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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 532141, 6 pages
Clinical Study

Leukoaraiosis Is a Chronic Atherosclerotic Disease

1Department of Neurology, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, 6 Weizman Street, 64239 Tel Aviv, Israel
2Neurology Clinic, Clinical Center of Serbia and School of Medicine University of Belgrade, Dr Subotica 6, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia

Received 9 January 2012; Accepted 19 February 2012

Academic Editors: C. Capurso and J. Gnarpe

Copyright © 2012 Einor Ben-Assayag et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background and Purpose. White matter changes (WMCs), or leukoaraiosis (LA), are associated with increased age, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and history of stroke. Although several lines of evidence suggest a role of atherosclerosis in atherothrombotic vascular events, their involvement in LA remains to be determined. Our study examines this association in ischemic stroke patients. Methods. One hundred and seventy consecutive ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) patients were included. All patients underwent brain computed tomography (CT) with assessment of the extension and severity of WMCs, carotid arteries duplex scan with measurements of intima-media thickness (IMT) and plaques. Results. Seventy-two patients (42.4%) were found to have white matter lesions, of whom 28.8% had advanced LA. Mean IMT was significantly higher in patients with LA and with advanced LA ( 𝑃 = 0 . 0 0 2 , 𝑃 = 0 . 0 0 3 , resp.). In addition, LA and LA severity were associated with existence of carotid plaque ( 𝑃 = 0 . 0 0 7 , 𝑃 = 0 . 0 0 4 , resp.). In multivariate logistic regression analysis, including all vascular risk factors, LA was found to be associated with age and IMT. Conclusion. This study reinforces the tight association between LA and carotid atherosclerosis in ischemic stroke patients. We conclude that a chronic atherosclerotic disease underlies the pathophysiology of leukoaraiosis and its progression.