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1.  Cerebral Atherosclerosis is Associated with Cystic Infarcts and Microinfarcts, but not Alzheimer Pathologic Changes 
Background and Purpose
Some studies have reported associations between intracranial atherosclerosis and Alzheimer disease (AD) pathology. We aimed to correlate severity of cerebral atherosclerosis, arteriolosclerosis, and cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) with neurofibrillary tangles, neuritic plaques, and cerebral infarcts.
This autopsy study (n = 163) was drawn from a longitudinal study of subcortical ischemic vascular disease, AD, and normal aging. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to test associations among the 3 forms of cerebrovascular disease and the presence of ischemic and neurodegenerative brain lesions. Apolipoprotein E genotype was included as a covariate in these multivariable models.
Cerebral atherosclerosis was positively associated with microinfarcts (odds ratio (OR) = 2.3; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.2–4.4) and cystic infarcts (OR = 2.0, 95%CI = 1.0–4.2), but not AD pathology. Arteriolosclerosis showed a positive correlation with lacunar infarcts (OR = 2.0, 95%CI = 1.0–4.2), but not AD pathology. CAA was inversely associated with lacunar infarcts (OR = 0.6, 95%CI = 0.41–1.1), but positively associated with Braak & Braak stage (OR = 1.5, 95%CI = 1.1–2.1) and CERAD plaque score (OR = 1.5, 95%CI = 1.1–2.2).
Microinfarcts, which have been correlated with severity of cognitive impairment, were most strongly associated with atherosclerosis. Possible pathogenetic mechanisms include artery-to-artery emboli, especially micro-emboli that may include atheroemboli or platelet-fibrin emboli. Arteriolosclerosis was positively, while CAA was negatively correlated with lacunar infarcts, which might prove helpful in clinical differentiation of arteriolosclerotic from CAA-related vascular brain injury.
PMCID: PMC4049465  PMID: 23887837
Atherosclerosis; Alzheimer; Microinfarct; Infarct
2.  The Aging Brain and Cognition 
JAMA neurology  2013;70(4):488-495.
β-Amyloid (Aβ) deposition and vascular brain injury (VBI) frequently co-occur and are both associated with cognitive decline in aging. Determining whether a direct relationship exists between them has been challenging. We sought to understand VBI’s influence on cognition and clinical impairment, separate from and in conjunction with pathologic changes associated with Alzheimer disease (AD).
To examine the relationship between neuroimaging measures of VBI and brain Aβ deposition and their associations with cognition.
Design and Setting
A cross-sectional study in a community- and clinic-based sample recruited for elevated vascular disease risk factors.
Clinically normal (mean age, 77.1 years [N=30]), cognitively impaired (mean age, 78.0 years [N=24]), and mildly demented (mean age, 79.8 years [N=7]) participants.
Magnetic resonance imaging, Aβ (Pitts-burgh Compound B–positron emission tomographic [PiB-PET]) imaging, and cognitive testing.
Main Outcome Measures
Magnetic resonance images were rated for the presence and location of infarct (34 infarct-positive participants, 27 infarct-negative participants) and were used to quantify white matter lesion volume. The PiB-PET uptake ratios were used to create a PiB index by averaging uptake across regions vulnerable to early Aβ deposition; PiB positivity (29 PiB-positive participants, 32 PiB-negative participants) was determined from a data-derived threshold. Standardized composite cognitive measures included executive function and verbal and nonverbal memory.
Vascular brain injury and Aβ were independent in both cognitively normal and impaired participants. Infarction, particularly in cortical and subcortical gray matter, was associated with lower cognitive performance in all domains (P<.05 for all comparisons). Pittsburgh Compound B positivity was neither a significant predictor of cognition nor interacted with VBI.
Conclusions and Relevance
In this elderly sample with normal cognition to mild dementia, enriched for vascular disease, VBI was more influential than Aβ in contemporaneous cognitive function and remained predictive after including the possible influence of Aβ. There was no evidence that VBI increases the likelihood of Aβ deposition. This finding highlights the importance of VBI in mild cognitive impairment and suggests that the impact of cerebrovascular disease should be considered with respect to defining the etiology of mild cognitive impairment.
PMCID: PMC3771392  PMID: 23400560
3.  Coronary risk correlates with cerebral amyloid deposition 
Neurobiology of Aging  2011;33(9):1979-1987.
This study investigated the hypothesis that vascular risk factors are amyloidogenic. Participants were 43 persons, most with normal cognition or mild cognitive impairment. Vascular risk was quantified using the Framingham Coronary Risk Profile score (FCRP). Cerebral amyloid was measured by 11C-PIB PET and quantified with a Global PIB index, which is the average of distribution volume ratios in selected cortical regions of interest. In a bivariate model FCRP accounted for 16% of the variance in PIB index (p < .008) and the positive association remained significant controlling for age and sex. The effect of FCRP was independent of APOE genotype, which was also associated as expected with PIB. Carotid intima-media thickness was not associated with PIB index. Effects of individual FCRP component risk factors, cholesterol and glycemic status on PIB index were all non-significant, suggesting an aggregate effect of risk factors. Although this is a correlational observation it may represent a causal relationship as there are multiple, plausible, amyloidogenic mechanisms of vascular risk factors.
