Changes in an in-vivo classifier of ARTerioloSclerosis (ARTS) with simultaneous change in cognition for older African Americans

Neurobiol Aging. 2024 Feb:134:21-27. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2023.11.003. Epub 2023 Nov 8.


At autopsy, African American decedents often have mixed Alzheimer's and cerebrovascular brain pathologies including arteriolosclerosis. We applied a novel in-vivo classifier of ARTerioloSclerosis (ARTS) in 167 older African Americans (∼75y of age) with > 2 biennial 3 T MRI scans and > 3 years of associated cognitive follow-up to determine if ARTS scores (higher score=higher likelihood of arteriolosclerosis) changed over time and if this change associated with changes in cognition in the same individuals. Mixed effects regression models tested whether ARTS scores increased over time, while simultaneous mixed effects regression models estimated the simultaneous rates of change in both ARTS and cognition and the correlation of these changes. ARTS scores increased over time (estimate=0.030, SE=0.002, p < 0.0001). Faster increases in ARTS were associated with faster rates of global cognitive decline (r = -0.447, p = 0.006) and domain-specific cognitive functions. Applying an in-vivo marker of arteriolosclerosis in an African American cohort revealed that the likelihood of arteriolosclerosis increases over time, and participants whose ARTS scores increased more rapidly tended to have faster than average rates of cognitive decline.

Keywords: African Americans; Arteriolosclerosis; Cognition; MRI; Simultaneous modeling.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Arteriolosclerosis* / pathology
  • Black or African American
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / diagnosis
  • Humans