Norms for imaging markers of brain reserve

Enrica Cavedo, Samantha Galluzzi, Michela Pievani, Marina Boccardi, Giovanni B. Frisoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Brain reserve allows some people to be more resilient to neurodegeneration processes and brain diseases. Structural markers of brain reserve are hippocampus, lateral ventricles, and white matter lesions volume (HV, LVV, WMLV). Subjects in the low end of the distribution of these markers are at higher risk to develop brain diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. We described the distribution of the above markers in a large group of cognitively-intact persons. A sample of 158 people aged between 40 to 90 years (mean ± SD: 60 ± 12 years, education 9 ± 4 years, MMSE score 28 ± 2) belonging to the Italian Brain Normative Archive was selected. HV, LVV, and WMLV were measured with validated procedures. The HV and LVV were measured by manual segmentation and the Freesurfer software, respectively, and normalized by head size; WMLV was measured with semi-automated thresholding. Test-retest reliability was >0.83 for all measures. No relationship was found between HV and age, whereas a significant relationship was found for LVV and WMLV (ventricle left: B 0.02, 95% CI 0.22 to 0.34; ventricle right: B 0.02 95% CI 0.23 to 0.34 p <0.001; WML: B 0.04; 95% CI 0.03 to 0.06 p <0.005). The 5th percentile threshold indicating lower brain reserve were: (i) HV below 2,260 mm3 at 40 and 2,000 mm3 at 90; (ii) LVV above 17,000 mm3 at 40 and 60,000 mm3 at 90; and (iii) WMLV above 1,200 mm3 at 40 and 8,700 mm3 at 90. Normative data of brain reserve markers can be used to estimate the brain resilience to neurodegeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-633
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Brain reserve
  • cognitively-intact adults
  • hippocampal volume
  • normative distribution
  • ventricular volume
  • white matter lesion volume

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Psychology


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