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Vol. 20, No. 5, 2005
Issue release date: October 2005
Section title: Original Paper
Cerebrovasc Dis 2005;20:310–318
(DOI:10.1159/000087930)

Cognitive Correlates of Cerebral White Matter Lesions and Water Diffusion Tensor Parameters in Community-Dwelling Older People

Shenkin S.D. · Bastin M.E. · MacGillivray T.J. · Deary I.J. · Starr J.M. · Rivers C.S. · Wardlaw J.M.
Departments of aGeriatric Medicine, bPsychology, cMedical and Radiological Sciences (Medical Physics), dClinical Neurosciences, and eWellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Original Paper

Received: 3/16/2005
Accepted: 6/17/2005
Published online: 11/1/2005

Number of Print Pages: 9
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 5

ISSN: 1015-9770 (Print)
eISSN: 1421-9786 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/CED

Abstract

Background: The biological basis of cognitive ageing is unknown. One underlying process might be disruption of white matter tracts connecting cortical regions. White matter lesions (WML) seen on structural MRI may disrupt cortical connections, but diffusion tensor MRI (DT-MRI) parameters – mean diffusivity () and fractional anisotropy (FA) – may reflect more subtle changes in white matter integrity. Here the relationships between WML load, DT-MRI parameters and cognition in a large cohort of elderly subjects with a very narrow age range were investigated. Methods: 105 community-dwelling volunteers underwent MRI and neuropsychological assessment. Seventy-two (68.6%) were female, and their mean age was 78.4 (SD 1.5) years. Scans were rated for WML load. and FA were measured from regions of interest in normal-appearing frontal and occipital white matter, and centrum semiovale. Results: and FA differed significantly among the three brain regions studied (p ≪ 0.01). increased with age (r = 0.22 to 0.35, p < 0.03), and was negatively correlated with FA (r = –0.20 to –0.51, p < 0.05) in all three regions. There was a trend towards increased WML load correlating with poorer cognitive function, and this was statistically significant for the Mini-Mental State Examination (ρ = –0.23, p = 0.02). was generally negatively correlated with cognitive test score, and FA was positively correlated. This pattern was more consistent for than for FA, and particularly for verbal fluency (: r = –0.22 to –0.27, p < 0.03), which measures executive function. Conclusions: DT-MRI parameters, in particular , are sensitive to early ultrastructural changes underlying cognitive ageing. Executive function may be the cognitive domain most sensitive to age-related decline in white matter tract integrity.


Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Original Paper

Received: 3/16/2005
Accepted: 6/17/2005
Published online: 11/1/2005

Number of Print Pages: 9
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 5

ISSN: 1015-9770 (Print)
eISSN: 1421-9786 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/CED


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Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in goverment regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
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