Understanding the variability of the hippocampus in human brain research is essential. The effect of age on the hippocampus has been explored in several studies that have been focused on either normal aging or neural degeneration. Shape analysis of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides morphological measures for brain structures. This study further investigates the age effects on hippocampal morphology in three groups (104 normal controls, 24 Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and 14 vascular dementia (VaD) patients). By utilizing a parametric shape analysis of hippocampal MRI scans, each individual distance map is generated and analyzed statistically. Specifically, after eliminating similarity parameters (rotation, translation, and scaling) effects for each hippocampus, an individual distance map is generated from parametric hippocampal surfaces and medial axes. Then statistical methods, including regression, and permutation tests, are applied to detect the differences in hippocampal distance maps and volumes under the effect of age in each group. Statistical analyses reveal that the loss of hippocampal volume and changes in shape are more significantly related to aging in the control group than in AD/VaD. The results also show that the asymmetry of hippocampus in healthy subjects is greater than that in either of the disease groups. Our study shows that 3D statistical shape analysis could enhance the understanding of age effects on local areas of hippocampi. However, the sample sizes of disease groups are relatively low; further studies with more AD/VaD data are needed.
Statistical shape analysis; age; hippocampus; Alzheimer’s disease; vascular 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.
AHA Scientific Statements; vascular dementia; Alzheimer disease; risk factors; prevention; treatment
To investigate the independent effects of antihypertensive treatment and blood pressure (BP) levels on physical and mental health status in patients with arterial disease.
Cross-sectional analyses within the Secondary Manifestations of ARTerial disease (SMART) study, a single centre cohort study.
5,877 patients (mean age 57) with symptomatic and asymptomatic arterial disease who underwent a standardized vascular screening.
Main outcome measure
Self-rated physical and mental health assessed with the Short Form (SF)-36.
In the total population, antihypertensive drug use and increased intensity of antihypertensive treatment was associated with poorer health status independent of important confounders including BP levels; adjusted mean differences (95%CI) in physical and mental health between 0 and ≥3 antihypertensives were -1.2 (-2.1, -0.3) and -3.5 (-4.4; -2.6). Furthermore, lower systolic and lower diastolic BP levels were related to poorer physical and mental health status independently of antihypertensive treatment. Mean differences (95%CI) in physical and mental health status per SD decrease in systolic BP were -0.56 (-0.84; -0.27) and -0.32 (-0.61; -0.03), and per SD decrease in diastolic BP -0.50 (-0.78; -0.23) and -0.08 (-0.36; 0.20). The association between low BP and poor health status was particularly present in patients with coronary artery disease.
In a population of patients with asymptomatic and symptomatic arterial disease, antihypertensive treatment and lower BP levels are independently associated with poorer self-rated physical and mental health. These results might indicate that there are different underlying mechanisms explaining these independent associations.
antihypertensive treatment; blood pressure; physical health; mental health; cardiovascular disease
Coronary Artery Calcium (CAC) is a sign of advanced atherosclerosis and an independent risk factor for cardiac events. Here, we describe CAC-distributions in an unselected aged population and compare modelling methods to characterize CAC-distribution. CAC is difficult to model because it has a skewed and zero inflated distribution with over-dispersion. Data are from the AGES-Reykjavik sample, a large population based study [2002-2006] in Iceland of 5,764 persons aged 66-96 years.
Linear regressions using logarithmic- and Box-Cox transformations on CAC+1, quantile regression and a Zero-Inflated Negative Binomial model (ZINB) were applied. Methods were compared visually and with the PRESS-statistic, R2 and number of detected associations with concurrently measured variables.
There were pronounced differences in CAC according to sex, age, history of coronary events and presence of plaque in the carotid artery. Associations with conventional coronary artery disease (CAD) risk factors varied between the sexes.
The ZINB model provided the best results with respect to the PRESS-statistic, R2, and predicted proportion of zero scores. The ZINB model detected similar numbers of associations as the linear regression on ln(CAC+1) and usually with the same risk factors.
Coronary artery calcium; epidemiology; older persons; skewed distribution; ZINB; statistical modelling
Background: understanding the determinants of health burden after a fracture in ageing populations is important.
