Microbleeds in Alzheimer's Disease: A Neuropsychological Overview and Meta-Analysis

The Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences. Le Journal Canadien Des Sciences Neurologiques
A A SepehryD Lang


The current literature on the role of brain microbleeds (MB) on the neuropsychological outcomes of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is heterogeneous. We therefore meta-analytically examined the neuropsychological literature pertaining to MBs in AD. Using a priori selected criteria, studies with cross-sectional neuropsychological assessment on MBs and AD were reviewed. Six of 122 studies met selection criteria and provided neuropsychological data on either AD with MB and without MB, or in contrast to healthy controls. The global neuropsychological difference between AD with MB and AD without MB based on random effect model was nonsignificant, heterogeneous, and small (Effect Size =-0.155; 95% confidence interval =-0.465 to 0.155; p value =0.326; Heterogenity: Q-value =12.744; degrees of freedom =5; p =0.026; I2 =61%). The contribution of MBs to cognitive deficits in AD remains unclear. Future studies of MB in AD should strive to use standardized neuroimaging techniques with high sensitivity for MB, a common standard for MB definition, and neuropsychological tests sensitive for detecting subtle cognitive impairment.


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Familial Alzheimer Disease (FAD)
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