The impact of intracranial arteriosclerosis on dementia remains largely unclear.
In 2339 stroke-free and dementia-free participants (52.2% women, mean age 69.5 years) from the general population, we assessed intracranial carotid artery calcification (ICAC) and vertebrobasilar artery calcification (VBAC) as proxy for arteriosclerosis. Associations with dementia were assessed using Cox models. In addition, indirect effects through cerebral small vessel disease (cSVD) and subcortical brain structure volumes were assessed using causal mediation analyses.
During a median of 13.4 years (25th–75th percentiles 9.9–14.5) of follow-up, 282 participants developed dementia. Both ICAC presence (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.53, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.00–2.32]) and volume (HR per standard deviation: 1.19, 95% CI: 1.01–1.40) increased dementia risk. For VBAC, severe calcifications increased dementia risk (HR for third vs first volume tertile: 1.89, 95% CI: 1.00–3.59). These effects were mediated partly through increased cSVD (percentage mediated for ICAC: 13% and VBAC: 24%).
Intracranial arteriosclerosis increases the risk of dementia.

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This post is Copyright: Tim C. van den Beukel,
Frank J. Wolters,
Uwe Siebert,
Wilko Spiering,
M. Arfan Ikram,
Meike W. Vernooij,
Pim A. de Jong,
Daniel Bos | October 10, 2023

Wiley: Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Table of Contents