Methodology for measuring cerebrovascular disease burden

Int Rev Psychiatry. 2006 Oct;18(5):409-22. doi: 10.1080/09540260600935413.


Biological aging of the brain is partly attributable to aging of the cerebrovascular circulation and the effects of these vascular changes on the brain. A variety of techniques ranging from simple, clinical scores to complex radiological techniques have been used in an attempt to understand, describe and quantify this process. Simultaneously attempts have been made to relate these changes to cognitive and physical changes and the risk of dementia and stroke associated with brain aging. The most frequently used clinical scores are the Framingham Stroke Risk Profile and the Hachinski Ischemic Score for vascular dementia. Radiological techniques to estimate cerebrovascular burden include many varieties of ultrasonographic, computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and nuclear medicine techniques. The radiological techniques evaluate the nature and extent of disease in the vessels supplying the brain and the pattern and extent of radiological evidence of damage to the brain both on static and dynamic imaging and are briefly outlined in this review. There are several studies using these techniques to study 'normal' aging populations, and the techniques used in the most widely known of these studies are briefly highlighted in this review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler