White matter hyperintensity regression: Comparison of brain atrophy and cognitive profiles with progression and stable groups


Journal Article

© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Subcortical white matter hyperintensities (WMHs) in the aging population frequently represent vascular injury that may lead to cognitive impairment. WMH progression is well described, but the factors underlying WMH regression remain poorly understood. A sample of 351 participants from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative 2 (ADNI2) was explored who had WMH volumetric quantification, structural brain measures, and cognitive measures (memory and executive function) at baseline and after approximately 2 years. Selected participants were categorized into three groups based on WMH change over time, including those that demonstrated regression (n = 96; 25.5%), stability (n = 72; 19.1%), and progression (n = 209; 55.4%). There were no significant differences in age, education, sex, or cognitive status between groups. Analysis of variance demonstrated significant differences in atrophy between the progression and both regression (p = 0.004) and stable groups (p = 0.012). Memory assessments improved over time in the regression and stable groups but declined in the progression group (p = 0.003; p = 0.018). WMH regression is associated with decreased brain atrophy and improvement in memory performance over two years compared to those with WMH progression, in whom memory and brain atrophy worsened. These data suggest that WMHs are dynamic and associated with changes in atrophy and cognition.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Al-Janabi, OM; Bauer, CE; Goldstein, LB; Murphy, RR; Bahrani, AA; Smith, CD; Wilcock, DM; Gold, BT; Jicha, GA

Published Date

  • July 1, 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 9 / 7

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2076-3425

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3390/brainsci9070170

Citation Source

  • Scopus