Objective: assess the effect of clinical vertebral and other osteoporotic fractures on function and the subsequent risk of hospitalisation.
Design: individuals from the prospective population-based cohort study Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility (AGES)-Reykjavik study were examined between 2002 and 2006 and followed up for 5.4 years.
Subjects: a total of 5,764 individuals, 57.7% women, born 1907–35, mean age 77.
Method: four groups with a verified fracture status were used; vertebral fractures, other osteoporotic fractures excluding vertebral, non-osteoporotic fractures and not-fractured were compared and analysed for the effect on mobility, strength, QoL, ADL, co-morbidity and hospitalisation.
Results: worst performance on functional tests was in the vertebral fracture group for women (P < 0.0001) and the other osteoporotic fractures group for men (P < 0.05). Both vertebral and other osteoporotic fractures, showed an increased risk of hospitalisation, HR = 1.4 (95% CI: 1.3–1.7) and 1.2 (95% CI: 1.1–1.2) respectively (P < 0.0001). Individuals with vertebral fractures had 50% (P < 0.0001) longer hospitalisation than not-fractured and 33% (P < 0.002) longer than the other osteoporotic fractures group.
Conclusion: individuals with a history of clinical vertebral fracture seem to carry the greatest health burden compared with other fracture groups, emphasising the attention which should be given to those individuals.
vertebral fracture; health burden; osteoporotic fracture; strength; ADL; quality of life; mobility; elderly
A previous cross-sectional study showed an association of migraine with a higher prevalence of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)–measured ischemic lesions in the brain.
To determine whether women or men with migraine (with and without aura) have a higher incidence of brain lesions 9 years after initial MRI, whether migraine frequency was associated with progression of brain lesions, and whether progression of brain lesions was associated with cognitive decline.
Design, Setting, and Participants
In a follow-up of the 2000 Cerebral Abnormalities in Migraine, an Epidemiological Risk Analysis cohort, a prospective populationbased observational study of Dutch participants with migraine and an age- and sexmatched control group, 203 of the 295 baseline participants in the migraine group and 83 of 140 in the control group underwent MRI scan in 2009 to identify progression of MRI-measured brain lesions. Comparisons were adjusted for age, sex, hypertension, diabetes, and educational level. The participants in the migraine group were a mean 57 years (range, 43–72 years), and 71% were women. Those in the control group were a mean 55 years (range, 44–71 years), and 69% were women.
Main Outcome Measures
Progression of MRI-measured cerebral deep white matter hyperintensities, infratentorial hyperintensities, and posterior circulation territory infarctlike lesions. Change in cognition was also measured.
Of the 145 women in the migraine group, 112 (77%) vs 33 of 55 women (60%) in the control group had progression of deep white matter hyperintensities (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 2.1; 95%CI, 1.0–4.1; P=.04). There were no significant associations of migraine with progression of infratentorial hyperintensities: 21 participants (15%) in themigraine group and 1 of 57 participants (2%) in the control group showed progression (adjusted OR, 7.7; 95% CI, 1.0–59.5; P=.05) or new posterior circulation territory infarctlike lesions: 10 of 203 participants (5%) in the migraine group but none of 83 in the control group (P=.07). There was no association of number or frequency of migraine headaches with progression of lesions. There was no significant association of high vs nonhigh deep white matter hyperintensity load with change in cognitive scores ( 3.7 in the migraine group vs 1.4 in the control group; 95% CI, 4.4 to 0.2; adjusted P=.07).
In a community-based cohort followed up after 9 years, women with migraine had a higher incidence of deep white matter hyperintensities but did not have significantly higher progression of other MRI-measured brain changes. There was no association of migraine with progression of any MRI-measured brain lesions in men.