PMCID: PMC3371309  PMID: 22078485
vascular risk factors; coronary risk factors; cerebral amyloid; Mild Cognitive Impairment; Normal Aging; Alzheimer’s disease
4.  Cerebrovascular disease, beta-amyloid and cognition in aging 
Neurobiology of Aging  2011;33(5):1006.e25-1006.e36.
The present study evaluated cerebrovascular disease (CVD), β-amyloid (Aβ), and cognition in clinically normal elderly adults. Fifty-four participants underwent MRI, PIB-PET imaging, and neuropsychological evaluation. High white matter hyperintensity burden and/or presence of infarct defined CVD status (CVD−: N = 27; CVD+: N = 27). PIB-PET ratios of Aβ deposition were extracted using Logan plotting (cerebellar reference). Presence of high levels of Aβ in prespecified regions determined PIB status (PIB−: N = 33; PIB+: N = 21). Executive functioning and episodic memory were measured using composite scales. CVD and Aβ, defined as dichotomous or continuous variables, were unrelated to one another. CVD+ participants showed lower executive functioning (P = 0.001) when compared to CVD− individuals. Neither PIB status nor amount of Aβ affected cognition (Ps ≥ .45), and there was no statistical interaction between CVD and PIB on either cognitive measure. Within this spectrum of normal aging CVD and Aβ aggregation appear to be independent processes with CVD primarily affecting cognition.
PMCID: PMC3274647  PMID: 22048124
PIB; cerebrovascular disease; episodic memory; executive functioning; cognition
5.  Coronary Artery Disease is Associated with Cognitive Decline Independent of MRI Changes in Cognitively Normal Elderly 
White matter hyperintensities (WMH) and silent brain infarcts (SBI) have been associated with both vascular factors and cognitive decline. We examined among cognitively normal elderly, whether vascular factors predict cognitive decline and whether these associations are mediated by MRI measures of subclinical vascular brain injury.
Prospective multi-site longitudinal study of subcortical ischemic vascular diseases
Memory and aging centers in California
We studied 74 participants who were cognitively normal at entry and received at least 2 neuropsychological evaluations and 2 MRI exams over an average follow-up of 6.9 years.
Item response theory was used to create composite scores of global, verbal memory, and executive functioning. Volumetric MRI measures included WMH, SBI, hippocampus, and cortical gray matter (CGM). We used linear mixed effects models to examine the associations between vascular factors, MRI measures, and cognitive scores.
History of coronary artery disease (CAD) was associated with greater declines in global, verbal memory, and executive cognition. The CAD associations remained after controlling for changes in WMH, SBI, hippocampal and CGM volumes.
History of CAD may be a surrogate marker for clinically significant atherosclerosis which also affects the brain. Structural MRI measures of WMH and SBI do not fully capture the potential adverse effects of atherosclerosis on the brain. Future longitudinal studies of cognition should incorporate direct measures of atherosclerosis in cerebral arteries, as well as more sensitive neuroimaging measures.
PMCID: PMC3302932  PMID: 22283410
cognitively normal elderly; coronary artery disease; cognitive decline; MRI
6.  Chinese-Language Montreal Cognitive Assessment for Cantonese or Mandarin Speakers: Age, Education, and Gender Effects 
The Montreal Cognitive Assessment Chinese-Language Los Angeles version (MoCA-ChLA) was developed and administered during an in-home interview to 1,192 participants (mean age 62.5 years, mean education 11.6 years) in a population-based Chinese American Eye Study (CHES) in Los Angeles. The MoCA-ChLA score (mean ± SD) was 23.8 ± 4.2 with little ceiling and no floor effects. The score increased with higher education, decreased with advancing age, and was not related to gender. Compared to the education 1–6 years group, the mean MoCA-ChLA score was 2.6 and 4.6 higher in the education 7–11 and 12–20 years groups, respectively. The Mandarin- (n = 612) and Cantonese- (n = 612) speaking subgroups performed comparably; Cronbach's alpha of the MoCA-ChLA score was 0.78 and 0.79 for these two groups, respectively. Item response theory analysis showed good discriminating power for executive function and memory. These properties support the MoCA-ChLA as a useful screening tool for aging and dementia studies for Mandarin or Cantonese speakers.
PMCID: PMC3399373  PMID: 22830073
7.  Vascular risk factors and Alzheimer's disease: are these risk factors for plaques and tangles or for concomitant vascular pathology that increases the likelihood of dementia? An evidence-based review 
Recent epidemiologic studies have noted that risk factors for atherosclerosis (for example, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia) are associated with increased risk of incident Alzheimer's disease (AD). In this evidence-based review, we frame the proposition as a question: are vascular risk factors also risk factors for plaques and tangles or just for concomitant vascular pathology that increases the likelihood of dementia? To date, no representative, prospective studies with autopsy (evidence level A) show significant positive associations between diabetes mellitus, hypertension, or intracranial atherosclerosis and plaques or tangles. Some prospective, representative, epidemiologic studies (evidence level B) show associations between diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and aggregated risk factors with clinically diagnosed incident AD. However, the strength of association diminishes in the following order: vascular dementia (VaD) > AD + VaD > AD. This pattern is arguably more consistent with the hypothesis that atherosclerosis promotes subclinical vascular brain injury, thereby increasing the likelihood of dementia and in some cases making symptoms present earlier. Several autopsy studies from AD brain banks (evidence level C) have observed positive associations between intracranial atherosclerosis and severity of plaques and tangles. However, these studies may reflect selection bias; these associations are not confirmed when cases are drawn from non-dementia settings. We conclude that, at the present time, there is no consistent body of evidence to show that vascular risk factors increase AD pathology.
