Basal ganglia calcifications: No association with cognitive function

Esther J. M. de Brouwer*, Nienke M. S. Golüke, Jules J. Claus, Salka S. Staekenborg, Mariëlle H. Emmelot-Vonk, Pim A. de Jong, Huiberdina L. Koek, Annemarieke de Jonghe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background and purpose: Basal ganglia calcifications (BGC), a form of vascular calcification, are a common brain computed tomography (CT) finding. We investigated whether BGC are associated with cognitive function and examined the association between vascular risk factors and BGC. Material and methods: Patients who visited a memory clinic of a Dutch general hospital between April 2009 and April 2015 were included. The patients underwent a standard diagnostic work up including cognitive tests (Cambridge Cognitive Examination, including the Mini Mental State Examination) and brain CT. Vascular risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia and smoking were assessed. CTs were analyzed for presence and severity (absent, mild, moderate or severe) of BGC. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify risk factors for BGC and linear regression for the association between BGC and cognitive function. Results: Of the 1992 patients, 40.3% was male. The median age was 80 years and 866 patients (43.5%) had BGC. BGC was associated with female gender (odds ratio (OR) 1.27, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.06–1.53, p 0.011), and inversely associated with hypertension (OR 0.74, 95% CI 0.60–0.89, p 0.002) and use of antihypertensive drugs (OR 0.79, 95% CI 0.64–0.98, p 0.031). No association was found between presence and severity of BGC and cognitive function or other vascular risk factors. Conclusions: No association with cognitive function was found. Risk factors for BGC were female gender, while hypertension and antihypertensive drug use were associated with a lower risk of BGC.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Neuroradiology
Early online date2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2022
Externally publishedYes

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