Cerebral white matter changes and rate of progression of dementia during cholinesterase inhibitor treatment: a retrospective cohort study.Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2007 Nov; 22(11):1120-6.IJ
Cerebral white matter changes (WMC) represent cerebrovascular disease (CVD) and are common in dementia. Cholinesterase inhibitors (ChEIs) are effective in Alzheimer's Disease (AD) with or without CVD, and in Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB). Predictors of treatment response are controversial.
To investigate the effect of WMC severity on rate of progression of dementia during treatment with ChEIs.
CT or MRI brain scans were rated for WMC severity in 243 patients taking ChEIs for dementia. Raters were blind to patients' clinical risk factors, dementia subtype and course of illness. Effects of WMC severity on rates of decline in cognition, function and behaviour were analysed for 140 patients treated for 9 months or longer. Analysis was performed for this group as a whole and within diagnostic subgroups AD and DLB. The main outcome measure was rate of change in Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) score. Secondary measures were rates of change in scores on the Cambridge Cognitive Examination (CAMCOG), Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) and Clifton Assessment Procedures for the Elderly - Behaviour Rating Scale (CAPE-BRS).
There was no significant association between severity of WMC and any specified outcome variable for the cohort as a whole or for patients with AD. In patients with DLB, higher WMC scores were associated with more rapid cognitive decline.
Increased WMC severity does not influence clinical response to ChEI treatment in AD, but may hasten deterioration in ChEI-treated patients with DLB.