Early life characteristics and late life burden of cerebral small vessel disease in the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936

Thalia S. Field, Fergus Doubal, Wendy Johnson, Ellen Backhouse, Caroline McHutchison, Simon Cox, Janie Corley, Alison Pattie, Alan Gow, Susan Shenkin, Vera Cvoro, Zoe Morris, Julie Staals, Mark Bastin, Ian Deary, Joanna Wardlaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is unknown whether relations between early-life factors and overall health in later life apply to burden of cerebral small vessel disease (cSVD), a major cause of stroke and dementia. We explored relations between early-life factors and cSVD in the Lothian Birth Cohort, a healthy aging cohort including age-11 psychometric testing and age-73 brain MRI. Participants who underwent psychometric testing at age 11 as part of the Scottish Mental Survey living in the Lothian region were contacted at age 73. Of the 1091 that agreed to participate, 700 participants had brain MRI that could be rated for cSVD. Presence of lacunes, white matter hyperintensities, microbleeds, and perivascular spaces were summed in a score of 0-4 representing all MRI cSVD features. We tested associations with early-life factors using multivariate logistic regression. Greater SVD score was significantly associated with lower age-11 IQ (OR higher SVD score per SD age-11 IQ = .78, 95%CI 0.65-.95, p=.01). The associations between SVD score and own job class (OR higher job class, .64 95%CI .43-.95, p=.03), age-11 deprivation index (OR per point deprivation score, 1.08, 95%CI 1.00-1.17, p=.04), and education (OR some qualifying education, .60 95%CI .37-.98, p=.04) trended towards significance (p<.05 for all) but did not meet thresholds for multiple testing. No early-life factor was significantly associated with any one individual score component. Early-life factors may contribute to age-73 burden of cSVD. These relations, and the potential for early social interventions to improve brain health, deserve further study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2039-2061
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sep 2016


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