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Cognitive Impairment and ICAS in General Population

Neurology; ePub 2018 Mar 9; Suri, Zhou, et al

Asymptomatic intracranial atherosclerotic stenosis (ICAS) is independently associated with cognitive impairment and dementia in whites, according to a recent study. 1,701 Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) participants underwent high-resolution 3T magnetic resonance angiography and a neuropsychology battery and neurologic examination adjudicated by an expert panel to detect mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia. Researchers adjusted for demographic and vascular risk factors in weighted logistic regression analysis, accounting for stratified sampling design and attrition, to determine the association of ICAS with cognitive impairment. They found:

  • In total participants (mean age 76 ± 5.3, 41% men, 71% whites, 29% blacks) with adequate imaging quality and no history of stroke, MCI was identified in 578 (34%) and dementia in 79 (4.6%).
  • In white participants, after adjustment for demographic and vascular risk factors, ICAS ≥50% (vs no ICAS) was strongly associated with dementia and with any cognitive impairment.
  • In contrast, no association was found between ICAS ≥50% and MCI or dementia in blacks.


Suri MFK, Zhou J, Qiao Y, et al. Cognitive impairment and intracranial atherosclerotic stenosis in general population. [Published online ahead of print March 9, 2018]. Neurology. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000005250.