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Cardiovascular determinants of dementia


The general objective is to investigate the short-term and long-term association of cardio-vascular factors to dementia and cognitive impairment.

The specific objectives are to:
study geographic variation in white matter lesions and cognitive function.
study the relation of cardio-vascular factors to white matter lesions, cognitive function, and dementia.
study the relation of white matter lesions to cognitive function and dementia.

Dementia is a highly prevalent disease affecting more than 5% of those 65 years and older and more than 30% of those 80 years and older. Few preventable risk factors for dementing diseases have been identified. Evidence from different studies suggests that cardio-vascular risk factors and atherosclerosis may contribute to dementing disease and cognitive impairment through brain lesions and atrophy. We propose a collaborative population-based study of: (1) the role of cardio-vascular factors in the occurrence of white matter lesions, cognitive impairment and dementia; (2) the role of white matter lesions in cognitive impairment and dementia. White matter areas of the brain are extremely vulnerable to vascular processes such as ischemia, hypoxia and haemorrhage. White matter lesions can be well measured with magnetic resonance imaging. The presence and severity of white matter lesions have been associated with stroke, peripheral artery disease, hypertension, and carotid artery disease. Furthermore, white matter lesions are present in demented patients as well as clinically normal subjects with cognitive impairment. This collaborative study will be based on two groups of population-based studies that differ by when the risk factors were measured relative to the measurement of brain changes, cognitive function and dementia. The first group initially measured cardio-vascular factors 10-20 years ago. In these studies we can examine the long-term predictability of the risk factors for white matter lesions, cognitive impairment and dementia. The second group initially measured risk factors 5 years ago, allowing us to study their short term predictability. The cohorts will be geographically diverse to capture the gradient across Europe in cardio-vascular risk factors.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam
3000 DR Rotterdam

Participants (3)

Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale
101,Rue De Tobliac
75654 Paris
Rijksuniversiteit Utrecht
3584 CX Utrecht
Umeä Universitet
University Of Umea
901 87 Umea