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1.  Regional white matter hyperintensity volume, not hippocampal atrophy, predicts incident Alzheimer’s disease in the community 
Archives of neurology  2012;69(12):1621-1627.
New onset Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is often attributed to degenerative changes in the hippocampus. However, the contribution of regionally distributed small vessel cerebrovascular disease, visualized as white matter hyperintensities (WMH) on MRI, remains unclear.
To determine whether regional WMH and hippocampal volume predict incident AD in an epidemiological study.
A longitudinal community-based epidemiological study of older adults from northern Manhattan.
The Washington Heights/Inwood Columbia Aging Project
Between 2005 and 2007, 717 non-demented participants received MRI scans. An average of 40.28 (SD=9.77) months later, 503 returned for follow-up clinical examination and 46 met criteria for incident dementia (45 with AD). Regional WMH and relative hippocampal volumes were derived. Three Cox proportional hazards models were run to predict incident dementia, controlling for relevant variables. The first included all WMH measurements; the second included relative hippocampal volume; and the third combined the two measurements.
Main outcome measures
Incident Alzheimer’s disease.
White matter hyperintensity volume in the parietal lobe predicted time to incident dementia (HR=1.194, p=0.031). Relative hippocampal volume did not predict incident dementia when considered alone (HR=0.419, p=0.768) or with the WMH measures included in the model (HR=0.302, p=0.701). Including hippocampal volume in the model did not notably alter the predictive utility of parietal lobe WMH (HR=1.197, p=0.049).
The findings highlight the regional specificity of the association of WMH with AD. It is not clear whether parietal WMH solely represent a marker for cerebrovascular burden or point to distinct injury compared to other regions. Future work should elucidate pathogenic mechanisms linking WMH and AD pathology.
PMCID: PMC3597387  PMID: 22945686
Alzheimer’s disease; MRI; cerebrovascular disease; hippocampus
2.  Telephone-based identification of MCI and dementia in a multicultural cohort 
Archives of neurology  2011;68(5):607-614.
Telephone-based interviews can be used for screening and to obtain key study outcomes when participants in longitudinal studies die or cannot be seen in person, but must be validated among ethnically and educationally diverse people.
The sample consisted of 377 (31% non-Hispanic white, 35% non-Hispanic black, and 34% Caribbean Hispanic) older adults. The validation standard was diagnosis of dementia and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) based on in-person evaluation. The Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status (TICS) and the Dementia Questionnaire (DQ) were administered within the same assessment wave.
The sample included 256 (68%) people with normal cognition, 68 (18%) with MCI, and 53 (14%) with dementia. Validity of the TICS was comparable among non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, and Hispanics, but the DQ had better discrimination of dementia from those without dementia and with MCI among Whites than other groups. Telephone measures discriminated best when used to differentiate demented from nondemented participants (sensitivity/specificity for the TICS = 88%/87%; DQ = 66%/89%) and when used to differentiate cognitively normal participants from those with cognitive impairment (i.e., MCI and demented combined; sensitivity/specificity for the TICS = 73%/77%; DQ = 49%/82%). When demographics and prior memory test performance were used to calculate pre-test probability, consideration of the telephone measures significantly improved diagnostic validity.
The TICS has high diagnostic validity for identification of dementia among ethnically diverse older adults, especially when supported by the DQ and prior visit data. However, telephone interview data were unable to reliably distinguish MCI from normal cognition.
PMCID: PMC3102767  PMID: 21555635
3.  Longterm blood pressure fluctuation and cerebrovascular disease in an elderly cohort 
Archives of neurology  2010;67(5):564-569.
To determine the association of blood pressure (BP) level and longterm fluctuation in BP with cerebrovascular disease.
Participants received structural MRI and BP measurements in 3, 24 month intervals prior to scanning. We derived the mean and standard deviation (SD) of the mean BP for each participant over the 3 intervals and divided them into four groups defined as above and below the group median (≤ 96.48 mmHg or >96.48mmHg) and further subdivided by the median standard deviation (below SD ≤ 7.21 mmHg or above SD > 7.21 mmHg). This scheme yielded four groups representing the full range of BP and fluctuations in BP. We examined differences in white matter hyperintensity (WMH) volume and brain infarctions across these groups.
The Washington Heights-Inwood Columbia Aging Project, a community-based epidemiological study of older adults from northern Manhattan.
686 non-demented older adults who received structural MRI and had BP measurements over three study visits.
WMH volume increased across the four groups in a linear fashion with the lowest WMH volume in the lowest mean/lowest SD group and the highest in the highest mean/highest SD group (F(3,610)=27.43, p=0.0017). Frequency of infarction also increased monotonically across groups (from 22% to 41%; p-for-trend=0.004).
Compared to individuals with low BP with low fluctuations in BP, the risk of cerebrovascular disease increases with increasing BP and BP fluctuation. Given that cerebrovascular disease is associated with disability, findings suggest that interventions should focus on longterm fluctuating BP as well as elevated BP.
PMCID: PMC2917204  PMID: 20457955
blood pressure; cerebrovascular disease; white matter hyperintensities
4.  A Summary Risk Score for the Prediction of Alzheimer Disease in Elderly Persons 
Archives of neurology  2010;67(7):835-841.
To develop a simple summary risk score for the prediction of Alzheimer disease in elderly persons based on their vascular risk profiles.
A longitudinal, community-based study.
New York, New York.
One thousand fifty-one Medicare recipients aged 65 years or older and residing in New York who were free of dementia or cognitive impairment at baseline.
Main Outcome Measures
We separately explored the associations of several vascular risk factors with late-onset Alzheimer disease (LOAD) using Cox proportional hazards models to identify factors that would contribute to the risk score. Then we estimated the score values of each factor based on their βcoefficients and created the LOAD vascular risk score by summing these individual scores.
