The adverse effects of reduced cerebral perfusion on cognition and brain structure in older adults with cardiovascular disease

Michael L. Alosco, John Gunstad, Beth A. Jerskey, Xiaomeng Xu, Uraina S. Clark, Jason Hassenstab, Denise M. Cote, Edward G. Walsh, Donald R. Labbe, Richard Hoge, Ronald A. Cohen, Lawrence H. Sweet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: It is well established that aging and vascular processes interact to disrupt cerebral hemodynamics in older adults. However, the independent effects of cerebral perfusion on neurocognitive function among older adults remain poorly understood. We examined the associations among cerebral perfusion, cognitive function, and brain structure in older adults with varying degrees of vascular disease using perfusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) arterial spin labeling (ASL). Materials and methods: 52 older adults underwent neuroimaging and were administered the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS), and measures of attention/executive function. ASL and T1-weighted MRI were used to quantify total brain perfusion, total brain volume (TBV), and cortical thickness. Results: Regression analyses showed reduced total brain perfusion was associated with poorer performance on the MMSE, RBANS total index, immediate and delayed memory composites, and Trail Making Test B. Reduced frontal lobe perfusion was associated with worse executive and memory function. A similar pattern emerged between temporal lobe perfusion and immediate memory. Regression analyses revealed that decreased total brain perfusion was associated with smaller TBV and mean cortical thickness. Regional effects of reduced total cerebral perfusion were found on temporal and parietal lobe volumes and frontal and temporal cortical thickness. Discussion: Reduced cerebral perfusion is independently associated with poorer cognition, smaller TBV, and reduced cortical thickness in older adults. Conclusion: Prospective studies are needed to clarify patterns of cognitive decline and brain atrophy associated with cerebral hypoperfusion. Aging and vascular processes interact to disrupt cerebral hemodynamics in older adults. The current study used ASL imaging to show that reduced cerebral perfusion is independently associated with poorer cognition, smaller TBV, and reduced cortical thickness in older adults. Prospective studies are needed to clarify patterns of cognitive decline and brain atrophy associated with cerebral hypoperfusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)626-636
Number of pages11
JournalBrain and Behavior
Volume3
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2013

Keywords

  • Arterial spin labeling
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cerebral blood flow
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Cognitive function
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Neuroimaging

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