Arterial Calcification Tied to Vascular Brain Disease

Intra-, extracranial carotid calcification tied to white matter lesion volume, infarcts, respectively

FRIDAY, Sept. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Arterial calcification in various vessel beds is associated with larger white matter lesion (WML) volume and the presence of cerebral infarcts, according to a study published online Aug. 25 in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.

Daniel Bos, M.D., from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues examined the association between calcification in vessel beds outside the brain and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) markers of vascular brain disease in 885 community-dwelling participants (mean age, 66.7 years). Participants were assessed for arterial calcification using computed tomography of the coronary arteries, aortic arch, and extracranial and intracranial carotid arteries. Cerebral infarcts, microbleeds, and WMLs were investigated using brain MRI scans.

The investigators found that calcification in the vessel beds was correlated with the occurrence of cerebral infarcts and large WML volume. The strongest correlations were between intracranial carotid calcification and WML volume, and between extracranial carotid calcification and infarcts. Results remained unchanged even after adjusting for cardiovascular risk factors or ultrasound carotid plaque scores. Calcification and cerebral microbleeds did not have any correlation.

"Larger intracranial carotid calcification load relates to larger WML volumes, and larger extracranial carotid calcification load relates to the presence of cerebral infarcts, independently of ultrasound carotid plaque score. This suggests that calcification of atherosclerotic plaque yields other information in addition to merely the presence of plaques, providing novel insights into the etiology of vascular brain disease," the authors write.

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