Relationship of family history scores for stroke and hypertension to quantitative measures of white-matter hyperintensities and stroke volume in elderly males

Terry Reed, Sandra C. Kirkwood, Charles DeCarli, Gary E. Swan, Bruce L. Miller, Philip A. Wolf, Lisa M. Jack, Dorit Carmelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


White-matter hyperintensities (WMHI) are frequently associated with cerebrovascular risk factors in the elderly, particularly hypertension, and have been interpreted as a subclinical form of ischemic brain damage. WMHI, clinical stroke and blood pressures show significant genetic influences. The objective of this study was to determine whether a relationship exists between family history of stroke and/or hypertension in first degree relatives and WMHI in the elderly. WMHI and stroke (CVA) volumes were quantified from brain MRI performed on 414 white, male twins born between 1917 and 1927 (average age 72.3 ± 2.9 years). WMHI, adjusted for age and head size, was significantly correlated with the family history score (r = 0.21, p < 0.001). Dividing the family history scores into quintiles revealed significant differences in WMHI by quintile mean (p < 0.05). Subjects in the highest quintile of family history score had the highest mean WMHI. Recalculation of the family history score, by only counting relatives reported to have had a clinical stroke as a positive event, revealed a nonsignificant correlation with WMHI, but the correlation of the family history score with MRI CVA volume was significant (p < 0.05). Stepwise multivariate analysis including ApoE status, current smoking status, smoking packyear history, Doppler ankle/arm blood pressure ratios, current and long term hypertensive status and current systolic and diastolic pressures indicated that the stroke/hypertension family history score was the single best predictor (p < 0.01) of WMHI volumes. Family history was not an independent predictor of CVA volume. Copyright (C) 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-86
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes



  • Brain infarction
  • Family history
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • White matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Clinical Neurology

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