Cooccurrence of vascular risk factors and late-life white-matter integrity changes

Pauline Maillard, Owen T. Carmichael, Bruce R Reed, Dan M Mungas, Charles DeCarli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes are increasingly prevalent with advancing age and have been shown to cause white-matter (WM) injury that may contribute to dementia risk. However, cumulative and over time effects of these medical illnesses have not been systematically examined. One hundred twenty-one cognitively normal old participants received comprehensive clinical evaluations and brain diffusion tensor imaging on 2 occasions. Clinical history and medical treatment of diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia were assessed at both evaluations. We examined whether exposure to a greater number of vascular risk factors (VRFs) was associated with greater rate of WM integrity change using longitudinal differences in fractional anisotropy (FA). Compared with individuals with no VRF, individuals with 1 VRF did not exhibit significantly different change in FA. However, those with ≥2 VRFs had greater decrease in FA within multiple WM regions including the splenium of the corpus callosum. The accumulation of VRF increasingly affected WM integrity, particularly in areas known to be injured in patients with mild cognitive impairment and dementia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1670-1677
Number of pages8
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Aging
  • Diabetes
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Hypertension
  • White matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Aging
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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