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Birth Parameters Are Associated With Late-Life White Matter Integrity in Community-Dwelling Older People

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Abstract

Background and Purpose-Lower birth weight is associated with increased risk of stroke, but little is known about the mechanism for this association or influence in addition to vascular risk factors. We investigated whether there was an association between birth parameters and imaging markers of white matter integrity in community-dwelling older people.

Methods-One hundred seven volunteers, age 75 to 81 years, had birth parameters (weight, length, placental weight, gestational age) extracted from archives. Neuroimaging included assessment of white matter lesions and diffusion tensor-magnetic resonance imaging parameters in normal-appearing white matter.

Results-Lower placental weight was correlated with increased white matter lesion load (P<0.05) and diffusion tensor-magnetic resonance imaging parameters (P<0.05). Birth weight and frontal white matter fractional anisotropy were significantly correlated (P<0.05). These associations were only slightly attenuated when corrected for gestational age, sex, age at scan, and vascular risk factors.

Conclusions-Lower placental and possibly lower birth weight were associated with sensitive neuroimaging measures of white matter lesions in this cohort, independent of vascular risk factors later in life. Further studies are required to confirm these findings to explore life-long risk factors for age-related white matter changes.

    Research areas

  • leukoaraiosis , magnetic resonance, white matter disease, birth weight, diffusion tensor imaging, life course

ID: 94418