Epidemiological studies suggest that elevated blood pressure (BP) in mid-life is associated with increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in late-life. In this preliminary study, we investigated the extent to which BP measurements are related to positron emission tomography (PET) measurements of fibrillar amyloid-beta burden using Pittsburgh Compound-B (PiB) and fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET measures of cerebral metabolic rate for glucose metabolism (CMRgl) in cognitively normal, late-middle-aged to older adult apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 homozygotes, heterozygotes and non-carriers. PiB PET results revealed that systolic BP (SBP) and pulse pressure (PP) were each positively correlated with cerebral-to-cerebellar PiB distribution volume ratio (DVR) in frontal, temporal and posterior-cingulate/precuneus regions, whereas no significant positive correlations were found between PiB DVRs and diastolic BP (DBP). FDG PET results revealed significant inverse correlations between each of the BP measures and lower CMRgl in frontal and temporal brain regions. These preliminary findings provide additional evidence that higher BP, likely a reflection of arterial stiffness, during late-mid-life may be associated with increased risk of presymptomatic AD.
APOE; blood pressure; arterial stiffness; brain imaging; PET; Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid; PiB; Pittsburgh Compound-B
Self-management of type 2 diabetes including avoidance of hypoglycemia is complex, but the impact of cognition on safe self-management is not well understood. This study aimed to assess the effect of baseline cognitive function and cognitive decline on subsequent risk of severe hypoglycemia and to assess the effect of different glycemic strategies on these relationships.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Prospective cohort analysis of data from the ACCORD trial included 2,956 adults aged ≥55 years with type 2 diabetes and additional cardiovascular risk factors. Cognitive tests (Digit Symbol Substitution Test [DSST], Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test, Stroop Test, and Mini Mental Status Examination) were conducted at baseline and 20 months. Study outcomes were incident confirmed severe hypoglycemia requiring medical assistance (HMA) and hypoglycemia requiring any assistance (HAA).
After a median 3.25-year follow-up, a 5-point-poorer baseline score on the DSST was predictive of a first episode of HMA (hazard ratio 1.13 [95% CI 1.08–1.18]). Analyses of the other cognitive tests and of HAA were consistent with the DSST results. Cognitive decline over 20 months increased the risk of subsequent hypoglycemia to a greater extent in those with lower baseline cognitive function (Pinteraction = 0.037). Randomization to an intensive versus standard glycemic strategy had no impact on the relationship between cognitive function and the risk of severe hypoglycemia.
Poor cognitive function increases the risk of severe hypoglycemia in patients with type 2 diabetes. Clinicians should consider cognitive function in assessing and guiding their patients regarding safe diabetes self-management regardless of their glycemic targets.
Beta-amyloid (Aβ), a vasoactive protein, and elevated blood pressure (BP) levels are associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and possibly vascular dementia (VaD). We investigated the joint association of mid-life BP and Aβ peptide levels with the risk for late-life AD and VaD. Subjects were 667 Japanese-American men (including 73 with a brain autopsy), from the prospective Honolulu Heart Program/Honolulu Asia Aging Study (1965 – 2000). Mid-life BP was measured starting in 1971 participants mean age 58 years, Aβ was measured in specimens collected1980/82, and assessment of dementia and autopsy collection started in 1991/93. The outcome measures were prevalent (present in 1991/3) and incident AD (n= 53, including 38 with no contributing cardiovascular disease), and VaD (n=24). Cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA), β-amyloid neuritic plaques, and neurofibrillary tangles were evaluated in post-mortem tissue. The risk for AD significantly increased with lower levels of plasma Aβ (Aβ1-40 hazard ratio (HR) 2.1, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.4 – 3.1; Aβ1-42 HR 1.6, 95% CI 1.1 – 2.3). Evidence of interaction between diastolic BP and plasma Aβ (1-40 pinteraction <0.05; 1-42 pinteraction <0.07) levels, indicated the Aβ-related risk for AD was higher when BP was higher. Low plasma Aβ was associated with the presence of CAA (ptrend<0.05), but not the other neuropathologies. Aβ plasma levels start decreasing at least 15 years before AD is diagnosed, and the association of Aβ to AD is modulated by mid-life diastolic BP. Elevated BP may compromise vascular integrity leading to CAA and impaired Aβ clearance from the brain.
