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.
- Elderly subjects
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Small vessel disease
- White matter hyperintensities (WMH)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)