Associations of age, gender and body mass with 1H MR-observed brain metabolites and tissue distributions

A. A. Maudsley, V. Govind, K. L. Arheart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Recent reports have indicated that a measure of adiposity, the body mass index (BMI), is associated with MR-observed brain metabolite concentrations and tissue volume measures. In addition to indicating possible associations between brain metabolism, BMI and cognitive function, the inclusion of BMI as an additional subject selection criterion could potentially improve the detection of metabolic and structural differences between subjects and study groups. In this study, a retrospective analysis of 140 volumetric MRSI datasets was carried out to investigate the value of including BMI in the subject selection relative to age and gender. The findings replicate earlier reports of strong associations of N-acetylaspartate, creatine, choline and gray matter with age and gender, with additional observations of slightly increased spectral linewidth with age and in female relative to male subjects. Associations of metabolite levels, linewidth and gray matter volume with BMI were also observed, although only in some regions. Using voxel-based analyses, it was also observed that the patterns of the relative changes of metabolites with BMI matched those of linewidth with BMI or weight, and that residual magnetic field inhomogeneity and measures of spectral quality were influenced by body weight. It is concluded that, although associations of metabolite levels and tissue distributions with BMI occur, these may be attributable to issues associated with data acquisition and analysis; however, an organic origin for these findings cannot be specifically excluded. There is, however, sufficient evidence to warrant the inclusion of body weight as a subject selection parameter, secondary to age, and as a factor in data analysis for MRS studies of some brain regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)580-593
Number of pages14
JournalNMR in biomedicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • H MRSI
  • Body mass index
  • Brain
  • Magnetic field inhomogeneity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Spectroscopy
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Associations of age, gender and body mass with <sup>1</sup>H MR-observed brain metabolites and tissue distributions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this