MR imaging unveils one source of dementia

November 2, 2005

Debate on the association between dementia and cerebrovascular disease is as old as imaging itself. Although the causes of dementia are multiple, some imagers consider cerebrovascular disease to be one of the most relevant.

Debate on the association between dementia and cerebrovascular disease is as old as imaging itself. Although the causes of dementia are multiple, some imagers consider cerebrovascular disease to be one of the most relevant.

Dr. Aart Spilt and colleagues at the University Medical Center of Leiden in the Netherlands explored the connection between structural brain damage and total cerebral blood flow. They prospectively enrolled 17 elderly patients with late-onset dementia, 16 subjects of the same age with normal cognitive function, and 15 young healthy controls. The study appeared in the September issue of Radiology.

Using MRI, the group found that elderly individuals with dementia exhibited significantly more structural brain damage and lower cerebral blood flow than normal subjects, even among the elderly.

"Clinicians should be aware that hypotension, as well as hypertension, needs to be prevented to diminish the periods with low cerebral blood flow," Spilt said.