Ischemic leukoaraiosis is a consistent concomitant of vascular dementia. Conventional MRI provides little information about underlying white matter tract disruption and correlates poorly with cognitive dysfunction. Diffusion tensor MRI may provide better markers of tract integrity. Changes in the normal-appearing white matter were demonstrated in 30 patients with ischemic leukoaraiosis compared with 17 age-matched control subjects. These changes correlated with executive dysfunction assessed by the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test.