According to a recent study, published in Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, people with large fluid-filled spaces in the brain around small blood vessels have a higher risk to develop cognitive problems, including dementia, over time.
For the study, a team of researchers recruited 414 people aged 80 years on average who took cognitive tests of thinking and memory skills. They were also assessed for the presence of dementia at the baseline of the study and every two years for a period of 8 years.
The participants underwent MRI brain scanning, and the top quarter of the patients with the largest number of enlarged perivascular spaces were compared to those with fewer or no enlarged spaces.
Study author Matthew Paradise, MB.Ch.B., M.Sc., of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, says: “Severe perivascular space disease may be a marker for an increased risk of cognitive decline and dementia. More research is needed to understand how these enlarged spaces develop, as they could be an important potential biomarker to help with early diagnosis of dementia.”