White Matter Hyperintensities in Older Adults and Motoric Cognitive Risk Syndrome

Joanna L. Mergeche, Joe Verghese, Gilles Allali, Cuiling Wang, Olivier Beauchet, V.G. Pradeep Kumar, P.S.Mathuranath, Jennifer Yuan and Helena M. Blumen


Introduction: Motoric cognitive risk (MCR) syndrome is a recently described pre-dementia syndrome characterized by slow gait and cognitive complaints that has been implicated as a predictor of cognitive decline and dementia in older adults. Previous work suggests that cerebrovascular disease is associated with MCR. White matter hyperintensities (WMH) are postulated to be a product of cerebrovascular disease, and have been associated with impaired mobility and impaired cognition. This study aimed to determine if MCR is associated with regional WMH.
Methods: Two cross-cultural cohorts of non-demented older adults were examined: 174 from a French memory clinic (62.1% male, mean age 70.7 ± 4.3 years) and 184 from an Indian community-dwelling cohort (55.4% male, mean age 66.2 ± 5.2 years). Participants were evaluated for slow gait, cognitive complaints, and regional WMH via MRI (fluid attenuated inversion recovery) FLAIR sequence.
Results: Overall, 20.7% of participants met criteria for MCR, and 72.9% of participants had WMH on FLAIR. WMH in the frontal, parieto-occipital, temporal, basal ganglia, cerebellum, or brainstem were not associated with MCR in either of the two cohorts.
Conclusion: WMH was not significantly associated with MCR in this studied sample of participants, suggesting that other cerebrovascular pathophysiological mechanisms, or combination of mechanisms, might underlie MCR.

Published on: November 03, 2016
doi: 10.17756/jnpn.2016-009
Citation:  Mergeche JL, Verghese J, Allali G, Wang C, Beauchet O, et al. 2016. White Matter Hyperintensities in Older Adults and Motoric Cognitive Risk Syndrome.. J Neuroimaging Psychiatry Neurol 1(2): 73-78.