Background: Cerebrovascular disease is a major factor related to cognitive impairment. However, behavioral correlates of ischemic brain lesions are insufficiently characterized.
Objective: To examine magnetic resonance imaging correlates of dementia in a large, well-defined series of patients with ischemic stroke.
Methods: Detailed medical, neurological, and neuropsychological examinations were conducted 3 months after ischemic stroke for 337 of 486 consecutive patients aged 55 to 85 years. Infarcts (type, site, side, number, and volume), extent of white matter lesions (WMLs), and degree of atrophy were categorized according to magnetic resonance images of the head. The definition for dementia of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition (DSM-III) was used.
Results: Dementia was diagnosed in 107 (31.8%) of the patients and stroke-related dementia in 87 (25.8%). Volumes, numbers, distinct sites of infarcts, extent of WMLs, and degree of atrophy were different for the demented and nondemented subjects. Particularly, volumes of infarcts in any (right- or left-sided) superior middle cerebral artery territory (27.3 vs 13.7 cm(3), P =. 002) and left thalamocortical connection (14.8 vs 4.0 cm(3), P =. 002) differentiated the 2 groups. Logistic regression analysis showed that the correlates of any dementia included the combination of infarct features (volume of infarcts in any superior middle cerebral artery: odds ratio [OR], 1.11; frequency of left-sided infarcts: OR, 1.21), extent of WMLs (OR, 1.3), medial temporal lobe atrophy (OR, 2.1), and host factors (education; OR, 0.91). In the patients with stroke-related dementia, the main correlate was volume of infarcts in the left anterior corona radiata (OR, 1.68).
Conclusion: Correlates of poststroke dementia do not include merely 1 feature but a combination of infarct features, extent of WMLs, medial temporal lobe atrophy, and host features.