Prediction of brain age and cognitive age: quantifying brain and cognitive maintenance in aging

Anatürk, M., Kaufmann, T., Cole, J. H., Suri, S., Griffanti, L., Zsoldos, E., Filippini, N., Singh-Manoux, A., Kivimäki, M., Westlye, L. T., Ebmeier, K. P., de Lange, AM. G.(2020). Prediction of brain age and cognitive age: quantifying brain and cognitive maintenance in aging.

Preprint DOI: 10.31234/


The concept of brain maintenance refers to the preservation of brain integrity in older age, while cognitive reserve refers to the capacity to maintain cognition in the presence of

neurodegeneration or aging-related brain changes. While both mechanisms are thought

to contribute to individual differences in cognitive function among older adults, there is

currently no ‘gold standard’ for measuring these constructs. Using machine-learning, we

estimated brain and cognitive maintenance based on deviations from normative aging

patterns in the Whitehall II MRI sub-study cohort, and tested the degree of corre-

spondence between these constructs, as well as their associations with premorbid IQ,

education, and lifestyle trajectories. In line with established literature highlighting IQ

as a proxy for cognitive reserve, higher premorbid IQ was linked to cognitive mainte-

nance independent of the degree of brain maintenance. No strong evidence was found for

associations between lifestyle trajectories and brain or cognitive maintenance. In con-

clusion, we present a novel method to characterize brain and cognitive maintenance in

aging, which may be useful for future studies seeking to identify factors that contribute

to brain preservation and cognitive reserve mechanisms in older age.

Tags: Aging, Neuroimaging, Cognitive reserve, Brain maintenance, Machine learning, Trajectories, Lifestyle
Published Aug. 12, 2020 3:07 PM - Last modified Aug. 12, 2020 3:07 PM