Texture Analysis of T1-Weighted and Fluid-Attenuated Inversion Recovery Images Detects Abnormalities That Correlate With Cognitive Decline in Small Vessel Disease

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Background and Purpose—Magnetic resonance imaging may be useful to assess disease severity in cerebral small vessel disease (SVD), identify those individuals who are most likely to progress to dementia, monitor disease progression, and act as surrogate markers to test new therapies. Texture analysis extracts information on the relationship between signal intensities of neighboring voxels. A potential advantage over techniques, such as diffusion tensor imaging, is that it can be used on clinically obtained magnetic resonance sequences. We determined whether texture parameters (TP) were abnormal in SVD, correlated with cognitive impairment, predicted cognitive decline, or conversion to dementia.Methods—In the prospective SCANS study (St George’s Cognition and Neuroimaging in Stroke), we assessed TP in 121 individuals with symptomatic SVD at baseline, 99 of whom attended annual cognitive testing for 5 years. Conversion to dementia was recorded for all subjects during the 5-year period. Texture analysis was performed on fluid-attenuated inversion recovery and T1-weighted images. The TP obtained from the SVD cohort were cross-sectionally compared with 54 age-matched controls scanned on the same magnetic resonance imaging system.Results—There were highly significant differences in several TP between SVD cases and controls. Within the SVD population, TP were highly correlated to other magnetic resonance imaging parameters (brain volume, white matter lesion volume, lacune count). TP correlated with executive function and global function at baseline and predicted conversion to dementia, after controlling for age, sex, premorbid intelligence quotient, and magnetic resonance parameters.Conclusions—TP, which can be obtained from routine clinical images, are abnormal in SVD, and the degree of abnormality correlates with executive dysfunction and global cognition at baseline and decline during 5 years. TP may be useful to assess disease severity in clinically collected data. This needs testing in data clinically acquired across multiple sites.

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