The Relationship of Age, Gender, and IQ With the Brainstem and Thalamus in Healthy Children and Adolescents: A Magnetic Resonance Imaging Volumetric Study

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In healthy children, there is a paucity of information on the growth of the brainstem and thalamus measured anatomically magnetic resonance imaging. The relations of age, gender, and age by gender with brainstem and thalamus volumes were analyzed from magnetic resonance brain images of 122 healthy children and adolescents (62 males, 60 females; ages 4 to 17). Results showed that age is a significant predictor of brainstem and thalamus volumes. The volume of the brainstem increases with age, while thalamus volume declines with age. The volume of the right thalamus is significantly larger than that of the left in both genders, with greater rightward asymmetry and greater thalamus to grey matter ratio in females. Males have larger brainstems, but these differences are not significant when covarying for cerebral volume. Larger thalami were associated with higher Verbal IQ. These normative pediatric data are of value to researchers who study these regions in neurodevelopmental disorders.

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