Cardiac autonomic dysfunction is associated with white matter lesions in patients with mild cognitive impairment

Samantha Galluzzi, Franco Nicosia, Cristina Geroldi, Alberto Alicandri, Matteo Bonetti, Giuseppe Romanelli, Roberto Zulli, Giovanni B. Frisoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BackgroundCardiac autonomic dysfunction has been associated with cognitive impairment, but the underlying pathogenesis is complex and cerebral white matter lesions (WMLs) might be implicated.MethodsTime and frequency heart rate variability (HRV) and visual rating of WMLs were carried out in 42 patients with mild cognitive impairment.ResultsAfter adjustment for relevant demographic and clinical characteristics, including left ventricular mass, reduced HRV indices of parasympathetic (root mean square of successive difference of RR intervals, RMSSD) and sympathetic modulation (low-frequency [LF] power) were associated with increased WML score (RMSSD: B-0.30, 95% CI-0.52 to-0.08, p =. 01; LF: B-0.24, 95% CI-0.46 to-0.02, p =. 05). In a multiple-adjusted model, RMSSD was the major independent predictor of WMLs (B-0.35, 95% CI-0.57 to-0.13, p =. 002).ConclusionThe evidence for an independent association of cardiac autonomic dysfunction with WMLs might suggest its role in the pathogenesis of WMLs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1312-1315
Number of pages4
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2009



  • Cardiac autonomic dysfunction
  • Heart rate variability
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • White matter lesions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Medicine(all)

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