Amyloid; blood pressure; brain; aging; dementia
This article reviews existing research at the intersection of genetics and economics, presents some new findings that illustrate the state of genoeconomics research, and surveys the prospects of this emerging field. Twin studies suggest that economic outcomes and preferences, once corrected for measurement error, appear to be about as heritable as many medical conditions and personality traits. Consistent with this pattern, we present new evidence on the heritability of permanent income and wealth. Turning to genetic association studies, we survey the main ways that the direct measurement of genetic variation across individuals is likely to contribute to economics, and we outline the challenges that have slowed progress in making these contributions. The most urgent problem facing researchers in this field is that most existing efforts to find associations between genetic variation and economic behavior are based on samples that are too small to ensure adequate statistical power. This has led to many false positives in the literature. We suggest a number of possible strategies to improve and remedy this problem: (a) pooling data sets, (b) using statistical techniques that exploit the greater information content of many genes considered jointly, and (c) focusing on economically relevant traits that are most proximate to known biological mechanisms.
genetics; heritability; GWAS
To determine whether adhering to a healthy lifestyle in midlife may reduce the risk of dementia.
Case-control study nested in a prospective cohort.
The Honolulu-Asia Aging Study on Oahu, Hawaii.
3468 Japanese American men (mean age 52, 1965–1968) examined for dementia after 25 years.
Men at low risk were defined as those with the following midlife characteristics: nonsmoking, body mass index <25.0 kg/m2, physically active, and having a healthy diet (based on alcohol, dairy, meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, cereals, and monounsaturated-to-saturated fat). Logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for developing overall dementia, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and vascular dementia (VaD), adjusting for potential confounders.
Dementia was diagnosed in 6.4% of men (52.5% with AD, 35.0% with VaD). Examining the risk factors individually, BMI was most strongly associated with increased risk of overall dementia (OR, 1.87; 95% CI, 1.26–2.77; BMI >25.0 vs. <22.6 kg/m2). All of the individual risk factors except diet score were significantly associated with VaD, whereas none were significantly associated with AD alone. Men with all four low-risk characteristics (7.2% of cohort) had the lowest OR for overall dementia (OR, 0.36; 95% CI, 0.15–0.84), as compared to other men. There were no significant associations between the combined low-risk characteristics and the risk of AD alone.
Having a healthy lifestyle in midlife is associated with a lower risk of dementia in late life among Japanese American men.
dementia; lifestyle; risk
Stiffness of the central arteries in aging may contribute to cerebral microvascular disease independent of hypertension and other vascular risk factors. Few studies of older adults have evaluated the association of central arterial stiffness with longitudinal cognitive decline.
We evaluated associations of aortic pulse wave velocity (centimeters per second), a measure of central arterial stiffness, with cognitive function and decline in 552 participants in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition (Health ABC) study Cognitive Vitality Substudy (mean age ± SD = 73.1 ± 2.7 years, 48% men and 42% black). Aortic pulse wave velocity was assessed at baseline via Doppler-recorded carotid and femoral pulse waveforms. Global cognitive function, verbal memory, psychomotor, and perceptual speed were evaluated over 6 years.
After adjustment for demographics, vascular risk factors, and chronic conditions, each 1 SD higher aortic pulse wave velocity (389 cm/s) was associated with poorer cognitive function: −0.11 SD for global function (SE = 0.04, p < .01), −0.09 SD for psychomotor speed (SE = 0.04, p = .03), and −0.12 SD for perceptual speed (SE = 0.04, p < .01). Higher aortic pulse wave velocity was also associated with greater decline in psychomotor speed, defined as greater than 1 SD more than the mean change (odds ratio = 1.42 [95% confidence interval = 1.06, 1.90]) but not with verbal memory or longitudinal decline in global function, verbal memory, or perceptual speed. Results were consistent with mixed models of decline in each cognitive test.
In well-functioning older adults, central arterial stiffness may contribute to cognitive decline independent of hypertension and other vascular risk factors.
