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American Heart Association, Stroke, 11(51), p. 3271-3278, 2020

DOI: 10.1161/strokeaha.120.030446



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Cerebral Small Vessel Disease, Risk Factors, and Cognition in Tenants of Precarious Housing

This paper was not found in any repository, but could be made available legally by the author.
This paper was not found in any repository, but could be made available legally by the author.

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Data provided by SHERPA/RoMEO


Background and Purpose: We aim to describe the burden, characteristics, and cognitive associations of cerebral small vessel disease in a Canadian sample living with multimorbidity in precarious housing. Methods: Participants received T1, T2-fluid-attenuated inversion recovery, and susceptibility-weighted imaging 3T magnetic resonance imaging sequences and comprehensive clinical, laboratory, and cognitive assessments. Cerebral small vessel disease burden was characterized using a modified Small Vessel Disease (mSVD) score. One point each was given for moderate-severe white matter hyperintensities, ≥1 cerebral microbleeds, and ≥1 lacune. Multivariable regression explored associations between mSVD score, risk factors, and cognitive performance. Results: Median age of the 228 participants (77% male) was 44.7 years (range, 23.3–63.2). In n=188 participants with consistent good quality magnetic resonance imaging sequences, mSVD scores were 0 (n=127, 68%), 1 (n=50, 27%), and 2 (n=11, 6%). Overall, one-third had an mSVD ≥1 n=61 (32%); this proportion was unchanged when adding participants with missing sequences n=72/228 (32%). The most prevalent feature was white matter hyperintensities 53/218 (24%) then cerebral microbleed 16/191 (8%) and lacunes 16/228 (7%). Older age (odds ratio, 1.10 [95% CI, 1.05–1.15], P <0.001), higher diastolic blood pressure (odds ratio, 1.05 [95% CI, 1.01–1.09], P =0.008), and a history of injection drug use (odds ratio, 3.13 [95% CI, 1.07–9.16], P =0.037) had significant independent associations with a mSVD score of ≥1 in multivariable analysis. mSVD ≥1 was associated with lower performance on tests of verbal memory, sustained attention, and decision-making, contributing 4% to 5% of the variance in each cognitive domain. Conclusions: The 32% prevalence of cerebral small vessel disease in this young, socially marginalized cohort was higher than expected for age and was associated with poorer cognitive performance.