Cerebral small vessel disease (SVD) contributes to cognitive impairment and dementia. SVD may affect veins, but veins are difficult to detect with 1.5 and 3T MRI. We compared deep medullary veins (DMVs) visualized on 7T-MRI between patients with early Alzheimer's disease (eAD; n = 17) or amnestic MCI (aMCI; n = 12) and controls (n = 40). The number and density of DMVs was similar in patients and controls, but tortuosity was higher in eAD (Cohen's d = 0.7, 95% CI: 0.1-1.2, p = 0.02) and aMCI (Cohen's d = 0.8, 95% CI: 0.2-1.5, p = 0.01), independent of brain atrophy. Venous changes provide a new perspective on vascular involvement in dementia.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; cerebral small vessel disease; cerebral veins; magnetic resonance imaging.