PMCID: PMC3471388  PMID: 22182734
8.  Operationalizing diagnostic criteria for Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related cognitive impairment—Part 2* 
This article focuses on the effects of operational differences in case ascertainment on estimates of prevalence and incidence of cognitive impairment/dementia of the Alzheimer type. Experience and insights are discussed by investigators from the Framingham Heart Study, the East Boston Senior Health Project, the Chicago Health and Aging Project, the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging, the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, and the Aging, Demographics, and Memory Study. There is a general consensus that the single most important factor regulating prevalence estimates of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the severity of cognitive impairment used for case ascertainment. Studies that require a level of cognitive impairment in which persons are unable to provide self-care will have much lower estimates than studies aimed at identifying persons in the earliest stages of AD. There is limited autopsy data from the above-mentioned epidemiologic studies to address accuracy in the diagnosis of etiologic subtype, namely the specification of AD alone or in combination with other types of pathology. However, other community-based cohort studies show that many persons with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) meet pathologic criteria for AD, and a large minority of persons without dementia or MCI also meets pathologic criteria for AD, thereby suggesting that the number of persons who would benefit from an effective secondary prevention intervention is probably higher than the highest published prevalence estimates. Improved accuracy in the clinical diagnosis of AD is anticipated with the addition of molecular and structural biomarkers in the next generation of epidemiologic studies.
PMCID: PMC3039838  PMID: 21255742
Alzheimer’s disease; Dementia; Mild cognitive impairment; Cognitive impairment not dementia; Diagnostic criteria; Population-based; Prevalence, Incidence
9.  Influences of lobar gray matter and white matter lesion load on cognition and mood 
Psychiatry research  2010;181(2):90.
Depressed mood is a frequent co-morbidity of dementia suggesting that they might share a common neuropathological substrate. Gray matter (GM) atrophy and white matter lesions (WML) have been described in both conditions. Our aims were to determine the relationship of GM and WML with cognition and depressed mood in the same population. Structural brain images were obtained from 42 controls, 20 Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients and 32 subjects with cognitive impairment/dementia due to subcortical cerebrovascular disease (vascCIND/IVD) and segmented to obtain lobar GM, white matter and WML volumes. Lobar WML had a negative effect on GM in all lobes in controls, on frontal, parietal and occipital GM in AD and on frontal GM in vascCIND/IVD. Frontal, temporal and hippocampal GM were associated with cognitive functions and frontal WML load with depressed mood. Cognitive function is associated with GM atrophy and depressed mood is associated with frontal WML. This indicates that although both often occur together depressed mood and cognitive impairment are caused by different pathological correlates.
PMCID: PMC2814971  PMID: 20074914
white matter lesion; gray matter atrophy; depression; mood; cognition; MRI
10.  Longitudinal MRI and Cognitive Change in Healthy Elderly 
Neuropsychology  2007;21(4):412-418.
Cross-sectional studies of normal aging indicate an association between memory and hippocampal volume, and between executive functioning and subcortical-frontal circuits. Much less is known, however, about the relationship between longitudinal MRI changes and cognitive decline. The authors hypothesized that longitudinal change in memory would be best predicted by change in hippocampal volumes, whereas change in executive functioning would be best predicted by cortical atrophy and progression of MRI markers of cerebrovascular disease. For this study, 50 healthy elderly subjects underwent structural MRI and cognitive testing at baseline and again at follow-up, with a mean follow-up interval of 45 months. Volumetric MRI measures were hippocampus, cortical gray matter, white matter signal hyperintensity (WMSH), and lacunae. Neuropsychological measures were psychometrically robust composite scores of episodic memory (MEM) and executive functioning (EXEC). Hierarchical multiple regression indicated that a decrease in hippocampus was associated with a decline in MEM, whereas decreased cortical gray matter and increased WMSH were independently associated with a decline in EXEC. Results suggest that in normal aging, cognitive functioning declines as cortical gray matter and hippocampus decrease, and WMSH increases. The association between WMSH and EXEC further highlights the cognitive sequealae associated with cerebrovascular disease in normal elderly.
PMCID: PMC2780018  PMID: 17605574
normal aging; memory; executive function; hippocampal volumes; white matter signal hyperintensity
11.  Cognitive and Anatomic Contributions of Metabolic Decline in Alzheimer Disease and Cerebrovascular Disease 
Archives of neurology  2008;65(5):650-655.
Alzheimer disease and cerebrovascular disease affect elderly persons through alterations in brain structure and metabolism that produce cognitive decline. Understanding how each disease contributes to dementia is essential from both a pathophysiologic and diagnostic perspective.
To elucidate how baseline cognitive function (episodic memory and executive function) and brain anatomy (white matter hyperintensities and hippocampal volume) are associated with baseline (positron emission tomography-1 [PET1]) and longitudinal (PET2) glucose metabolism in 38 subjects older than 55 years ranging from normal cognition, cognitive impairment without dementia, and dementia.
Cross-sectional regression analyses across subjects.
Multicenter, university-based study of subcortical vascular dementia.
Main Outcome Measures:
Regional cerebral glucose metabolism was the primary outcome, with the major hypotheses that memory and hippocampal volume are related to temporoparietal hypometabolism while executive function and white matter hyperintensities correlate with frontal lobe hypometabolism.