Aging; Arterial stiffness; Cognitive decline
Aortic stiffness increases with age and vascular risk factor exposure and is associated with increased risk for structural and functional abnormalities in the brain. High ambient flow and low impedance are thought to sensitize the cerebral microcirculation to harmful effects of excessive pressure and flow pulsatility. However, haemodynamic mechanisms contributing to structural brain lesions and cognitive impairment in the presence of high aortic stiffness remain unclear. We hypothesized that disproportionate stiffening of the proximal aorta as compared with the carotid arteries reduces wave reflection at this important interface and thereby facilitates transmission of excessive pulsatile energy into the cerebral microcirculation, leading to microvascular damage and impaired function. To assess this hypothesis, we evaluated carotid pressure and flow, carotid–femoral pulse wave velocity, brain magnetic resonance images and cognitive scores in participants in the community-based Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility – Reykjavik study who had no history of stroke, transient ischaemic attack or dementia (n = 668, 378 females, 69–93 years of age). Aortic characteristic impedance was assessed in a random subset (n = 422) and the reflection coefficient at the aorta–carotid interface was computed. Carotid flow pulsatility index was negatively related to the aorta–carotid reflection coefficient (R = −0.66, P<0.001). Carotid pulse pressure, pulsatility index and carotid–femoral pulse wave velocity were each associated with increased risk for silent subcortical infarcts (hazard ratios of 1.62–1.71 per standard deviation, P<0.002). Carotid–femoral pulse wave velocity was associated with higher white matter hyperintensity volume (0.108 ± 0.045 SD/SD, P = 0.018). Pulsatility index was associated with lower whole brain (−0.127 ± 0.037 SD/SD, P<0.001), grey matter (−0.079 ± 0.038 SD/SD, P = 0.038) and white matter (−0.128 ± 0.039 SD/SD, P<0.001) volumes. Carotid–femoral pulse wave velocity (−0.095 ± 0.043 SD/SD, P = 0.028) and carotid pulse pressure (−0.114 ± 0.045 SD/SD, P = 0.013) were associated with lower memory scores. Pulsatility index was associated with lower memory scores (−0.165 ± 0.039 SD/SD, P<0.001), slower processing speed (−0.118 ± 0.033 SD/SD, P<0.001) and worse performance on tests assessing executive function (−0.155 ± 0.041 SD/SD, P<0.001). When magnetic resonance imaging measures (grey and white matter volumes, white matter hyperintensity volumes and prevalent subcortical infarcts) were included in cognitive models, haemodynamic associations were attenuated or no longer significant, consistent with the hypothesis that increased aortic stiffness and excessive flow pulsatility damage the microcirculation, leading to quantifiable tissue damage and reduced cognitive performance. Marked stiffening of the aorta is associated with reduced wave reflection at the interface between carotid and aorta, transmission of excessive flow pulsatility into the brain, microvascular structural brain damage and lower scores in various cognitive domains.
haemodynamics; aortic stiffness; magnetic resonance imaging; brain structure; cognitive function
To study the association of microinfarcts (MBI) to ante-mortem global cognitive function (CF), and to investigate whether brain weight (BW), Alzheimer’s lesions (neurofibrillary tangles (NFT) or neuritic plaques (NP) mediate the association.
Subjects are 437 well-characterized male decedents from the Honolulu Asia Aging Autopsy Study. Brain pathology was ascertained with standardized methods, CF was measured by the Cognitive Abilities Screening Instrument (CASI)and data were analyzed using formal mediation analyses, adjusted for age at death, time between last CF measure and death, education, and head size. Based on ante-mortem diagnoses, demented and non-demented subjects were examined together and separately.
In those with no dementia, MBI were strongly associated with the last ante-mortem CF score; this was significantly mediated by BW, and not NFT or NP. In contrast, among those with an ante-mortem diagnosis of dementia, NFT had the strongest associations with BW and with CF, and MIB were modestly associated with CF.
This suggests microinfarct pathology is a significant and independent factor contributing to brain atrophy and cognitive impairment, particularly before dementia is clinically evident. The role of vascular damage as initiator, stimulator, or additive contributor to neurodegeneration may differ depending on when in the trajectory towards dementia the lesions develop.
Persons with type 2 diabetes (T2D) are at risk for cognitive impairment and brain atrophy. The ACCORD Memory in Diabetes (MIND) Study investigated whether persons randomized to an intensive glycaemic therapeutic strategy targeting HbA1c to <6% had better cognitive function and a larger brain volume at 40 months than persons randomized to a standard strategy targeting HbA1c to 7%–7.9%.
