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Stroke. 2004 Aug;35(8):1857-61. Epub 2004 Jun 24.

Stroke risk profile predicts white matter hyperintensity volume: the Framingham Study.

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Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.



Previous studies of cardiovascular risk factors and white matter hyperintensity (WMH) on brain MRI have been limited by the failure to exclude symptomatic cerebrovascular disease and dementia or by the use of semiquantitative rather than quantitative methods to measure WMH volume (WMHV). We examined the relationship between Framingham Stroke Risk Profile (FSRP) and WMHV measured quantitatively in a stroke and dementia-free subset of the Framingham Offspring Cohort.


Brain MRI was performed in 1814 members of the Framingham Offspring Cohort. Pixel-based quantitative measures of WMHV corrected for head size were obtained using a semiautomated algorithm. WMHV was not normally distributed and therefore was log-transformed (LWMHV). The FSRP and its component risk factors measured a mean of 7.5 years before MRI were related to both continuous measures of LWMHV and to the presence of large volumes of LWMHV (LWMHV-large). All analyses were adjusted for age and sex.


FSRP was strongly associated with LWMHV and LWMHV-large. Age, smoking, history of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and left ventricular hypertrophy by electrocardiogram were all significantly related to LWMHV or LWMHV-large.


FSRP and several cardiovascular risk factors were related to both WMHV measured continuously and to a categorical designation of large volumes of WMH. These findings provide strong evidence of a vascular basis for WMH.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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