Cerebral microbleeds and cognition in patients with symptomatic small vessel disease

Stroke; a Journal of Cerebral Circulation
Bhavini PatelHugh S Markus


Cerebral microbleeds (CMBs) are common in cerebral small vessel disease. They may cause cognitive impairment, possibly via white matter tract disruption but previous studies have produced inconsistent results. We determined whether CMB number and location are associated with impaired cognition in symptomatic small vessel disease and whether any association was independent of other magnetic resonance imaging markers of small vessel disease. One hundred sixteen patients with lacunar stroke and radiological leukoaraiosis were studied. Neuropsychological assessment was performed. CMBs on gradient echo images were assessed using the Brain Observer Microbleed Rating Scale criteria. Magnetic resonance imaging measures, including diffusion tensor imaging, were also analyzed. Associations between cognitive function and the presence, number, and location of CMBs were determined. CMBs were present in 46 (39.7%) patients. CMB number correlated weakly with executive function (r=0.22; P=0.022) but not with other cognitive indices. CMBs count in the top decile (≥ 9 CMB, N=12) was more strongly associated with poor executive function; this association remained significant after controlling for T2-lesion load, brain volume, lacune count, and me...Continue Reading


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