Subclinical cognitive and neuropsychiatric correlates and hippocampal volume features of brain white matter hyperintensity in healthy people

Gianfranco Spalletta, Mariangela Iorio, Daniela Vecchio, Federica Piras, Valentina Ciullo, Nerisa Banaj, Stefano L. Sensi, Walter Gianni, Francesca Assogna, Carlo Caltagirone, Fabrizio Piras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

White matter hyperintensities (WMH) are associated with brain aging and behavioral symptoms as a possible consequence of disrupted white matter pathways. In this study, we investigated, in a cohort of asymptomatic subjects aged 50 to 80, the relationship between WMH, hippocampal atrophy, and subtle, preclinical cognitive and neuropsychiatric phenomenology. Thirty healthy subjects with WMH (WMH+) and thirty individuals without (WMH−) underwent comprehensive neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric evaluations and 3 Tesla Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan. The presence, degree of severity, and distribution of WMH were evaluated with a semi-automated algorithm. Volumetric analysis of hippocampal structure was performed through voxel-based morphometry. A multivariable logistic regression analysis indicated that phenomenology of subclinical apathy and anxiety was associated with the presence of WMH. ROI-based analyses showed a volume reduction in the right hippocampus of WMH+. In healthy individuals, WMH are associated with significant preclinical neuropsychiatric phenomenology, as well as hippocampal atrophy, which are considered as risk factors to develop cognitive impairment and dementia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number172
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Personalized Medicine
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Apathy
  • Elderly subjects
  • Hippocampus
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Small vessel disease
  • White matter hyperintensities (WMH)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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