ACCORD MIND was a double 2×2 factorial parallel group randomised trial conducted in 52 clinical sites in North America. Participants [age 55 – <80 years] with T2D, high HbA1c concentrations (>7.5%), and at high risk for cardiovascular events were randomised to treatment groups using a centralized web-based system. Clinic staff and participants were not blinded to treatment arm. The cognitive primary outcome, the Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST) score, was assessed at baseline, 20 and 40 months. Total brain volume (TBV), the primary brain structure outcome, was assessed with MRI at baseline and 40 months in a sub-set of 632 participants. All participants with follow-up data were included in the primary analyses. In February, 2008, increased mortality risk led to the termination of the intensive therapy and transition of those participants to standard glycaemic treatment.
Randomised patients (n=2977; mean age 62.3 years) were consecutively enrolled; the final analysis included 1358 intensive and 1416 standard arm participants with a 20 or 40 month DSST score. Of the 614 with a baseline MRI, 230 intensive and 273 standard therapy participants were included in the analysis. There was no treatment difference in the DSST score. The intensive group had a greater TBV than the standard group (difference, 4.62; 95% CI 2.0 to7.3 cm3; p=0.0007).
Although significant differences in TBV favored the intensive therapy, cognitive outcomes were not different. Combined with the unfavorable effects on other ACCORD outcomes, MIND findings do not support using intensive therapy to reduce the adverse effects of diabetes on the brain in patients similar to MIND participants. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00182910).
Epigenetic studies are commonly conducted on DNA from tissue samples. However, tissues are ensembles of cells that may each have their own epigenetic profile, and therefore inter-individual cellular heterogeneity may compromise these studies. Here, we explore the potential for such confounding on DNA methylation measurement outcomes when using DNA from whole blood. DNA methylation was measured using pyrosequencing-based methodology in whole blood (n = 50–179) and in two white blood cell fractions (n = 20), isolated using density gradient centrifugation, in four CGIs (CpG Islands) located in genes HHEX (10 CpG sites assayed), KCNJ11 (8 CpGs), KCNQ1 (4 CpGs) and PM20D1 (7 CpGs). Cellular heterogeneity (variation in proportional white blood cell counts of neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils and basophils, counted by an automated cell counter) explained up to 40% (p<0.0001) of the inter-individual variation in whole blood DNA methylation levels in the HHEX CGI, but not a significant proportion of the variation in the other three CGIs tested. DNA methylation levels in the two cell fractions, polymorphonuclear and mononuclear cells, differed significantly in the HHEX CGI; specifically the average absolute difference ranged between 3.4–15.7 percentage points per CpG site. In the other three CGIs tested, methylation levels in the two fractions did not differ significantly, and/or the difference was more moderate. In the examined CGIs, methylation levels were highly correlated between cell fractions. In summary, our analysis detects region-specific differential DNA methylation between white blood cell subtypes, which can confound the outcome of whole blood DNA methylation measurements. Finally, by demonstrating the high correlation between methylation levels in cell fractions, our results suggest a possibility to use a proportional number of a single white blood cell type to correct for this confounding effect in analyses.
An increasing number of studies suggest a vascular contribution to Alzheimer’s disease [AD]. One major question these findings raise is whether vascular disease enhances the formation of AD-like lesions, or whether vascular disease just adds to clinical severity. We examined this question in a fully characterized autopsy sample based on the Honolulu Asia Aging Study. We found that AD markers of neurodegeneration [amyloid plaques, cerebral amyloid angiopathy and neurofibrillary tangles] were no more prevalent in those with neuropathologically defined vascular lesions compared to those without lesions. Our study suggests the burden of vascular and AD type lesions are independent of each other, and are consistent with an additive effect of the two types of lesions on cognitive impairment.
Cerebral microbleeds (CMB) are increasingly recognized neuroimaging findings, occurring with cerebrovascular disease, dementia, and normal aging. Recent years have seen substantial progress, particularly in developing newer MRI methodologies for CMB detection and applying them to population-based elderly samples. This review focuses on these recent developments and their impact on two major questions: how CMB are detected, and how they should be interpreted. There is now ample evidence that prevalence and number of detected CMB varies with MRI characteristics such as pulse sequence, sequence parameters, spatial resolution, magnetic field strength, and post-processing, underlining the importance of MRI technique in interpreting studies. Recent investigations using sensitive techniques find the prevalence of CMB detected in community-dwelling elderly to be surprisingly high. We propose procedural guidelines for identifying CMB and suggest possible future approaches for elucidating the role of these common lesions as markers for, and potential contributors to, small vessel brain disease.
