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Age related changes of adult cranial morphology

lebka_urbanAge-related cranial morphological changes in adult humans are generally considered as minor or negligible. However, with age the adult human cranium undergoes non-pathological processes of thickening. In the case of hyperostosis frontalis interna, for example, thickening preferentially involves the inner part of frontal bones, influencing the cranial morphology. Recently, a geometric morphometric study of recent human crania also revealed age related cranial shape changes. The shape differences in males and females ranging between 20-99 years can be mainly detected in the cranial vault and at the anterior and middle cranial fossa. In contrast, no changes were found in the posterior cranial fossa. In the vault, there are corresponding morphological changes on the outer and inner surfaces. The authors suggest that some shape modifications can reflect the increase of grey matter volume in early age groups (up to 30 years), and its loss in older age groups. Hence, such age-dependent changes are supposed to be secondary consequences of the relationship between cranial morphology and brain volume. Males generally showed more marked differences. Nevertheless, the small sample size for each age group makes this study preliminary.

Hana Pisova