Cerebral infarcts and cognitive performance: importance of location and number of infarcts

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Aged; Cardiovascular Diseases; Cerebral Infarction; Cognition Disorders; Dementia; Female; Humans; Iceland; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Male; Neuropsychological Tests; Risk Factors


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Cerebral infarcts increase the risk for cognitive impairment. The relevance of location and number of infarcts with respect to cognitive function is less clear.

METHODS: We studied the cross-sectional association between number and location of infarcts and cognitive performance in 4030 nondemented participants of the Age Gene/Environment Susceptibility-Reykjavik Study. Composite scores for memory, processing speed, and executive function were created from a neuropsychological battery. Subcortical, cortical, and cerebellar infarcts were identified on brain MRI. We performed linear regression analyses adjusted for demographic and vascular risk factors, depression, white matter lesions, and atrophy.

RESULTS: Compared to participants with no infarcts, those with infarcts in multiple locations (n=287, 7%) had slower processing speed (beta=-0.19; PCONCLUSIONS: Having infarcts in >1 location is associated with poor performance in memory, processing speed, and executive function, independent of cardiovascular comorbidities, white matter lesions, and brain atrophy, suggesting that both the number and the distribution of infarcts jointly contribute to cognitive impairment.

DOI of Published Version



Stroke. 2009 Mar;40(3):677-82. Epub 2009 Jan 8. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Stroke; a journal of cerebral circulation

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID