Brain arterial dilatation and the risk of Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimers Dement. 2019 May;15(5):666-674. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2018.12.018. Epub 2019 Mar 1.


Introduction: We tested the hypothesis that brain arterial dilatation increases the risk of Alzheimer's dementia (AD).

Methods: We studied dementia-free participants in the Washington Heights-Inwood Columbia Aging Project who had a brain MRI and post-MRI dementia adjudication. We measured the axial T2-proton density diameters of the intracranial carotids and basilar diameters and used Cox models to obtain AD hazard ratios and 95% intervals.

Results: Of 953 participants (mean age 77 ± 7 y, women 64%, 71% nonwhite) followed on average for 3 ± 3 years, 76 (8%) developed AD. In a model adjusted for demographics, vascular risks, apolipoprotein E (APOE)-ε4, and white matter hyperintensities, larger carotid diameters increased the risk of AD, defined categorically as ≥ 90th percentile (HR 4.34, 1.70-11.11) or continuously (HR 1.44 per SD, 1.07-1.94).

Discussion: Understanding the pathophysiology of the association between AD and brain arterial dilatation may reveal new clues to the vascular contributions to AD.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Brain arterial diameters; Brain arterial dilatation; Carotid artery; Dementia; Dolichoectasia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / blood
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology*
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carotid Arteries* / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Arteries* / physiopathology
  • Cerebral Arteries* / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Arteries* / physiopathology
  • Dilatation, Pathologic / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Risk Factors