Kidney disease is associated with cognitive impairment in studies of nondiabetic adults. We examined the cross-sectional relation between three measures of renal function and performance on four measures of cognitive function in the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes Memory in Diabetes (ACCORD-MIND) study.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
The relationships among estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) <60 mL/min/1.73 m2 (n = 2,968), albumin/creatinine ratio (ACR) ≥30 μg/mg (n = 2,957), and cystatin C level >1.0 mg/L (n = 532) with tertile of performance on the Mini-Mental State Examination, Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT), Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST), and Stroop Test of executive function were measured.
In adjusted logistic regression models, ACR ≥30 μg/mg was associated with performance in the lowest tertile, compared with the highest two tertiles, on the RAVLT (odds ratio 1.30, 95% CI 1.09–1.56, P = 0.006), equivalent to 3.6 years of aging, and on the DSST (1.47, 1.20–1.80, P = 0.001), equivalent to 3.7 years of aging. Cystatin C >1.0 mg/L was borderline associated with the lowest tertile on the DSST (1.81, 0.93–3.55, P = 0.08) and Stroop (1.78, 0.97–3.23, P = 0.06) in adjusted models. eGFR was not associated with any measure of cognitive performance.
In diabetic people with HbA1c >7.5% at high risk for cardiovascular disease, decreased cognitive function was associated with kidney disease as measured by ACR, a measure of microvascular endothelial pathology, and cystatin C, a marker of eGFR.
In a population-based genome-wide analysis including 5122 migraineurs and 18,108 non-migraineurs, rs2651899 (PRDM16), rs10166942 (TRMP8), and rs11172113 (LRP1) were among the top associations (p<5×10−6) with migraine. All three SNPs were significant in meta-analysis among replication cohorts and met genome-wide significance (p<4.3×10−9) in meta-analysis combining discovery and replication cohorts. Rs2651899 and rs10166942 associated with migraine compared to non-migraine headache; none of the three SNPs specifically associated with migraine subtypes or features.
To describe the prevalence and signs of early and late age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in an old cohort.
Population based cohort study
We included 5,272 persons 66 years and older, randomly sampled from the Reykjavik area.
Fundus images were taken through dilated pupils using a 45°digital camera and were graded for drusen size, type, area, increased retinal pigment, retinal pigment epithelial depigmentation, neovascular lesions and geographic atrophy using the modified Wisconsin Age-Related Maculopathy Grading System.
Main outcome measure
Age-related macular degenerationin an old cohort.
Mean age of participants was 76 years. The prevalence of early AMD was 12.4% (95% confidence interval [CI] 11.0–13.9) for those 66–74 year old and 36% (95% CI 30.9–41.1) for those 85 years and older. The prevalence of exudative AMD was 3.3% (95% CI 2.8–3.8) and for pure geographic atrophy 2.4% (95% CI 2.0–2.8). The highest prevalence for late AMD was among those 85 years and older 11.4% (95% CI 8.2–14.5) for exudative AMD and 7.6% (95% CI 4.8–10.4) for pure geographic atrophy.
Persons 85 years and older have 10-fold higher prevalence of late AMD than those 70–74 years old. The high prevalence of late AMD in the oldest age-group and expected increase of old people in the western world in coming years call for improved preventive measures and novel treatments.
