Cognitive dysfunction and white matter abnormalities in antiphospholipid syndrome

Pathophysiology. 2011 Feb;18(1):93-102. doi: 10.1016/j.pathophys.2010.04.010. Epub 2010 May 15.


Diagnosis of the antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) requires that a patient have both a clinical event (thrombosis or pregnancy loss) and persistently positive antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL). Although stroke and transient ischemic attack are the most common neurologic manifestations of APS, both cognitive dysfunction and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) white matter hyperintensities can occur in aPL-positive patients (with or without APS). Relatively little is known about the cognitive pattern in aPL-positive patients; MRI white matter hyperintensities may be related to underlying attentional and executive cognitive impairment. Studies with sophisticated neuroimaging techniques aimed to better understand MRI white matter hyperintensities may eventually facilitate our understanding of cognitive dysfunction in aPL-positive patients.