John Wherrett, MD, FRCPC, PhD, Division of Neurology, Toronto Western Hospital and the University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
This commentary addresses current views about the interaction of vascular disorders and Alzheimer disease, including vascular pathologies that may be intrinsic to the Alzheimer process as identified through demonstration of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. The common cerebrovascular pathologies accompanying aging, mainly atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis, will coincide in varying proportions with the Alzheimer pathology, also a concomitant to aging. Because interventions are available to modify both risks and complications of these vasculopathies, an important goal of dementia research is to develop means to characterize the contribution of cerebrovascular disease in Alzheimer and other dementias. Realization of this goal is confounded by the recognition that Alzheimer pathology, usually considered a parenchymal process, involves important vascular changes.
Key words: Alzheimer disease, dementia, cerebrovascular, pathology, imaging.