Cerebellar morphology and function have been implicated in a variety of developmental disorders, and in healthy aging. Although recent work has sought to characterize the relationships between volume and age in this structure during adolescence, young, and older adulthood, there have been no investigations of regional cerebellar volume from adolescence through late middle age. Middle age in particular has been largely understudied, and investigating this period of the lifespan may be especially important for our understanding of senescence. Understanding regional patterns of cerebellar volume with respect to age during this portion of the lifespan may provide important insight into healthy aging and cognitive function as well as pathology from adolescence into later life. We investigated regional cerebellar volume using a highly novel lobular segmentation approach in conjunction with a battery of cognitive tasks in a cross-sectional sample of 123 individuals from 12 to 65 years old. Our results indicated that regional cerebellar volumes show different patterns with respect to age. In particular, the more posterior aspect of the neocerebellum follows a quadratic "inverse-U" pattern while the vermis and anterior cerebellum follow logarithmic patterns. In addition, we quantified the relationships between age and a variety of cognitive assessments and found relationships between regional cerebellar volumes and performance. Finally, exploratory analyses of sex differences in the relationships between regional cerebellar volume, age, and cognition were investigated. Taken together, these results provide key insights into the development and aging of the human cerebellum, and its role in cognitive function across the lifespan. Hum Brain Mapp 36:1102-1120, 2015.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology