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Neuroimage. 2010 Feb 1;49(3):2083-93. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.10.035. Epub 2009 Oct 19.

Multiple indicators of age-related differences in cerebral white matter and the modifying effects of hypertension.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, School for Mental Health and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

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  • Neuroimage. 2010 Nov 1;53(2):800.


We investigated differences associated with age and hypertension, a common risk factor for vascular disease, in three aspects of white matter integrity--gross regional volumes of the white matter, volume of the white matter hyperintensities (WMH) and diffusion properties. We acquired MRI scans on 93 adult volunteers (age 50-77 years; 36 with diagnosis of hypertension or elevated blood pressure), and obtained all measures in seven brain regions: frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital white matter, and the genu, body and splenium of the corpus callosum. The results demonstrated robust age-related differences in diffusion-based indices of cerebral white matter integrity and age-related increase in the WMH volume, but no age differences in the gross regional volumes of the white matter. Hypertension was associated with decline in fractional anisotropy, and exacerbated age differences in fractional anisotropy more than those in the volume of WMH. These findings indicate that of all examined measures, diffusion-based indices of white matter integrity may be the most sensitive indicators of global and regional declines and vascular damage in the aging brain.

Copyright (c) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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