Genetic Factors in Vascular Dementia

MR imaging of a vascular disease patient

a) MR imaging of a vascular disease patient reveals an infarct in the putamen (arrowed) and increased signal in periventricular white matter (scan courtesy of Cliff Jack, Jr).

b) At autopsy a cavitary space is observed in the putamen (arrowed) with discoloration in the periventricular white matter and ventricular enlargement.

Data from population–based studies with neuroimaging estimate that an excess of 11 million persons experienced "silent" stroke in the US annually. The extent of the impact of this "silent" disease on the public health remains unclear, but likely contributes to cognitive dysfunction. Vascular dementia (VaD) is the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer's disease (AD). The cognitive symptoms are heterogeneous and most likely reflect the interaction of both environmental and genetic factors. This project plans to examine the brain tissue of individuals for gene expression and genetic variants that increase the risk of VaD.