Vol. 4 nº 1 - Jan/Feb/Mar de 2010
Views & Reviews Páginas: 4 a 13

Vascular cognitive impairment (VCI) Progress towards knowledge and treatment

Authors Silvia Di Legge1, Vladimir Hachinski2


keywords: cerebrovascular disease, dementia, vascular cognitive impairment, diagnostic criteria

Until recently, the study of cognitive impairment as a manifestation of cerebrovascular disease (CVD) has been hampered by the lack of common standards for assessment. The term vascular cognitive impairment (VCI) encompasses all levels of cognitive decline associated with CVD from mild deficits in one or more cognitive domains to crude dementia syndrome. VCI incorporates the complex interactions among classic vascular risk factors (i.e. arterial hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes), CVD subtypes, and Alzheimer's Disease (AD) pathology. VCI may be the earliest, commonest, and subtlest manifestation of CVD and can be regarded as a highly prevalent and preventable syndrome. However, cognition is not a standardized outcome measure in clinical trials assessing functional ability after stroke. Furthermore, with the exception of anti-hypertensive medications, the impact of either preventive or acute stroke treatments on cognitive outcome is not known. Although clinical, epidemiological, neuroimaging, and experimental data support the VCI concept, there is a lack of integrated knowledge on the role played by the most relevant pathophysiological mechanisms involved in several neurological conditions including stroke and cognitive impairment such as excitotoxicity, apoptosis, mitochondrial DNA damage, oxidative stress, disturbed neurotransmitter release, and inflammation. For this reason, in 2006 the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the Canadian Stroke Network (CSN) defined a set of data elements to be collected in future studies aimed at defining VCI etiology, clinical manifestations, predictive factors, and treatment. These recommendations represent the first step toward developing diagnostic criteria for VCI based on sound knowledge rather than on hypotheses. The second step will be to integrate all studies using the agreed methodologies. This is likely to accelerate the search for answers.


Home Contact