Race, sex, and mid-life changes in brain health: Cardia MRI substudy

Justine E. F. Moonen*, Ilya M. Nasrallah, John A. Detre, Sudipto Dolui, Guray Erus, Christos Davatzikos, Osorio Meirelles, R. Nick Bryan, Lenore J. Launer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: To examine longitudinal race and sex differences in mid-life brain health and to evaluate whether cardiovascular health (CVH) or apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 explain differences. Methods: The study included 478 Black and White participants (mean age: 50 years). Total (TBV), gray (GMV), white (WMV), and white matter hyperintensity (WMH) volumes and GM–cerebral blood flow (CBF) were acquired with 3T-magnetic resonance imaging at baseline and 5-year follow-up. Analyses were based on general linear models. Results: There were race x sex interactions for GMV (P-interaction =.004) and CBF (P-interaction =.01) such that men showed more decline than women, and this was most evident in Blacks. Blacks compared to Whites had a significantly greater increase in WMH (P =.002). All sex–race differences in change were marginally attenuated by CVH and APOE ε4. Conclusion: Race–sex differences in brain health emerge by mid-life. Identifying new environmental factors beyond CVH is needed to develop early interventions to maintain brain health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2428-2437
Number of pages10
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia
Issue number12
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

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