MRI Clinical Ratings and Cognitive Function in a Cross-Sectional Population Study of Dementia: The Cache County Memory Study

  • Y. H. W. Tsui-Caldwell
  • Thomas J. FarrerEmail author
  • Z. McDonnell
  • Z. Christensen
  • C. Finuf
  • E. D. Bigler
  • J. T. Tschanz
  • M. C. Norton
  • K. A. Welsh-Bohmer
Original Research



White matter integrity in aging populations is associated with increased risk of cognitive decline, dementia diagnosis, and mortality. Population-based data can elucidate this association.


To examine the association between white matter integrity, as measured by a clinical rating scale of hyperintensities, and mental status in older adults including advanced aging.


Scheltens Ratings Scale was used to qualitatively assess white matter (WM) hyperintensities in participants of the Cache County Memory Study (CCMS), an epidemiological study of Alzheimer’s disease in an exceptionally long-lived population. Further, the relation between Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) and WM hyperintensities were explored.


Participants consisted of 415 individuals with dementia and 22 healthy controls.


CCMS participants, including healthy controls, had high levels of WM pathology as measured by Scheltens Ratings Scale score. While age did not significantly relate to WM pathology, higher Scheltens Ratings Scale scores were associated with lower MMSE findings (correlation between -0.14 & -0.22; p <.05).


WM pathology was common in this countywide population sample of those ranging in age from 65 to 106. Increased WM burden was found to be significantly associated with decreased overall MMSE performance.

Key words

Scheltens Rating Scale Cache County aging clinical ratings white matter hyperintensity 

Supplementary material

42414_2019_62_MOESM1_ESM.docx (79 kb)
Supplementary material, approximately 79.4 KB.


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Copyright information

© Serdi Edition 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Y. H. W. Tsui-Caldwell
    • 1
  • Thomas J. Farrer
    • 7
    • 8
    Email author
  • Z. McDonnell
    • 3
  • Z. Christensen
    • 3
  • C. Finuf
    • 3
  • E. D. Bigler
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. T. Tschanz
    • 4
    • 5
  • M. C. Norton
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  • K. A. Welsh-Bohmer
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  2. 2.Neuroscience CenterBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Physiology & DevelopmentBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUtah State UniversityLoganUSA
  5. 5.Center for Epidemiologic StudiesUtah State UniversityLoganUSA
  6. 6.Department of Family, Consumer & Human DevelopmentUtah State UniversityLoganUSA
  7. 7.Department of Psychiatry and NeurologyDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  8. 8.DurhamUSA

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