Microstructure of Strategic White Matter Tracts and Cognition in Memory Clinic Patients with Vascular Brain Injury

J. Matthijs Biesbroek*, Alexander Leemans, Utrecht Vasc Cognitive Impairment, Hanna den Bakker, Marco Duering, Benno Gesierich, Huiberdina L. Koek, Esther van den Berg, Albert Postma, Geert Jan Biessels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: White matter injury is an important factor for cognitive impairment in memory clinic patients. We determined the added value of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) of strategic white matter tracts in explaining variance in cognition in memory clinic patients with vascular brain injury. Methods: We included 159 patients. Conventional MRI markers (white matter hyperintensity volume, lacunes, nonlacunar infarcts, brain atrophy, and microbleeds), and fractional anisotropy and mean diffusivity (MD) of the whole brain white matter and of 18 white matter tracts were related to cognition using linear regression and Bayesian network analysis. Results: On top of all conventional MRI markers combined, MD of the whole brain white matter explained an additional 3.4% (p = 0.014), 7.8% (p < 0.001), and 1.2% (p = 0.119) variance in executive functioning, speed, and memory, respectively. The Bayesian analyses of regional DTI measures identified strategic tracts for executive functioning (right superior longitudinal fasciculus), speed (left corticospinal tract), and memory (left uncinate fasciculus). MD within these tracts explained an additional 3.4% (p = 0.012), 3.8% (p = 0.007), and 2.1% (p = 0.041) variance in executive functioning, speed, and memory, respectively, on top of all conventional MRI and global DTI markers combined. Conclusion: In memory clinic patients with vascular brain injury, DTI of strategic white matter tracts has a significant added value in explaining variance in cognitive functioning. (c) 2018 The Author(s) Published by S. Karger AG, Basel

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-282
Number of pages15
JournalDementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders
Volume44
Issue number5-6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Sources:
The work of A. Leemans is supported by Vidi Grant 639.072.411 from the Netherlands Organisation for
Scientific Research (NWO). The work of G.J. Biessels is supported by grant 2010T073 from the Dutch Heart
Association and Vidi grant 91711384 from ZonMw, The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and
Development.

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