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J Neurol Sci. 2007 Jun 15;257(1-2):166-73. Epub 2007 Mar 12.

Cognitive and functional impairment in hypertensive brain microangiopathy.

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  • 1Department of Critical Care Medicine and Surgery, Unit of Gerontology and Geriatrics, University of Florence and Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Careggi, Florence, Italy.


Brain microangiopathy, whose neuroimaging expression is represented by age-related white matter changes (ARWMC), is largely due to hypertension and it is, in turn, responsible for geriatric syndromes, including decline in cognitive, functional and motor/gait abilities. This review analyzes the link between hypertension and ARWMC, as well as the complex relationships between ARWMC and cognitive impairment, executive dysfunction, and movement/gait abnormalities. The available evidence supports the hypothesis that these functional consequences of ARWMC are responsible for substantial disability in the elderly. Thus, adequate treatment of hypertension may represent a feasible way to reduce the burden of disability in late life.

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