Incidental brain lesions on magnetic resonance imaging and neurobehavioral functions in the apparently healthy elderly.
Controversies exist whether incidental neuroradiological brain lesions in the elderly are associated with depressed neuropsychological function. To address this important issue in a cross-sectional study, we related brain lesions on magnetic resonance imaging to a variety of cognitive and neurobehavioral function tests in an independent, normal elderly population.
We studied 73 independent asymptomatic elderly individuals (mean +/- SD age 70 +/- 6 years) to determine the relations between degree of brain atrophy, location and number of "lacunes," and grade of periventricular hyperintense lesions with a variety of cognitive and neurobehavioral function scores.
We found that severity of neuroradiological changes increased while neuropsychological function scores declined with age. After adjustment for the effect of age, advanced periventricular hyperintensities, but not brain atrophy or patchy "lacunar" lesions, were associated with declines in all neuropsychological functions tested.
We conclude that incidental advanced periventricular diffuse or patchy white matter changes may play a role in the development of cognitive and neurobehavioral impairments in apparently normal elderly persons.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association