Previous diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies confirmed the vulnerability of corpus callosum (CC) fibers to aging. However, most studies employed lower order regressions to study the relationship between age and white matter microstructure. The present study investigated whether higher order polynomial regression modelling can better describe the relationship between age and CC DTI metrics compared to lower order models in 140 healthy participants (ages 18-85). The CC was found to be non-uniformly affected by aging, with accelerated and earlier degradation occurring in anterior portion; callosal volume, fiber count, fiber length, mean fibers per voxel, and FA decreased with age while mean, axial, and radial diffusivities increased. Half of the parameters studied also displayed significant age-sex interaction or intracranial volume effects. Higher order models were chosen as the best fit, based on Bayesian Information Criterion minimization, in 16 out of 23 significant cases when describing the relationship between DTI measurements and age. Higher order model fits provided different estimations of aging trajectory peaks and decline onsets than lower order models; however, a likelihood ratio test found that higher order regressions generally did not fit the data significantly better than lower order polynomial or linear models. The results contrast the modelling approaches and highlight the importance of using higher order polynomial regression modelling when investigating associations between age and CC white matter microstructure.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.