Publications by authors named "Linh T T Lazarus"

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The effect of vascular health factors on white matter microstructure mediates age-related differences in executive function performance.

Cortex 2021 08 25;141:403-420. Epub 2021 May 25.

The University of Texas at Dallas, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Center for Vital Longevity, Dallas, TX, USA. Electronic address:

Even within healthy aging, vascular risk factors can detrimentally influence cognition, with executive functions (EF) particularly vulnerable. Fronto-parietal white matter (WM) connectivity in part, supports EF and may be particularly sensitive to vascular risk. Here, we utilized structural equation modeling in 184 healthy adults (aged 20-94 years of age) to test the hypotheses that: 1) fronto-parietal WM microstructure mediates age effects on EF; 2) higher blood pressure (BP) and white matter hyperintensity (WMH) burden influences this association. All participants underwent comprehensive cognitive and neuropsychological testing including tests of processing speed, executive function (with a focus on tasks that require switching and inhibition) and completed an MRI scanning session that included FLAIR imaging for semi-automated quantification of white matter hyperintensity burden and diffusion-weighted imaging for tractography. Structural equation models were specified with age (as a continuous variable) and blood pressure predicting within-tract WMH burden and fractional anisotropy predicting executive function and processing speed. Results indicated that fronto-parietal white matter of the genu of the corpus collosum, superior longitudinal fasciculus, and the inferior frontal occipital fasciculus (but not cortico-spinal tract) mediated the association between age and EF. Additionally, increased systolic blood pressure and white matter hyperintensity burden within these white matter tracts contribute to worsening white matter health and are important factors underlying age-brain-behavior associations. These findings suggest that aging brings about increases in both BP and WMH burden, which may be involved in the degradation of white matter connectivity and in turn, negatively impact executive functions as we age.
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August 2021