Low baseline hippocampal volume predicted longitudinal development (PET2) of medial temporal hypometabolism. Lower memory was associated with parietal and cingulate hypometabolism at PET1, which increased at the 2-year-follow-up (PET2). Executive function was associated with frontal and temporoparietal hypometabolism at PET1 but only with frontal hypometabolism at follow-up. White matter hyperintensities predicted hypometabolism over time in the frontoparietal regions, predicting a rate of metabolic change (PET1−PET2/time).
Low baseline episodic memory and hippocampal volume predict the metabolic alterations associated with Alzheimer disease, whereas elevated baseline white matter hyperintensities predict a different pattern of metabolic decline that is plausibly associated with cerebrovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC2556212  PMID: 18474742
12.  Subcortical Lacunes Are Associated With Executive Dysfunction in Cognitively Normal Elderly 
Background and Purpose
The relationship between subcortical ischemic vascular disease (SIVD) and cognition in normal elderly is unclear, in part because of methodological inconsistencies across studies. To clarify this relationship, the current study investigated a well characterized cognitively normal elderly sample (≥55 years) with quantitative MRI and psychometrically robust neuropsychological measures within a multivariate model. Converging evidence suggests that SIVD selectively impairs frontal-executive tasks by disrupting frontal-subcortical circuits. We therefore hypothesized that MRI markers of SIVD would be selectively associated with worse executive functioning.
We studied 94 participants who were cognitively and functionally normal. Volumetric measures of white matter signal hyperintensity (WMH), subcortical lacunes, hippocampal volume, and cortical gray matter were obtained to predict performance on composite measures of executive functioning and episodic memory.
Hierarchical regression demonstrated that after controlling for demographic variables, MMSE, and total intracranial volume, the total number of subcortical lacunes was the only significant predictor, with a greater number of lacunes associated with poorer executive performance. Hippocampal volume best predicted episodic memory performance.
Results suggest that SIVD in the form of silent lacunes corresponds to poorer executive functioning even in otherwise normal elderly, which is consistent with the hypothesis that SIVD preferentially disrupts frontal-subcortical circuits. The clinical importance of these findings is highlighted by the fact that 33% of the normal elderly participants in this study had lacunar infarcts.
PMCID: PMC2443738  PMID: 18096844
cerebral lacunes; cognition; elderly; magnetic resonance imaging
13.  Pattern of Cerebral Hypoperfusion in Alzheimer Disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment Measured with Arterial Spin-labeling MR Imaging: Initial Experience1 
Radiology  2005;234(3):851-859.
To prospectively determine if pulsed arterial spin-labeling perfusion magnetic resonance (MR) imaging depicts regional cerebral hypoperfusion in subjects with Alzheimer disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), compared with perfusion in cognitively normal (CN) subjects, that is consistent with results of fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) and hexamethyl-propyleneamine oxime (HMPAO) single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) studies of similar populations.
Institutional review board approval and informed consent were obtained. Twenty subjects with AD (13 men, seven women; mean age, 72.9 years), 18 with MCI (nine men, nine women; mean age, 73.3 years), and 23 CN subjects (10 men, 13 women; mean age, 72.9 years) underwent arterial spin-labeling and volumetric T1-weighted structural MR imaging. Perfusion images were coregistered to structural images, corrected for partial volume effects (PVEs) with information from the structural image to determine tissue content of perfusion voxels, and normalized to a study-specific template. Analyses of perfusion differences between groups, with and without corrections for PVEs, were performed on a voxel-by-voxel basis with a one-tailed fixed-effects analysis of covariance model adjusted for age. In addition, tests were performed with and without accounting for global perfusion.
The AD group showed significant regional hypoperfusion, compared with the CN group, in the right inferior parietal cortex extending into the bilateral posterior cingulate gyri (P < .001), bilateral superior and middle frontal gyri (P < .001), and left inferior parietal lobe (P = .007). When PVEs from underlying cortical gray matter atrophy were accounted for, the AD group still showed hypoperfusion in the right inferior parietal lobe extending into the bilateral posterior cingulate gyri (P < .001) and left (P = .003) and right (P = .012) middle frontal gyri. With a more liberal voxel-level threshold of P < .01, the MCI group showed significant regional hypoperfusion relative to the CN group in the inferior right parietal lobe (P = .046), similar to the region of greatest significance in the AD group.
Arterial spin-labeling MR imaging showed regional hypoperfusion with AD, in brain regions similar to those seen in FDG PET and HMPAO SPECT studies of similar populations; this hypoperfusion persists after accounting for underlying cortical gray matter atrophy.
PMCID: PMC1851934  PMID: 15734937
14.  Cognitive Impact of Subcortical Vascular and Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology 
Annals of neurology  2006;60(6):677-687.
To assess the interactions among three types of pathology (ie, cerebrovascular disease, hippocampal sclerosis [HS], and Alzheimer’s disease [AD]), cognitive status, and apolipoprotein E genotype.
We report clinicopathological correlations from 79 autopsy cases derived from a prospective longitudinal study of subcortical ischemic vascular disease and AD.
