(HealthDay News) – For elderly patients, vascular brain injury (VBI) is associated with lower cognitive performance, according to a study published online Feb. 11 in JAMA Neurology.

Natalie L. Marchant, PhD, from the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at the University of California in Berkeley, and colleagues examined the correlation between neuroimaging measures of VBI and brain amyloid-β deposition and their link with dementia. The study population included 30 clinically normal (mean age, 77.1 years), 24 cognitively impaired (mean age, 78 years), and seven mildly demented (mean age, 79.8 years) elderly adults with elevated vascular disease risk factors.

The researchers found that, in both normal and cognitively impaired participants, VBI and amyloid-β were independent. In all domains, infarction, particularly in cortical and subcortical gray matter, correlated with significantly lower cognitive performance. Pittsburgh Compound B positivity did not significantly predict cognition or interact with VBI.

“In this elderly sample with normal cognition to mild dementia, enriched for vascular disease, VBI was more influential than amyloid-β in contemporaneous cognitive function and remained predictive after including the possible influence of amyloid-β,” the authors write. “This finding highlights the importance of VBI in mild cognitive impairment and suggests that the impact of cerebrovascular disease should be considered with respect to defining the etiology of mild cognitive impairment.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and biomedical industries.

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