Risk Factors and Cognitive Relevance of Cortical Cerebral Microinfarcts
It was recently demonstrated that cerebral microinfarcts (CMIs) can be detected in vivo using 3.0 tesla (T) magnetic resonance imaging. The authors investigated the prevalence, risk factors, and the longitudinal cognitive consequence of cortical CMIs on 3.0T magnetic resonance imaging, in patients with ischaemic stroke or transient ischaemic attack (Stroke Journal December 2016).
A total of 231 patients undergoing 3.0T magnetic resonance imaging were included. Montreal Cognitive Assessment was used to evaluate global cognitive functions and cognitive domains (memory, language, and attention visuospatial and executive functions). Cognitive changes were represented by the difference in Montreal Cognitive Assessment score between baseline and 28-month after stroke/transient ischaemic attack. The cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between cortical CMIs and cognitive functions were explored using ANCOVA and regression models.
The study concluded that Cortical CMIs are a common finding in patients with stroke/transient ischaemic attack. Associations between CMI with atrial fibrillation and white matter hyperintensities suggest that these lesions have a heterogeneous cause, involving microembolism and cerebral small vessel disease. CMI seemed to preferentially impact visuospatial functions as assessed by a cognitive screening test.