revealed with a measure of structural complexity, quantified as fractal dimensionality. Across 3 large data sets, totaling nearly 900 individuals across the adult lifespan (aged 18–94 years), we found greater age-related differences in complexity than volume for the subcortical structures, particularly in the caudate and thalamus. The structural complexity of ventricular structures was not more strongly related to age than volume. These results demonstrate that considering shape-related characteristics improves sensitivity to detect age-related differences in subcortical structures.
Madan, C. R., & Kensinger, E. A. (2017). Age-related differences in the structural complexity of subcortical and ventricular structures. Neurobiology of Aging, 50, 87-95. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2016.10.023