Cardiac Autonomic Dysfunction Is Associated With White Matter Lesions in Patients With Mild Cognitive Impairment

Laboratory of Epidemiology Neuroimaging & Telemedicine (LENITEM), IRCCS San Giovanni di Dio FBF-The National Center for Research and Care of Alzheimer's Disease, Via Pilastroni 4, 25125, Brescia, Italy.
The Journals of Gerontology Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences (Impact Factor: 5.42). 08/2009; 64(12):1312-5. DOI: 10.1093/gerona/glp105
Source: PubMed


Cardiac autonomic dysfunction has been associated with cognitive impairment, but the underlying pathogenesis is complex and cerebral white matter lesions (WMLs) might be implicated.
Time and frequency heart rate variability (HRV) and visual rating of WMLs were carried out in 42 patients with mild cognitive impairment.
After adjustment for relevant demographic and clinical characteristics, including left ventricular mass, reduced HRV indices of parasympathetic (root mean square of successive difference of RR intervals, RMSSD) and sympathetic modulation (low-frequency [LF] power) were associated with increased WML score (RMSSD: B -0.30, 95% CI -0.52 to -0.08, p = .01; LF: B -0.24, 95% CI -0.46 to -0.02, p = .05). In a multiple-adjusted model, RMSSD was the major independent predictor of WMLs (B -0.35, 95% CI -0.57 to -0.13, p = .002).
The evidence for an independent association of cardiac autonomic dysfunction with WMLs might suggest its role in the pathogenesis of WMLs.

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