Thirty percent of the cases had significant cerebrovascular parenchymal pathology scores (CVDPS), 54% had significant AD pathology, and 18% had HS. In an ordinal logistic regression analysis that included interaction terms to assess the effects of each pathological variable when the other variables are interpolated to zero, each of the three pathology variables contributed independently to cognitive status: Braak and Braak stage odds ratio (OR) = 2.84 (95% confidence interval, 1.81–4.45), HS score OR = 2.43 (95% confidence interval, 1.01–5.85), and CVDPS OR = 1.02 (95% confidence interval, 1.00–1.04). Only Braak and Braak stage contributed to a global neuropsychological measure of cognitive impairment. Apolipoprotein E4 genotype was associated with Braak and Braak stage (OR, 1.31 [95% confidence interval, 1.03–1.68]), but not CVDPS or HS scores.
In this convenience sample enriched for subcortical ischemic vascular disease, HS was a common unsuspected neuropathological finding. Apolipoprotein E4 genotype was associated with cerebral amyloid angiopathy, but not HS or arteriosclerosis. When Braak and Braak stage was interpolated to zero, both CVDPS and HS contributed to cognitive impairment. However, advancing stages of AD pathology overwhelmed the effects of CVDPS and HS, to become the major determinant of dementia.
PMCID: PMC1851933  PMID: 17192928
15.  Correlates of Hippocampal Neuron Number in Alzheimer’s Disease and Ischemic Vascular Dementia 
Annals of neurology  2005;57(6):896-903.
The cornu ammonis 1 region of the hippocampus (CA1) sector of hippocampus is vulnerable to both Alzheimer’s disease (AD)-type neurofibrillary degeneration and anoxia–ischemia. The objective of this article is to compare number and size of neurons in CA1 in AD versus ischemic vascular dementia. Unbiased stereological methods were used to estimate the number and volume of neurons in 28 autopsy-derived brain samples. For each case, the entire hippocampus from one cerebral hemisphere was sliced into 5mm slabs (5–7 slabs/case), cut into 50μm sections, and stained with gallocyanine. Using the optical dissector, we systematically sampled the number and size of neurons throughout the extent of CA1 and CA2. The total number of neurons was significantly less in AD compared with ischemic vascular dementia (p < 0.02), but there was no significant difference in neuron size. The greatest loss of neurons was observed in two cases with combined AD and hippocampal sclerosis. Regardless of causative diagnosis, the number of CA1 neurons correlates with magnetic resonance imaging–derived hippocampal volume (r = 0.72; p < 0.001) and memory score (r = 0.62; p < 0.01). We conclude that although CA1 neuron loss is more consistently observed in AD than ischemic vascular dementia, severity of loss shows the expected correlation with structure and function across causative subtype. Reductions in magnetic resonance imaging–derived hippocampal volume reflect loss, rather than shrinkage, of CA1 neurons.
PMCID: PMC1851673  PMID: 15929035
16.  Hippocampal volume and retention in Alzheimer’s disease 
This study tested the hypothesis that the hippocampus has a relatively specific role in retaining information over delays. Thirty-seven subjects with probable Alzheimer’s disease were evaluated with a verbal memory task and structural MRI. Cortical gray matter but not hippocampal volume predicted immediate free recall. In contrast, hippocampal volume was the best predictor of how well information was retained over a delay, even after controlling for levels of immediate recall. Results suggest that the role of the hippocampus is relatively specific to the consolidation of new memories.
PMCID: PMC1820856  PMID: 15327742
Hippocampus; Memory; Consolidation; Alzheimer’s disease
17.  Quantitative Magnetic Resonance Imaging Differences Between Alzheimer Disease With and Without Subcortical Lacunes 
Previous reports showed that patients with Alzheimer disease (AD) frequently have coexisting vascular-related pathologies, such as cerebral infarcts and white matter lesions. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of subcortical lacunar infarcts on brain structure in patients with AD. Semi-automated tissue segmentation and volumetry of magnetic resonance imaging data were performed in 38 AD patients without lacunes (AD-L), 24 AD patients with subcortical lacunes (AD+L), and 40 age-matched cognitively healthy subjects without lacunes. The following tissue volumes were quantified, expressed as percentage of total intracranial volume: ventricular cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), sulcal CSF, cortical gray matter (GM), subcortical GM, white matter (WM), white matter signal hyperintensities (WMSH), lacunes, and hippocampus. There was no difference in the Mini-Mental State Examination between the two AD groups. AD+L patients compared with AD-L subjects had significantly greater volumes of WMSH and ventricular CSF spaces (as expected) but smaller sulcal CSF spaces and no significant increase in cortical GM atrophy (both unexpected). In the AD groups, ventricular CSF correlated inversely with cortical GM but not with WM; sulcal CSF correlated inversely with cortical GM and WM. Cognitive impairment was associated with sulcal CSF volume but not with volumes of WMSH or lacunes. In conclusion, the presence of subcortical lacunes in those with AD is associated with more WM lesions and ventriculomegaly but not with cortical atrophy.
PMCID: PMC1820852  PMID: 12040300
Alzheimer disease; Cerebral infarcts; Magnetic resonance imaging
18.  Age effects on atrophy rates of entorhinal cortex and hippocampus 
Neurobiology of aging  2005;27(5):733-740.