Risk factors contributing to the risk score were age, sex, education, ethnicity, APOE ε4 genotype, history of diabetes, hypertension or smoking, high-density lipoprotein levels, and waist to hip ratio. The resulting risk score predicted dementia well. According to the vascular risk score quintiles, the risk to develop probable LOAD was 1.0 for persons with a score of 0 to 14 and increased 3.7-fold for persons with a score of 15 to 18, 3.6-fold for persons with a score of 19 to 22, 12.6-fold for persons with a score of 23 to 28, and 20.5-fold for persons with a score higher than 28.
While additional studies in other populations are needed to validate and further develop the score, our study suggests that this vascular risk score could be a valuable tool to identify elderly individuals who might be at risk of LOAD. This risk score could be used to identify persons at risk of LOAD, but can also be used to adjust for confounders in epidemiologic studies.
PMCID: PMC3068839  PMID: 20625090
5.  Association of Higher Levels of High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol in Elderly Individuals and Lower Risk of Late-Onset Alzheimer Disease 
Archives of neurology  2010;67(12):1491-1497.
To reexamine the association of lipid levels with Alzheimer disease (AD) using Cox proportional hazards models.
Prospective cohort study.
Northern Manhattan, New York.
One thousand one hundred thirty elderly individuals free of cognitive impairment at baseline.
Main Outcome Measure
High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels.
Higher levels of HDL-C (>55 mg/dL) were associated with a decreased risk of both probable and possible AD and probable AD compared with lower HDL-C levels (hazard ratio, 0.4; 95% confidence interval, 0.2–0.9; P=.03 and hazard ratio, 0.4; 95% confidence interval, 0.2–0.9; P=.03). In addition, higher levels of total and non–HDL-C were associated with a decreased risk of AD in analyses adjusting for age, sex, education, ethnic group, and APOEe4 genotype.
High HDL-C levels in elderly individuals may be associated with a decreased risk of AD.
PMCID: PMC3065942  PMID: 21149810
6.  Validity of self-reported Stroke in elderly African Americans, Caribbean Hispanics and Caucasians 
Archives of neurology  2009;66(7):834-840.
Background and Objective
The validity of a self-reported stroke remains inconclusive. The objective of the present study was to validate the diagnosis of self-reported stroke using stroke identified by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the standard.
Design and Setting
Community-based cohort study of non-demented, ethnically diverse elderly in northern Manhattan.
High-resolution quantitative MRI was acquired on 717 participants without dementia. Sensitivity and specificity of stroke by self-report were examined using cross-sectional analyses and the χ2-test. Putative relations between factors potentially influencing the reporting of stroke, including memory performance, cognitive function and vascular risk factors were assessed using logistic regression models. Subsequently all analyses were repeated stratified by age, sex, ethnic group and level of education.
In analyses for the whole sample, sensitivity of stroke self-report for a diagnosis of stroke on MRI was 32.4% and specificity was 78.9%. In analyses stratified by median of age (80.1 years), the validity between reported stroke and detection of stroke on MRI was significantly better in the younger than the older age group (for all vascular territories: sensitivity: 36.7% (specificity 81.3%) vs. sensitivity 27.6% (specificity: 26.2%), p=0.02). Impaired memory, cognitive or language ability, and the presence of hypertension or myocardial infarction were associated with higher false-negatives.
Using brain MRI as the standard, specificity and sensitivity of stroke self-report are low. Accuracy of self-report is influenced by age, presence of vascular disease and cognitive function. In stroke research, sensitive neuroimaging techniques rather than stroke self-report should be used to determine stroke history.
PMCID: PMC2881576  PMID: 19433651
7.  Brain morphology in elderly African Americans, Caribbean Hispanics, and Caucasians from Northern Manhattan 
Archives of neurology  2008;65(8):1053-1061.
To examine the impact of age, sex, ethnicity, and vascular disease on measures of brain morphology, including relative brain volume, ventricle volume, hippocampus and entorhinal cortex volume, and white matter hyperintensity (WMH) burden in a large community-based cohort of non-demented, ethnically diverse older adults.
Beginning in 2003, high-resolution quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was acquired on 769 participants without dementia. The relations of age, sex, self reported vascular disease history, and ethnicity, with brain morphology was examined in a cross-sectional study using multiple linear regression analyses. Sex and ethnicity interactions were also considered.
The Washington Heights/Hamilton Heights Aging Project (WHICAP), a community-based epidemiological study of older adults from three ethnic groups (i.e., Caucasian, Hispanic, African American) from northern Manhattan.
Main outcome measures
Relative brain volume (absolute brain volume/cranial volume), ventricular volume, hippocampus and entorhinal cortex volumes were derived manually on high-resolution MRI scans. White matter hyperintensities were quantified semi-automatically on FLAIR-weighted MRI.
Increased age was associated with decreased relative brain volume and increased ventricular and WMH volume. Hispanic and African American participants had larger relative brain volumes and more severe WMH burden than Caucasians, but their associations with age were similar across ethnic groups. Compared with men, women had larger relative brain volumes. Vascular disease was associated with smaller relative brain volume and higher WMH burden, particularly among African Americans.
Increased age and vascular disease particularly among African Americans are associated with increased brain atrophy and WMH burden. African American and Hispanic participants have larger relative brain volumes and more WMH than Caucasians. Ethnic group differences in WMH severity appear to be partially attributable to differences in vascular disease. Future work will focus on the determinants and cognitive correlates of these differences.
PMCID: PMC2692286  PMID: 18695055

Results 1-7 (7)