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1.  Carotid Artery Atherosclerosis, MRI Indices of Brain Ischemia and Aging and Cognitive Impairment: The Framingham Study 
Background and Purpose
Carotid atherosclerosis has been associated with increased risk of stroke, and poorer cognitive performance in older adults. The relation of carotid atherosclerosis to cognitive impairment and MRI indices of ischemia and aging in midlife is less clear.
We studied 1,975 Framingham Offspring Study participants free of stroke and dementia with available carotid ultrasound, brain MRI and neuropsychological testing. We related common and internal carotid artery intima-media thickness (ICA-IMT and CCA-IMT respectively) and internal carotid stenosis (CAS) to large white matter hyperintensity (>1-SD above age-specific mean; LWMH), total brain volume (TCBV), hippocampal volume, silent cerebral infarcts (SCI) and neuropsychological measures of verbal memory, executive function and non-verbal memory measures.
We observed that ICA-IMT, but not CCA-IMT, was associated with higher prevalence of SCI (OR 1.21, 95% CI 1.03–1.43, p<0.05), LWMH (OR 1.19, 95% CI 1.03–1.38, p<0.05), lower TCBV (−0.05 per SD, p<0.05) and poorer performance in verbal memory (−0.06 per SD; p<0.05) and non-verbal memory measures (−0.08 per SD; p<0.01), but not with hippocampal volume. CAS ≥25% was associated with a higher prevalence of LWMH (adjusted OR 1.77, 95% CI 1.25–2.53) and lower TCBV (−0.11 per SD, p=0.042) but not with SCI or hippocampal volume. CAS ≥50% was associated with higher prevalence of SCI (OR 2.53, 95% CI 1.17 – 5.44), LWMH (OR 2.35, 95% CI 1.08–5.13) and poorer performance on executive function (−0.39 per SD; p<0.05) but not with TCBV or hippocampal volume.
Carotid atherosclerosis markers were associated with MRI indices of brain ischemia and aging and with cognitive impairment in a community-based sample of middle-aged adults. Our data suggest that ICA-IMT may be a better marker for cognitive impairment than CCA-IMT.
PMCID: PMC2705324  PMID: 19265054
Carotid atherosclerosis; brain MRI; cognitive performance
2.  Prevalence and Correlates of Silent Cerebral Infarcts in the Framingham Offspring Study 
Background and Purpose
Prior estimates of the prevalence of silent cerebral infarction (SCI) on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in community-based samples have varied between 5.8 and 17.7% depending on age, ethnicity, presence of co-morbidities and imaging techniques. We document the prevalence and risk factors associated with SCI at midlife in the community-based Framingham sample.
2040 Framingham Offspring (53% F; mean age 62±9 yrs) who attended the 6th examination (1996–98), underwent volumetric brain MRI (1999–2005) and were free of clinical stroke at MRI, constituted our study sample. We examined the age- and sex-specific prevalence and the clinical correlates of SCI using multivariable logistic regression models.
At least one SCI was present in 10.7% of participants. 84% had a single lesion. SCI were largely located in the basal ganglia (52%), other subcortical (35%) and cortical areas (11%). Prevalent SCI was associated with the Framingham Stroke Risk Profile score (OR: 1.27; 95% CI: 1.10 – 1.46); Stage I hypertension by JNC-VII criteria (OR:1.56; CI:1.15 – 2.11)), an elevated plasma homocysteine in the highest quartile (OR: 2.23; CI: 1.42 – 3.51), atrial fibrillation (OR: 2.16; CI: 1.07 – 4.40), carotid stenosis >25% (OR: 1.62; 1.13 – 2.34)) and increased carotid intimal-medial thickness above the lowest quintile (OR: 1.65; CI: 1.22 – 2.24).
The prevalence and distribution of SCI in the Framingham comparable to prior estimates. Risk factors previously associated with clinical stroke were also found to be associated with midlife SCI. Our results support current guidelines emphasizing early detection and treatment of stroke risk factors.
PMCID: PMC2712254  PMID: 18583555
cerebral infarction; magnetic resonance imaging; risk factors; prevalence; hypertension

Results 1-2 (2)