Early life characteristics and late life burden of cerebral small vessel disease in the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936

Thalia S. Field, Fergus N. Doubal, Wendy Johnson, Ellen Backhouse, Caroline McHutchison, Simon Cox, Janie Corley, Alison Pattie, Alan J. Gow, Susan Shenkin, Vera Cvoro, Zoe Morris, Julie Staals, Mark Bastin, Ian J. Deary, Joanna M. Wardlaw*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
60 Downloads (Pure)


It is unknown whether relations between early-life factors and overall health in later life apply to burden of cerebral small vessel disease (cSVD), a major cause of stroke and dementia. We explored relations between early-life factors and cSVD in the Lothian Birth Cohort, a healthy aging cohort. Participants were recruited at age 70 (N = 1091); most had completed a test of cognitive ability at age 11 as part of the Scottish Mental Survey of 1947. Of those, 700 participants had brain MRI that could be rated for cSVD conducted at age 73. Presence of lacunes, white matter hyperintensities, microbleeds, and perivascular spaces were summed in a score of 0-4 representing all MRI cSVD features. We tested associations with early-life factors using multivariate logistic regression. Greater SVD score was significantly associated with lower age-11 IQ (OR higher SVD score per SD age-11 IQ = .78, 95%CI 0.65-.95, p=.01). The associations between SVD score and own job class (OR higher job class, .64 95%CI .43-.95, p=.03), age-11 deprivation index (OR per point deprivation score, 1.08, 95%CI 1.00- 1.17, p=.04), and education (OR some qualifying education, .60 95%CI .37-.98, p=.04) trended towards significance (p<.05 for all) but did not meet thresholds for multiple testing. No early-life factor was significantly associated with any one individual score component. Early-life factors may contribute to age-73 burden of cSVD. These relations, and the potential for early social interventions to improve brain health, deserve further study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2039-2061
Number of pages23
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2016


  • Aging
  • Cerebral small vessel disease
  • MRI
  • Risk factors
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Early life characteristics and late life burden of cerebral small vessel disease in the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this