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Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen. 2013 Sep;28(6):551-9. doi: 10.1177/1533317513494457. Epub 2013 Jun 28.

Vascular risk factors: a ticking time bomb to Alzheimer's disease.

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Department of Psychology, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712, USA.


Evidence is growing that vascular risk factors (VRFs) for Alzheimer's disease (AD) affect cerebral hemodynamics to launch a cascade of cellular and molecular changes that initiate cognitive deficits and eventual progression of AD. Neuroimaging studies have reported VRFs for AD to be accurate predictors of cognitive decline and dementia. In regions that participate in higher cognitive function, middle temporal, posterior cingulate, inferior parietal and precuneus regions, and neuroimaging studies indicate an association involving VRFs, cerebral hypoperfusion, and cognitive decline in elderly individuals who develop AD. The VRF can be present in cognitively intact individuals for decades before mild cognitive deficits or neuropathological signs are manifested. In that sense, they may be "ticking time bombs" before cognitive function is demolished. Preventive intervention of modifiable VRF may delay or block progression of AD. Intervention could target cerebral blood flow (CBF), since most VRFs act to lower CBF in aging individuals by promoting cerebrovascular dysfunction.


Alzheimer’s; aging; cerebral blood flow; hypoperfusion; neuroimaging; vascular risk factors

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