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Brain abnormalities in the elderly: frequency and predictors in the United States (the Cardiovascular Health Study)

  • W. T. LongstrethJr.
  • Cardiovascular Health Study Collaborative Research Group
Part of the Journal of Neural Transmission. Supplementa book series (NEURAL SUPPL, volume 53)

Summary

Purpose: Characterize brain abnormalities in elderly people using cranial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Methods: Comprehensive lists of people 65 years and older living in the United States of America were used to obtain a representative sample of 5,888 community-dwelling participants who underwent extensive standardized evaluations. A subset of 3,660 underwent MRI. Without clinical information, neuroradiologists evaluated each scan.

Results: Enlarged ventricles and sulci and prominent white matter changes were relatively common, even in a subset of the healthiest participants. Infarcts 3 mm or greater were present in 31% of all participants and 28% of those without a history of stroke. Most infarcts were clinically silent, small, and in the basal ganglia. Among those without a history of stroke, white matter changes were common but mostly of a mild degree. These changes were independently related to greater age, silent stroke, higher systolic blood pressure, lower forced expiratory volume in one second and income less than $ 50,000 per year. Changes were also associated with dysfunction, especially of cognition and the lower extremities.

Conclusion: MRI abnormalities are common in elderly people. Cautious interpretation is appropriate because participants are healthier than the general population and the study’s design is cross-sectional.

Keywords

Magnetic Resonance Imaging Finding White Matter Change Cardiovascular Health Study High Systolic Blood Pressure Cranial Magnetic Resonance Imaging 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. T. LongstrethJr.
    • 1
  • Cardiovascular Health Study Collaborative Research Group
  1. 1.Departments of Neurology and Medicine, School of Medicine and the Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Community MedicineUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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