The effects of age, subcortical vascular disease, apolipoprotein E (APOE) ɛ4 allele and hypertension on entorhinal cortex (ERC) and hippocampal atrophy rates were explored in a longitudinal MRI study with 42 cognitively normal (CN) elderly subjects from 58 to 87 years old. The volumes of the ERC, hippocampus, and white matter hyperintensities (WMH) and the presence of lacunes were assessed on MR images. Age was significantly associated with increased atrophy rates of 0.04 ± 0.02% per year for ERC and 0.05 ± 0.02% per year for hippocampus. Atrophy rates of hippocampus, but not that of ERC increased with presence of lacunes, in addition to age. WMH, APOE ɛ4 and hypertension had no significant effect on atrophy rates. In conclusion, age and presence of lacunes should be taken into consideration in imaging studies of CN subjects and AD patients to predict AD progression and assess the response to treatment trials.
PMCID: PMC1779763  PMID: 15961190
Atrophy rate; Normal aging; Subcortical vascular disease; Hypertension; APOE ɛ4; The entorhinal cortex; The hippocampus
19.  Memory in the Aging Brain: Doubly Dissociating the Contribution of the Hippocampus and Entorhinal Cortex 
Hippocampus  2007;17(11):1134-1140.
Since the time of Aristotle it has been thought that memories can be divided into two basic types; conscious recollections and familiarity-based judgments. Neuropsychological studies have provided indirect support for this distinction by suggesting that different regions within the human medial temporal lobe (MTL) are involved in these two forms of memory, but none of these studies have demonstrated that these brain regions can be fully dissociated. In a group of nondemented elderly subjects, we found that performance on recall and recognition tests was predicted preferentially by hippocampal and entorhinal volumes, respectively. Structural equation modeling revealed a double dissociation, whereby age-related reductions in hippocampal volume resulted in decreases in recollection, but not familiarity, whereas entorhinal volume was preferentially related to familiarity. The results demonstrate that the forms of episodic memory supported by the human hippocampus and entorhinal cortex can be fully dissociated, and indicate that recollection and familiarity reflect neuroanatomically distinct memory processes.
PMCID: PMC2194291  PMID: 17636547
recollection; familiarity; hippocampus; entorhinal cortex
20.  Subcortical Ischemic Vascular Dementia: Assessment with Quantitative MR Imaging and 1H MR Spectroscopy 
Subcortical ischemic vascular dementia is associated with cortical hypometabolism and hypoperfusion, and this reduced cortical metabolism or blood flow can be detected with functional imaging such as positron emission tomography. The aim of this study was to characterize, by means of MR imaging and 1H MR spectroscopy, the structural and metabolic brain changes that occur among patients with subcortical ischemic vascular dementia compared with those of elderly control volunteers and patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
Patients with dementia and lacunes (n = 11), cognitive impairment and lacunes (n = 14), and dementia without lacunes (n = 18) and healthy age-matched control volunteers (n = 20) underwent MR imaging and 1H MR spectroscopy. 1H MR spectroscopy data were coanalyzed with coregistered segmented MR images to account for atrophy and tissue composition.
Compared with healthy control volunteers, patients with dementia and lacunes had 11.74% lower N-acetylaspartate/creatine ratios (NAA/Cr) (P = .007) and 10.25% lower N-acetylaspartate measurements (NAA) in the cerebral cortex (P = .03). In white matter, patients with dementia and lacunes showed a 10.56% NAA/Cr reduction (P = .01) and a 12.64% NAA reduction (P = .04) compared with control subjects. NAA in the frontal cortex was negatively correlated with the volume of white matter signal hyperintensity among patients with cognitive impairment and lacunes (P = .002). Patients with dementia, but not patients with dementia and lacunes, showed a 10.33% NAA/Cr decrease (P = .02) in the hippocampus compared with healthy control volunteers.
Patients with dementia and lacunes have reduced NAA and NAA/Cr in both cortical and white matter regions. Cortical changes may result from cortical ischemia/infarction, retrograde or trans-synaptic injury (or both) secondary to subcortical neuronal loss, or concurrent Alzheimer’s pathologic abnormalities. Cortical derangement may contribute to dementia among patients with subcortical infarction.
PMCID: PMC1945115  PMID: 10782769
21.  Forgetting in Dementia With and Without Subcortical Lacunes 
The Clinical neuropsychologist  2004;18(1):32-40.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and subcortical ischemic vascular disease (SIVD) are common causes of dementia, often co-occur, and can present quite similarly, making differential diagnosis clinically challenging. This study tested the hypothesis that patients with SIVD retain information better than AD patients. Participants were 35 dementia patients with subcortical lacunes (SIVD group), 27 dementia patients without lacunar infarction (AD group), and 56 normal controls. Results indicated that despite comparable levels of initial acquisition, AD patients showed more rapid forgetting. Further analysis indicated that memory patterns within the SIVD group were heterogeneous, with some participants exhibiting rapid forgetting and some exhibiting good retention. SIVD participants with good retention showed a trend for greater executive impairments relative to SIVD participants with rapid forgetting and AD participants. Results suggest that rapid forgetting in SIVD may imply concomitant AD, whereas the dementia in patients with good retention may be purely vascular in origin. Three SIVD patients with rapid forgetting followed to autopsy all had AD pathology, further supporting the link between memory patterns and AD.
PMCID: PMC1820864  PMID: 15595356
22.  Vascular Contributions to Cognitive Impairment and Dementia 
Background and Purpose
This scientific statement provides an overview of the evidence on vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia. Vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia of later life are common. Definitions of vascular cognitive impairment (VCI), neuropathology, basic science and pathophysiological aspects, role of neuroimaging and vascular and other associated risk factors, and potential opportunities for prevention and treatment are reviewed. This statement serves as an overall guide for practitioners to gain a better understanding of VCI and dementia, prevention, and treatment.
