By studying a large number of imaging scans, researchers have identified conditions and behaviors that could make the brain age prematurely, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, alcohol use, and the use of cannabis.
For what is thought to be the largest study of its kind, the researchers analyzed brain scans of 31,227 people aged 9 months–105 years.
In a paper that now features in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, they describe how they identified “patterns of aging” from the brain scans.
These were done using single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and came from people with psychiatric conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. They were all attending a psychiatric clinic that was based at several locations.