Heritability of brain volume change and its relation to intelligence

R.M. Brouwer, A.M. Hedman, N.E.M. van Haren, H.G. Schnack, R.G.H. Brans, D.J.A. Smit, R.S. Kahn, D.I. Boomsma, H.E. Hulshoff Pol

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Human brain volumes change throughout life, are highly heritable, and have been associated with general cognitive functioning. Cross-sectionally, this association between volume and cognition can largely be attributed to the same genes influencing both traits. We address the question whether longitudinal changes in brain volume or in surface area in young adults are under genetic control and whether these changes are also related to general cognitive functioning. We measured change in brain volume and surface area over a 5-year interval in 176 monozygotic and dizygotic twins and their non-twin siblings aged 19 to 56, using magnetic resonance imaging. Results show that changes in volumes of total brain (mean=-6.4ml; 0.5% loss), cerebellum (1.4ml, 1.0% increase), cerebral white matter (4.4ml, 0.9% increase), lateral ventricles (0.6ml; 4.8% increase) and in surface area (-19.7cm
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)676-683
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Cohort Studies

  • Netherlands Twin Register (NTR)


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