Objective: Cerebrovascular lesions (CVLs) are known to play important roles in the pathophysiology underlying Alzheimer's disease (AD), especially in elderly AD cases. The present study was conducted to elucidate the relationship between the CVLs and vascular risk factors (VRFs) in elderly Japanese patients with AD. Subjects and methods: The CVLs such as lacunar infarcts, old microbleeds (OMBs), white matter lesions (WMLs), and occlusive vascular lesions on MRI were analyzed in relation to the risk factors in 120 Japanese patients with probable AD. Their mean age was 75.6 years. The subjects were divided into two age groups: young-old group (YOG) consisting of 55 cases being younger than 75 years and old-old group (OOG) consisting of 65 cases being 75 years or older. Results: In overall analysis, 10 cases (8.3%) showed brain atrophy without CVLs on MRI, 46 cases (38.3%) showed WMLs in addition to the brain atrophy, 61 cases (50.8%) showed lacunar lesions, and 3 cases (2.5%) were diagnosed as having a superficial siderosis. Lacunar infarcts and OMBs were more frequently observed in OOG than in YOG, and were also more frequently observed in those with 2 or more VRFs than those with less than 2 VRFs (p < 0.05). The WMLs were more pronounced in OOG, and in those with more VRFs. Conclusion: The CVLs including lacunes, WMLs, and OMBs were present more than 90% of elderly Japanese patients with AD. As the severity of CVLs was associated with VRFs and age, VRFs may modify clinical presentation of elderly AD patients.
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