Age-related macular degeneration; exudative AMD; geographic atrophy
We previously conducted genome-wide association meta-analysis (GWA) of systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and hypertension in 29,136 people from six cohort studies in the CHARGE Consortium. Here we examine associations of these traits with 30 gene regions encoding known anti-hypertensive drug targets. We find nominal evidence of association of ADRB1, ADRB2, AGT, CACNA1A, CACNA1C, and SLC12A3 polymorphisms with one or more BP traits in the CHARGE GWA meta-analysis. We attempted replication of the top meta-analysis SNPs for these genes in the Global BPgen Consortium (GBPG, n=34,433) and the Women’s Genome Health Study (WGHS, n=23,019), and found significant results for rs1801253 in ADRB1 (Arg389Gly), with the Gly allele associated with a lower mean SBP (beta −0.57 (mmHg), se 0.09, meta-analysis P=4.7×10−10), DBP (beta −0.36, se 0.06, meta-analysis P=9.5×10−10) and prevalence of hypertension (beta −0.06, se 0.02, meta-analysis P=3.3×10−4). Variation in AGT (rs2004776) was associated with SBP (beta 0.42, se 0.09, meta-analysis P=3.8×10−6), as well as DBP (P=5.0×10−8) and hypertension (P=3.7×10−7). A polymorphism in ACE (rs4305) showed modest replication of association with increased hypertension (beta 0.06, se 0.01, meta-analysis P=3.0×10−5). Two loci, ADRB1 and AGT, contain SNPs that reached a genome-wide significance threshold in meta-analysis for the first time. Our findings suggest that these genes warrant further studies of their genetic effects on BP, including pharmacogenetic interactions.
drug target; genome-wide; SNP; hypertension; blood pressure
Hippocampal changes may be a useful biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease if they are specific to dementia sub-type. We compare hippocampal volume and shape in population-based incident cases of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia (VaD).
Participants are Japanese-American men from the Honolulu Asia Aging Study. The following analysis is based on a sub-group of men with mild incident Alzheimer’s disease (n=24: age=82.5±4.6) or incident VaD (n=14: age=80.5±4.5). To estimate hippocampal volume, one reader, blinded to dementia diagnosis, manually outlined the left and right formation of the hippocampus using published criteria. We used 3-D mapping methods developed at the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging (LONI) to compare regional variation in hippocampal width between dementia groups.
Hippocampal volume was about 5% smaller in the Alzheimer’s disease group compared to the VaD group, but the difference was not significant. Hippocampal shape differed between the two case groups for the left (p<0.04) but not right (p<0.21) hippocampus. The specific region of the hippocampus that most consistently differed between the Alzheimer’s disease and VaD cases was in the lateral portion of the left hippocampus. Our interpretation of this region is that it intersects the CA1 sub-region to a great extent but also includes the dentate gyrus (and hilar region) and subiculum.
As indicated by shape analysis, there are some differences in atrophy localisation between the Alzheimer’s disease and VaD cases, despite the finding that volume of the hippocampi did not differ. These findings suggest hippocampal atrophy in Alzheimer’s disease may be more focal than in VaD.
Background and Purpose
Several cardiovascular risk factors are associated with cognitive disorders in older persons. Little is known about the association of the burden of coronary atherosclerosis with brain structure and function.
Cross-sectional analysis of data from the AGES Reykjavik Study cohort of men and women born 1907-35. Coronary artery calcification (CAC), a marker of atherosclerotic burden was measured with computed tomography. Memory, speed of processing, and executive function composites were calculated from a cognitive test battery. Dementia was assessed in a multi-step procedure and diagnosed according to international guidelines. Quantitative data on total intracranial and tissue volumes [total, Gray (GMV), White (WMV), and White Matter Lesions (WMLV)], cerebral infarcts and cerebral microbleeds (CMB) were obtained with brain MRI. The association of CAC with dementia (n=165 cases) and cognitive function in non-demented subjects (n=4085), and separately with MRI outcomes, was examined in multivariate models adjusting for demographic and vascular risk factors. Analyses tested whether brain structure mediated the associations of CAC to cognitive function.
Subjects with higher CAC were more likely to have dementia and lower cognitive scores, more likely to have lower WMV, GMV and total brain tissue, and more cerebral infarcts, CMB and WMLV. The relations of cognitive performance and dementia to CAC were significantly attenuated when the models were adjusted for brain lesions and volumes.
In a population-based sample increasing atherosclerotic load, assessed by CAC, is associated with poorer cognitive performance and dementia, and these relations are mediated by evidence of brain pathology.
Atherosclerosis; Coronary Artery Disease; Calcinosis/radiography; Dementia; Cognitive function