- •We examine MRI cerebral microbleeds in a large multi-ethnic cohort of older adults.
- •Twenty-seven percent of participants had detectable microbleeds.
- •Deep and lobar microbleeds were associated with vascular risk and cerebrovascular disease.
Microbleeds, small perivascular collections of hemosiderin manifested radiologically as hypointensities on gradient-echo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), are important markers of small vessel pathology. Despite their clinical relevance, little is known about their prevalence and demographic correlates, particularly among ethnically diverse older adults. We examined demographic and clinical correlates of regional microbleeds in a multi-ethnic cohort and examined categorization schemes of microbleed distribution and severity.
Between 2005 and 2007, 769 individuals participated in a MRI study as part of the Washington Heights/Inwood Columbia Aging Project. Approximately four years later, 243 out of 339 participants (mean age = 84.50) who returned for a repeat MRI had gradient-echo scans for microbleed assessment and comprised the sample. We examined the association of deep and lobar microbleeds with age, sex, education, vascular factors, cognitive status and markers of small vessel disease.
Sixty-seven of the 243 (27%) participants had at least one microbleed. Individuals with microbleeds were more likely to have a history of stroke than individuals without. When categorized as having either no microbleeds, microbleeds in deep regions only, in lobar regions only, and both deep and lobar microbleeds, hypertension, proportion of strokes, and white matter hyperintensity volume (WMH) increased monotonically across the four groups. The number of lobar microbleeds correlated with WMH volume and diastolic blood pressure.
Microbleeds in deep and lobar locations are associated with worse outcomes than microbleeds in either location alone, although the presence of lobar microbleeds appears to be more clinically relevant.
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Published online: July 17, 2014
Accepted: July 10, 2014
Received in revised form: June 16, 2014
Received: April 20, 2014
© 2014 Elsevier B.V. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.