Hyperintensities and fronto-subcortical atrophy on MRI are substrates of mild cognitive deficits after stroke

Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2003;16(2):113-8. doi: 10.1159/000070684.


Aim: The current study determines the MRI correlations of the early neuropsychological post-stroke cognitive deficits.

Method: Detailed neuropsychological assessments (attention and working memory) were undertaken in 50 stroke survivors >75 years of age [38 with ageing-associated cognitive decline (AACD)] and 15 age-matched controls. A 1.5-tesla General Electric MRI scanner was used. Standardized visual ratings were undertaken of white matter hyperintensities (WMH). Grey matter volumes were assessed using voxel-based morphometery.

Results: Associations were identified between processing speed and executive function and the severity of WMH in key areas. In addition, atrophy in the fronto-subcortical circuits was associated with AACD.

Conclusion: Attentional and executive impairments are underpinned by WMH in fronto-striato-thalamo-frontal circuits. Frontal atrophy is identified as a novel substrate of cognitive decline in stroke patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Atrophy
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Stroke / pathology*
  • Stroke / physiopathology