Original Investigation| Volume 28, ISSUE 12, P1699-1708, December 2021

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Bilateral Distance Partition of Periventricular and Deep White Matter Hyperintensities: Performance of the Method in the Aging Brain

Published:October 27, 2020DOI:

      Rationale and Objectives

      Periventricular and deep white matter hyperintensities (WMHs) in the elderly have been reported with distinctive roles in the progression of cognitive decline and dementia. However, the definition of these two subregions of WMHs is arbitrary and varies across studies. Here, we evaluate three partition methods for WMH subregions, including two widely used conventional methods (CV & D10) and one novel method based on bilateral distance (BD).

      Materials and Methods

      The three partition methods were assessed on the MRI scans of 60 subjects, with 20 normal control, 20 mild cognitive impairment, and 20 Alzheimer's disease (AD). Resulting WMH subregional volumes were (1) compared among different partition methods and subject groups, and (2) tested for clinical associations with cognition and dementia. Inter-rater, intrarater, and interscan reproducibility of WMHs volumes were tested on 12 randomly selected subjects from the 60.


      For all three partition methods, increased periventricular WMHs were found for AD subjects over normal control. For BD and D10, but not CV method, increased Periventricular WMHs were found for AD subjects over mild cognitive impairment. Significant correlations were found between PVWMHs and Mini-Mental State Examination, Montreal Cognitive Assessment, and Clinical Dementia Rating scores. Furthermore, PVWMHs under BD partition showed higher correlations than D10 and CV. High intrarater and interscan reproducibility (ICCA = 0.998 and 0.992 correspondingly) and substantial inter-rater reproducibility (ICCA = 0.886) were detected.


      Different WMH partition methods showed comparable diagnostic abilities. The proposed BD method showed advantages in quantifying PVWMH over conventional CV and D10 methods, in terms of higher consistency, larger contrast, and higher diagnosis accuracy. Furthermore, the PVWMH under BD partition showed stronger clinical correlations than conventional methods.


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