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Title: Age-related white matter changes in patients with TIA and stroke : population-based study on aetiological and prognostic significance
Author: Simoni, Michela
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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White matter changes (WMC) seen on CT and MRI brain scans of healthy subjects and of vascular or dementia patients are strongly associated with age. Their pathogenesis is still under debate, and associations with vascular risk factors have varied according to studies. Their prognostic meaning, both in the general population and in stroke patients, is also not completely established. I systematically reviewed the literature on prevalence and associations of WMC and then evaluated CT and MRI scans of the first 8 years of a population-based study of all strokes and TIA in Oxfordshire (OXVASC). In this population I researched sex and age-specific associations between WMC and different types of strokes (TOAST), different components of blood pressure, and possible vascular risk factors. I also looked into their prognostic meaning for stroke recurrence and outcome, cognitive performance and mortality. 1840 patients were assessed by MRI (520) and/or CT (1717). White matter changes were independently associated with the lacunar type of stroke. The association with hypertension was confirmed (using 10 years of pre-morbid blood pressure readings), and it was particularly strong in the younger patients, mainly for diastolic hypertension. There was no association with blood pressure variability and peripheral pulse pressure. Hypercholesterolaemia, diabetes, smoking, ischaemic heart disease, carotid stenosis and atrial fibrillation were not associated with white matter changes. There was also no association with gender. Severe WMC posed a higher risk of disability and cognitive impairment at one year from the stroke, and of death in the following 10 years. This is the first study on white matter changes associations and on their prognostic meaning, to be set in a large population-based cohort of stroke and TIA. I confirmed the association between white matter changes and higher blood pressure, in particular diastolic hypertension. I also showed the association with lacunar type of stroke to be independent from vascular risk factors, and WMC to reduce life expectancy and functional and cognitive outcome of patients with stroke.
Supervisor: Rothwell, Peter M. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Medical Sciences ; Epidemiology ; Neuroscience ; Stroke ; Neurology ; Radiology ; Age-related white matter changes ; white matter changes ; leukoaraiosis ; Computed Tomography ; Magnetic Resonance Imaging ; Ageing