Cerebrovascular disease (CVD) is a major cause of age-related cognitive decline and dementia. The identification of cognitive-related cerebrovascular markers is crucial in the early detection of individuals at high risk of cognitive decline. In vivo markers of CVD can help to characterize the underlying pathology, stage the progression of the disease, as well as identify and monitor candidates who could benefit from preventive interventions. We review the most common cerebrovascular markers of cognitive decline in subclinical individuals. These include neuroimaging, sonographic, and blood markers.
Ischemic stroke can lead to a continuum of cognitive sequelae, ranging from mild vascular cognitive impairment to vascular dementia. These cognitive deficits can be influenced by the disruption of cortico-subcortical circuits. We sought to explore remote thalamic microstructural abnormalities and their association with cognitive function after ischemic stroke.
The contribution of traditional vascular risk factors to cognitive impairment and dementia is well known. However, in order to obtain possible targets for prevention of vascular cognitive impairment (VCI), it may be important to identify other early and noninvasive markers in asymptomatic middle-aged adults. The calculation of middle cerebral artery-pulsatility index (MCA-PI) is an ultrasonologic, noninvasive, validated and easily reproducible technique to assess increased distal resistance to blood flow. This study aims to assess the relationship between MCA-PI, microstructural white matter (WM) integrity and cognition in a middle-aged asymptomatic population.
After stroke, white matter integrity can be affected both locally and distally to the primary lesion location. It has been shown that tract disruption in mirror's regions of the contralateral hemisphere is associated with degree of functional impairment. Fourteen patients suffering right hemispheric focal stroke (S) and eighteen healthy controls (HC) underwent Diffusion Weighted Imaging (DWI) and neuropsychological assessment. The stroke patient group was divided into poor (SP; n = 8) and good (SG; n = 6) cognitive recovery groups according to their cognitive improvement from the acute phase (72 hours after stroke) to the subacute phase (3 months post-stroke). Whole-brain DWI data analysis was performed by computing Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) followed by Tract Based Spatial Statistics (TBSS). Assessment of effects was obtained computing the correlation of the projections on TBSS skeleton of Fractional Anisotropy (FA) and Radial Diffusivity (RD) with cognitive test results. Significant decrease of FA was found only in right brain anatomical areas for the S group when compared to the HC group. Analyzed separately, stroke patients with poor cognitive recovery showed additional significant FA decrease in several left hemisphere regions; whereas SG patients showed significant decrease only in the left genu of corpus callosum when compared to the HC. For the SG group, whole brain analysis revealed significant correlation between the performance in the Semantic Fluency test and the FA in the right hemisphere as well as between the performance in the Grooved Pegboard Test (GPT) and the Trail Making Test-part A and the FA in the left hemisphere. For the SP group, correlation analysis revealed significant correlation between the performance in the GPT and the FA in the right hemisphere.
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