White matter lesions and brain gray matter volume in cognitively normal elders

Cyrus A. Raji, Oscar L. Lopez, Lewis H. Kuller, Owen T. Carmichael, William T. Longstreth, H. Michael Gach, John Boardman, Charles B. Bernick, Paul M. Thompson, James T. Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

82 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cerebral white matter lesions (WMLs) reflect small vessel disease, are common in elderly individuals, and are associated with cognitive impairment. We sought to determine the relationships between WMLs, age, gray matter (GM) volume, and cognition in the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS). From the Cardiovascular Health Study we selected 740 cognitively normal controls with a 1.5 T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the brain and a detailed diagnostic evaluation. WML severity was determined using a standardized visual rating system. GM volumes were analyzed using voxel-based morphometry implemented in the Statistical Parametric Mapping software. WMLs were inversely correlated with GM volume, with the greatest volume loss in the frontal cortex. Age-related atrophy was observed in the hippocampus and posterior cingulate cortex. Regression analyses revealed links among age, APOE*4 allele, hypertension, WMLs, GM volume, and digit symbol substitution test scores. Both advancing age and hypertension predict higher WML load, which is itself associated with GM atrophy. Longitudinal data are needed to confirm the temporal sequence of events leading to a decline in cognitive function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Volume33
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2012

Keywords

  • Age
  • Cognition
  • Gray matter volume
  • White matter lesions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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    Raji, C. A., Lopez, O. L., Kuller, L. H., Carmichael, O. T., Longstreth, W. T., Gach, H. M., Boardman, J., Bernick, C. B., Thompson, P. M., & Becker, J. T. (2012). White matter lesions and brain gray matter volume in cognitively normal elders. Neurobiology of Aging, 33(4). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2011.08.010