Clinical correlates of cerebral white matter hyperintensities in cognitively normal older adults

Luke Williams, Charles Hutchinson, Alan Jackson, Michael Horan, Maureen Jones, Lynn McInnes, Patrick Rabbitt, Neil Pendleton

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Many research studies have demonstrated asymptomatic white matter hyperintensities (WMHs) in older adults, which are postulated to be ischemic in origin. We hypothesized that certain clinical predictors, measured in a population of healthy older adults, would have a positive relationship with WMH scoring on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). As part of a longitudinal study of cognitive aging we have performed MRI on healthy older adults. In a group of 46 volunteers (25 females; median age 73, range 63–84 years), we have calculated of the Hachinski score and Framingham Stroke Risk Profile (FSRP). Volunteers also provided self-reported health information using the Cornell Medical Index (CMI). These were compared against the total Age Related White Matter Changes (ARWMC) score. The mean total ARWMC score was 7.4 ± 5.27 (±S.D.) and only 3 (6.5%) individuals had no evidence of WMH. Regression analysis of individual variables identified self-report of cardiovascular disease from the CMI, section C as the only significant predictor of ARWMC. A multivariate linear regression model also identified FSRP at 1 year as a second independently significant predictor. The multivariate model accounted for 19% of the variance in total ARWMC score. The only 6.5% of individuals who had no WMH is in keeping with previous studies. The important finding was the positive relationship with self-reported cardiovascular disease, which is a possible biomarker of sub-clinical cerebrovascular disease (CVD).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-131
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010


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