The effect of age on odor-stimulated functional MR imaging

David M. Yousem, Joseph A Maldjian, Thomas Hummel, David C. Alsop, Rena J. Geckle, Michael A. Kraut, Richard L. Doty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The effects of age, sex, and handedness on olfaction have not been adequately addressed with odor-stimulated functional MR imaging studies. We sought to determine the effect of age on functional MR imaging experiments performed with odor stimulation. METHODS: Five right- handed subjects with a mean age of 73 years and five right-handed subjects with a mean age of 24 years underwent gradient-echo echo-planar functional MR imaging using binasal olfactory stimulation. Imaging parameters included 3000/30 (TR/TE) and a 5-mm section thickness in a 6-minute sequence with 30 seconds of pulsed odorants alternating with 30 seconds of room air. The data were normalized to a standard atlas, and individual and group statistical parametric maps (SPMs) were generated for each task. The SPMs were thresholded for a P < .01, and the volumes of activation and distribution of cluster maxima were compared for the two groups. RESULTS: Analysis of the group SPMs revealed activated voxels in the frontal lobes, perisylvian regions, and cingulate gyri, with greater volume in the younger group than in the older group. The right inferior frontal, right perisylvian, and right and left cingulum had the largest number of voxels activated. The most common sites of activation on individual maps in both groups were the right inferior frontal regions and the right and left superior frontal and perisylvian zones. CONCLUSION: Given similar olfactory task paradigms, younger subjects showed a greater number of activated voxels than did older subjects. One must be cognizant of this effect when designing studies of odor-stimulated functional MR imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)600-608
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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