Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Neuroimaging techniques are increasingly used to study mechanisms leading to cognitive impairment. In particular, brain atrophy has been proposed as a surrogate marker of dementia. However, little is known regarding confounding factors which might modulate the evolution of brain atrophy during ageing. We therefore determined the rate of atrophy over 6 years for 201 participants (F/M=96/105; 59.8±5.9 yrs) in the Austrian Stroke Prevention Study and probed the impact of baseline variables on its progression. The mean annual brain volume change was -0.40±0.29%. The rate of brain atrophy was significantly higher in subjects of greater age and those with higher HbA1c, higher body-mass-index, high alcohol intake, severe white matter hyperintensities, and in APOEε4-carriers. Multivariate analysis suggested that baseline brain volume, HbA1cand the extent of white matter hyperintensities explain a major proportion of variance in the rates of brain atrophy. These results indicate that neurologically asymptomatic elderly experience continuing brain volume loss, which appears to accelerate with age. HbA1cwas identified as a risk factor for a greater rate of brain atrophy. Clustering of factors associated with the so-called "metabolic syndrome" in subjects with high HbA1csuggests a link between this syndrome and late-life brain tissue loss. Together, this underscores the need to control for confounding factors in future Clinical trials and indicates possible new directions for intervention.


Journal article


Research and Practice in Alzheimer's Disease

Publication Date





227 - 233