Silent Infarcts and Cerebral Microbleeds Modify the Associations of White Matter Lesions With Gait and Postural Stability
Background and Purpose—Although cerebral white matter lesions (WMLs), silent infarcts (SIs), and microbleeds (MBs) are individually associated with poorer gait and balance, it is unknown if they interact. We studied the interactions of WML volume with SI and MB on gait and postural stability.
Methods—Participants in a population-based study aged 60 to 86 years underwent brain MRI, computerized gait measurement, and a physiological profile assessment of postural stability. Segmentation procedures and standard rating methods were used to measure WML, SI, and MB. Linear regression was used to test interactions between lesions on gait and postural stability, adjusting for age, sex, and total intracranial volume.
Results—There were 395 participants (mean age, 72 years; SD, 7.0). SIs were predominantly located in subcortical frontal white matter and in deep gray structures, and MBs were largely lobar. Participants with SI or MB had higher WML volumes than those without (P<0.001 and P=0.05, respectively). The presence of SI (P for interaction=0.01) or MB (P for interaction <0.01) magnified the adverse association of WML volume with gait. SI (P for interaction=0.02), but not MB, magnified the adverse association of WML volume with postural stability.
Conclusions—Subclinical cerebrovascular lesions are adversely associated with gait and postural stability in older people in a cumulative fashion.
- Received December 5, 2011.
- Revision received February 9, 2012.
- Accepted February 10, 2012.
- © 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.