Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Vascular Health Impacts Neurodegeneration in AD

Ann Neurol; ePub 2017 Oct 26; Vemuri, et al

Vascular health had quantifiably greater impact on neurodegeneration in Alzheimer disease (AD) regions than on amyloid deposition, a recent study found. Researchers identified 430 individuals along the cognitive continuum, aged >60 years with amyloid positron emission tomography (PET), tau PET, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans from the population-based Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. A subset of 329 individuals had fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET. They ascertained presently existing cardiovascular and metabolic conditions (CMC) from health care records and used the summation of presence/absence of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, cardiac arrhythmias, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes mellitus, and stroke as a surrogate for vascular health. They found:

  • CMC+ participants had significantly greater neurodegeneration than CMC− participants but did not differ by amyloid or entorhinal cortex tau uptake.
  • Vascular health had a significant direct and indirect impact on neurodegeneration but not on amyloid; and vascular health, specifically the presence of hyperlipidemia, had a significant direct impact on entorhinal cortex tau uptake.


Vemuri P, Lesnick TG, Przybelski SA, et al. Age, vascular health, and Alzheimer disease biomarkers in an elderly sample. [Published online ahead of print October 26, 2017]. Ann Neurol. doi:10.1002/ana.25071.

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