Using a beta-permanent magnet (Fonar 3000), we evaluated magnetic resonance imaging of periventricular hyperintensity (PVH) patterns in 60 patients (59 white, 58 men) from the Veterans Administration Hospital, North Chicago, Ill. Eighty percent of the patients had evidence of PVH, which increased significantly in patients older than age 50 years. In addition to age, history of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and extracranial malignancy showed a significant association with PVH. A linear correlation was observed between the severity of PVH and an abnormal neurologic examination. In this retrospective, uncontrolled study, we concluded that PVH incidence among white men is high and increases with age or the presence of cardiovascular disease or extracranial malignancy. The degree of PVH positively correlates with abnormal neurologic evaluation and additional abnormalities seen on magnetic resonance imaging. However, the disease-related specificity is as yet undetermined.