White matter hyperintensities in vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia (VCID): Knowledge gaps and opportunities

Jessica Alber, Suvarna Alladi, Hee-Joon Bae, David A Barton, Laurel A Beckett, Joanne M Bell, Sara E Berman, Geert Jan Biessels, Sandra E Black, Isabelle Bos, Gene L Bowman, Emanuele Brai, Adam M Brickman, Brandy L Callahan, Roderick A Corriveau, Silvia Fossati, Rebecca F Gottesman, Deborah R Gustafson, Vladimir Hachinski, Kathleen M HaydenAlex M Helman, Timothy M Hughes, Jeremy D Isaacs, Angela L Jefferson, Sterling C Johnson, Alifiya Kapasi, Silke Kern, Jay C Kwon, Juraj Kukolja, Athene Lee, Samuel N Lockhart, Anne Murray, Katie E Osborn, Melinda C Power, Brittani R Price, Hanneke F M Rhodius-Meester, Jacqueline A Rondeau, Allyson C Rosen, Douglas L Rosene, Julie A Schneider, Henrieta Scholtzova, C Elizabeth Shaaban, Narlon C B S Silva, Heather M Snyder, Walter Swardfager, Aron M Troen, Susanne J van Veluw, Prashanthi Vemuri, Anders Wallin, Cheryl Wellington, Donna M Wilcock, Sharon Xiangwen Xie, Atticus H Hainsworth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review

174 Citations (Web of Science)


White matter hyperintensities (WMHs) are frequently seen on brain magnetic resonance imaging scans of older people. Usually interpreted clinically as a surrogate for cerebral small vessel disease, WMHs are associated with increased likelihood of cognitive impairment and dementia (including Alzheimer's disease [AD]). WMHs are also seen in cognitively healthy people. In this collaboration of academic, clinical, and pharmaceutical industry perspectives, we identify outstanding questions about WMHs and their relation to cognition, dementia, and AD. What molecular and cellular changes underlie WMHs? What are the neuropathological correlates of WMHs? To what extent are demyelination and inflammation present? Is it helpful to subdivide into periventricular and subcortical WMHs? What do WMHs signify in people diagnosed with AD? What are the risk factors for developing WMHs? What preventive and therapeutic strategies target WMHs? Answering these questions will improve prevention and treatment of WMHs and dementia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-117
Number of pages11
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia: Translational Research and Clinical Interventions
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Leukoaraiosis
  • Small vessel disease
  • Vascular cognitive impairment
  • Vascular dementia
  • White matter lesions
  • MRI

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