Cognitive impact of subcortical vascular and Alzheimer's disease pathology

Helena C. Chui, Chris Zarow, Wendy J. Mack, William G. Ellis, Ling Zheng, William J. Jagust, Dan M Mungas, Bruce R Reed, Joel H. Kramer, Charles DeCarli, Michael W. Weiner, Harry V. Vinters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

206 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess the interactions among three types of pathology (ie, cerebrovascular disease, hippocampal sclerosis [HS], and Alzheimer's disease [AD]), cognitive status, and apolipoprotein E genotype. Methods: We report clinicopathological correlations from 79 autopsy cases derived from a prospective longitudinal study of subcortical ischemic vascular disease and AD. Results: Thirty percent of the cases had significant cerebrovascular parenchymal pathology scores (CVDPS), 54% had significant AD pathology, and 18% had HS. In an ordinal logistic regression analysis that included interaction terms to assess the effects of each pathological variable when the other variables are interpolated to zero, each of the three pathology variables contributed independently to cognitive status: Braak and Braak stage odds ratio (OR) = 2.84 (93% confidence interval, 1.81-4.45), HS score OR = 2.43 (95% confidence interval, 1.01-5.85), and CVDPS OR = 1.02 (95% confidence interval, 1.00-1.04). Only Braak and Braak stage contributed to a global neuropsychological measure of cognitive impairment. Apolipoprorein E4 genotype was associated with Braak and Braak stage (OR, 1.31 [95% confidence interval, 1.03-1.68]), but not CVDPS or HS scores. Interpretation: In this convenience sample enriched for subcortical ischemic vascular disease, HS was a common unsuspected neuropathological finding. Apolipoptotein E4 genotype was associated with cerebral amyloid angiopathy, bur nor HS or arteriosclerosis. When Braak and Braak stage was interpolated to zero, both CVDPS and HS contributed to cognitive impairment. However, advancing stages of AD pathology overwhelmed the effects of CVDPS and HS, to become the major determinant of dementia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)677-687
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Neurology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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