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Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2011, Article ID 617927, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.4061/2011/617927
Review Article

Age-Related White Matter Changes

Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Shatin 999077, Hong Kong

Received 5 May 2011; Revised 28 June 2011; Accepted 28 June 2011

Academic Editor: Leonardo Pantoni

Copyright © 2011 Yun Yun Xiong and Vincent Mok. 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.

Abstract

Age-related white matter changes (WMC) are considered manifestation of arteriolosclerotic small vessel disease and are related to age and vascular risk factors. Most recent studies have shown that WMC are associated with a host of poor outcomes, including cognitive impairment, dementia, urinary incontinence, gait disturbances, depression, and increased risk of stroke and death. Although the clinical relevance of WMC has been extensively studied, to date, only very few clinical trials have evaluated potential symptomatic or preventive treatments for WMC. In this paper, we reviewed the current understanding in the pathophysiology, epidemiology, clinical importance, chemical biomarkers, and treatments of age-related WMC.