Writing group members were nominated by the writing group co-chairs on the basis of their previous work in relevant topic areas and were approved by the American Heart Association Stroke Council Scientific Statement Oversight Committee, the Council on Epidemiology and Prevention, and the Manuscript Oversight Committee. The writing group used systematic literature reviews (primarily covering publications from 1990 to May 1, 2010), previously published guidelines, personal files, and expert opinion to summarize existing evidence, indicate gaps in current knowledge, and, when appropriate, formulate recommendations using standard American Heart Association criteria. All members of the writing group had the opportunity to comment on the recommendations and approved the final version of this document. After peer review by the American Heart Association, as well as review by the Stroke Council leadership, Council on Epidemiology and Prevention Council, and Scientific Statements Oversight Committee, the statement was approved by the American Heart Association Science Advisory and Coordinating Committee.
The construct of VCI has been introduced to capture the entire spectrum of cognitive disorders associated with all forms of cerebral vascular brain injury—not solely stroke—ranging from mild cognitive impairment through fully developed dementia. Dysfunction of the neurovascular unit and mechanisms regulating cerebral blood flow are likely to be important components of the pathophysiological processes underlying VCI. Cerebral amyloid angiopathy is emerging as an important marker of risk for Alzheimer disease, microinfarction, microhemorrhage and macrohemorrhage of the brain, and VCI. The neuropathology of cognitive impairment in later life is often a mixture of Alzheimer disease and microvascular brain damage, which may overlap and synergize to heighten the risk of cognitive impairment. In this regard, magnetic resonance imaging and other neuroimaging techniques play an important role in the definition and detection of VCI and provide evidence that subcortical forms of VCI with white matter hyperintensities and small deep infarcts are common. In many cases, risk markers for VCI are the same as traditional risk factors for stroke. These risks may include but are not limited to atrial fibrillation, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and hypercholesterolemia. Furthermore, these same vascular risk factors may be risk markers for Alzheimer disease. Carotid intimal-medial thickness and arterial stiffness are emerging as markers of arterial aging and may serve as risk markers for VCI. Currently, no specific treatments for VCI have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. However, detection and control of the traditional risk factors for stroke and cardiovascular disease may be effective in the prevention of VCI, even in older people.
Vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia are important. Understanding of VCI has evolved substantially in recent years, based on preclinical, neuropathologic, neuroimaging, physiological, and epidemiological studies. Transdisciplinary, translational, and transactional approaches are recommended to further our understanding of this entity and to better characterize its neuropsychological profile. There is a need for prospective, quantitative, clinical-pathological-neuroimaging studies to improve knowledge of the pathological basis of neuroimaging change and the complex interplay between vascular and Alzheimer disease pathologies in the evolution of clinical VCI and Alzheimer disease. Long-term vascular risk marker interventional studies beginning as early as midlife may be required to prevent or postpone the onset of VCI and Alzheimer disease. Studies of intensive reduction of vascular risk factors in high-risk groups are another important avenue of research.
PMCID: PMC3778669  PMID: 21778438
AHA Scientific Statements; vascular dementia; Alzheimer disease; risk factors; prevention; treatment
23.  Evidence for a role of the rare p.A152T variant in MAPT in increasing the risk for FTD-spectrum and Alzheimer's diseases 
Coppola, Giovanni | Chinnathambi, Subashchandrabose | Lee, Jason JiYong | Dombroski, Beth A. | Baker, Matt C. | Soto-Ortolaza, Alexandra I. | Lee, Suzee E. | Klein, Eric | Huang, Alden Y. | Sears, Renee | Lane, Jessica R. | Karydas, Anna M. | Kenet, Robert O. | Biernat, Jacek | Wang, Li-San | Cotman, Carl W. | DeCarli, Charles S. | Levey, Allan I. | Ringman, John M. | Mendez, Mario F. | Chui, Helena C. | Le Ber, Isabelle | Brice, Alexis | Lupton, Michelle K. | Preza, Elisavet | Lovestone, Simon | Powell, John | Graff-Radford, Neill | Petersen, Ronald C. | Boeve, Bradley F. | Lippa, Carol F. | Bigio, Eileen H. | Mackenzie, Ian | Finger, Elizabeth | Kertesz, Andrew | Caselli, Richard J. | Gearing, Marla | Juncos, Jorge L. | Ghetti, Bernardino | Spina, Salvatore | Bordelon, Yvette M. | Tourtellotte, Wallace W. | Frosch, Matthew P. | Vonsattel, Jean Paul G. | Zarow, Chris | Beach, Thomas G. | Albin, Roger L. | Lieberman, Andrew P. | Lee, Virginia M. | Trojanowski, John Q. | Van Deerlin, Vivianna M. | Bird, Thomas D. | Galasko, Douglas R. | Masliah, Eliezer | White, Charles L. | Troncoso, Juan C. | Hannequin, Didier | Boxer, Adam L. | Geschwind, Michael D. | Kumar, Satish | Mandelkow, Eva-Maria | Wszolek, Zbigniew K. | Uitti, Ryan J. | Dickson, Dennis W. | Haines, Jonathan L. | Mayeux, Richard | Pericak-Vance, Margaret A. | Farrer, Lindsay A. | Ross, Owen A. | Rademakers, Rosa | Schellenberg, Gerard D. | Miller, Bruce L. | Mandelkow, Eckhard | Geschwind, Daniel H.
