Correlation between ageing-related morphological and functional cardiac changes, the degree of cerebral atrophy, and the appearance of white matter hyperintensities: magnetic resonance imaging study within a population-based cohort

Tarrús Escalada, Francesc
INTRODUCTION. Ageing is a multisystemic process that makes individuals more susceptible to diseases and functional limitations. Life expectancy has increased, which implies that by 2030, one in six people will be 60 or older, reflecting global trends as seen in Spain. This study focuses on the link between heart and brain ageing, inspired by The Aging Image omics Study. The main objective is assessing the relation between the left ventricle’s (LV) morphological changes with white matter hyperintensities (WMH) and cerebral atrophy. METHODS. This project is an observational prospective study that analyzes data from The Aging image omics population study in the province of Girona. It investigates the heart-brain ageing relationship using a portable 1.5 Tesla MRI scanner with data from 1,030 participants aged 50 or older, coming from the MESGI50 and MARK studies. Cardiac images were obtained via electrocardiographic synchronization, while cerebral images were acquired using T2-weighted sequence (MP RAGE). Statistical analysis was conducted with R software, including descriptive analysis with T-student and Welch’s test, as well as bivariate and multivariate analysis using linear regression models. RESULTS. The study included 1,030 participants. The average age was 66.81 years with nearly-equal gender distribution. In the multivariate analysis, statistical significance in findings diminished when adjusting for age, sex, and carotid stenosis. An increase of 1 gram in LV mass corresponds to a 0.04ml increase in WMH volume (p = 0.004). Furthermore, right ventricle’s (RV) end-diastolic volume is positively correlated with total grey volume (p = 0.042), while RV end-systolic volume is linked to increases in total grey volume and cortex volume (p = 0.027 and p = 0.022, respectively). CONCLUSION. This study shows a strong relationship between LV mass and WMH. While functional and morphological left ventricle variables have no effect on cerebral atrophy. The study did not find a link between functional ventricle changes and WMH. The research hints at a potential correlation between RV volumes and increased total grey matter, opening up avenues for future investigations ​
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