Functional Consequences of Subcortical White Matter Lesions and MRI-Defined Brain Infarct in an Elderly General Population

Baune, BT; Schmidt, WP; Roesler, A; Berger, K; (2009) Functional Consequences of Subcortical White Matter Lesions and MRI-Defined Brain Infarct in an Elderly General Population. Journal of geriatric psychiatry and neurology, 22 (4). pp. 266-273. ISSN 0891-9887 DOI:

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The impact of single and combined effects of subcortical white matter lesions (WMLs) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-defined brain infarct on activities of daily living (ADL), depression, and health status perception was analyzed in community-dwelling elderly individuals. The study included 268 participants from the Memory and Morbidity in Augsburg Elderly (MEMO) project, a population-based study on individuals aged 65 to 83 years, conducted in Augsburg, Germany. Cerebral MRI was performed, and 2 geriatric performance tests, scales to assess ADL, depressive symptoms, and self-perceived health status were assessed. The prevalence of large (>10 mm) subcortical WML was 37.7% and of MRI-defined infarct-like lesions was 15.3%. Both vascular lesion types combined were found in 9% of the participants. Large WMLs were associated with significantly more impairments in basic ADL, inferior results in the performance tests, and a worse self-perceived health status compared to those without large WML. Magnetic resonance imaging-defined brain infarct was associated with impairments in performance tests. Participants with both lesion types were limited in all domains and were 2 to 3 times more likely to have impairments in all examined functions. Their risk of impairment in a specific function was considerably higher than the sum of the single risks associated with each lesion type alone. This study suggests that the single and especially the combined occurrence of common vascular brain lesions are associated with functional impairment. Identifying individuals with severe WML combined with MRI-defined brain infarct can help better understand the development of marked impairments in old age.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: white matter lesions, atrophy, lacunar infarctions, aging, ADL, impairment, older-people, cognitive impairment, interobserver agreement, depressive, symptoms, rotterdam-scan, stroke, hypertension, health, disease, ladis
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Disease Control
PubMed ID: 19690323
Web of Science ID: 271867200007


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