Human Molecular Genetics  2012;21(15):3500-3512.
Rare mutations in the gene encoding for tau (MAPT, microtubule-associated protein tau) cause frontotemporal dementia-spectrum (FTD-s) disorders, including FTD, progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and corticobasal syndrome, and a common extended haplotype spanning across the MAPT locus is associated with increased risk of PSP and Parkinson's disease. We identified a rare tau variant (p.A152T) in a patient with a clinical diagnosis of PSP and assessed its frequency in multiple independent series of patients with neurodegenerative conditions and controls, in a total of 15 369 subjects.
Tau p.A152T significantly increases the risk for both FTD-s (n = 2139, OR = 3.0, CI: 1.6–5.6, P = 0.0005) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) (n = 3345, OR = 2.3, CI: 1.3–4.2, P = 0.004) compared with 9047 controls. Functionally, p.A152T (i) decreases the binding of tau to microtubules and therefore promotes microtubule assembly less efficiently; and (ii) reduces the tendency to form abnormal fibers. However, there is a pronounced increase in the formation of tau oligomers. Importantly, these findings suggest that other regions of the tau protein may be crucial in regulating normal function, as the p.A152 residue is distal to the domains considered responsible for microtubule interactions or aggregation. These data provide both the first genetic evidence and functional studies supporting the role of MAPT p.A152T as a rare risk factor for both FTD-s and AD and the concept that rare variants can increase the risk for relatively common, complex neurodegenerative diseases, but since no clear significance threshold for rare genetic variation has been established, some caution is warranted until the findings are further replicated.
PMCID: PMC3392107  PMID: 22556362
24.  Associations between White Matter Hyperintensities and β Amyloid on Integrity of Projection, Association, and Limbic Fiber Tracts Measured with Diffusion Tensor MRI 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65175.
The goal of this study was to assess the relationship between Aβ deposition and white matter pathology (i.e., white matter hyperintensities, WMH) on microstructural integrity of the white matter. Fifty-seven participants (mean age: 78±7 years) from an ongoing multi-site research program who spanned the spectrum of normal to mild cognitive impairment (Clinical dementia rating 0–0.5) and low to high risk factors for arteriosclerosis and WMH pathology (defined as WMH volume >0.5% total intracranial volume) were assessed with positron emission tomography (PET) with Pittsburg compound B (PiB) and magnetic resonance and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Multivariate analysis of covariance were used to investigate the relationship between Aβ deposition and WMH pathology on fractional anisotropy (FA) from 9 tracts of interest (i.e., corona radiata, internal capsule, cingulum, parahippocampal white matter, corpus callosum, superior longitudinal, superior and inferior front-occipital fasciculi, and fornix). WMH pathology was associated with reduced FA in projection (i.e., internal capsule and corona radiate) and association (i.e., superior longitudinal, superior and inferior fronto-occipital fasciculi) fiber tracts. Aβ deposition (i.e., PiB positivity) was associated with reduced FA in the fornix and splenium of the corpus callosum. There were interactions between PiB and WMH pathology in the internal capsule and parahippocampal white matter, where Aβ deposition reduced FA more among subjects with WMH pathology than those without. However, accounting for apoE ε4 genotype rendered these interactions insignificant. Although this finding suggests that apoE4 may increase amyloid deposition, both in the parenchyma (resulting in PiB positivity) and in blood vessels (resulting in amyloid angiopathy and WMH pathology), and that these two factors together may be associated with compromised white matter microstructural integrity in multiple brain regions, additional studies with a longitudinal design will be necessary to resolve this issue.
PMCID: PMC3675157  PMID: 23762308
25.  Neuropathological Basis of Magnetic Resonance Images in Aging and Dementia 
Annals of neurology  2008;63(1):72-80.
Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging is used widely for assessment of patients with cognitive impairment, but the pathological correlates are unclear, especially when multiple pathologies are present.
This report includes 93 subjects from a longitudinally followed cohort recruited for the study of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and subcortical cerebrovascular disease (CVD). MR images were analyzed to quantify cortical gray matter volume, hippocampal volume, white matter hyperintensities, and lacunes. Neuropathological examination quantified CVD parenchymal pathology, AD pathology (defined as Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer’s Disease scores and Braak and Braak stage), and hippocampal sclerosis. Subjects were pathologically classified as 12 healthy control subjects, 46 AD, 14 CVD, 9 mixed AD/CVD, and 12 cognitively impaired patients without significant AD/CVD pathology. Multivariate models tested associations between magnetic resonance and pathological findings across the entire sample.
Pathological correlates of cortical gray matter volume were AD, subcortical vascular pathology, and arteriosclerosis. Hippocampal volume was related to AD pathology and hippocampal sclerosis, and the effects of hippocampal sclerosis were greater for subjects with low levels of AD pathology. White matter hyperintensities were related to age and to white matter pathology. Number of MRI lacunes was related to subcortical vascular pathology.
In this clinical setting, the presence of lacunes and white matter changes provide a good signal for vascular disease. The neuropathological basis of MR defined cerebral cortical and hippocampal atrophy in aging and dementia is complex, with several pathological processes converging on similar brain structures that mediate cognitive decline.
PMCID: PMC2624571  PMID: 18157909

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