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Neurological Disorders - Physiology - Public Health and Epidemiology - Radiology and Medical Imaging

Dynamic Temporal Change of Cerebral Microbleeds: Long-Term Follow-Up MRI Study
Published: Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Author: Seung-Hoon Lee et al.

by Seung-Hoon Lee, Soon-Tae Lee, Beom Joon Kim, Hee-Kwon Park, Chi-Kyung Kim, Keun-Hwa Jung, Jae-Kyu Roh


Cerebral microbleeds (MBs) are understood as an important radiologic marker of intracerebral hemorrhage. We sought to investigate the temporal changes of MBs and clinical factors associated with the changes using long-term follow-up MRI.

Methods/Principal Findings

From October 2002 to July 2006, we prospectively enrolled patients with stroke or transient ischemic attack, and followed-up their brain MRIs with an interval >12 mo. We compared demographic factors, vascular risk factors, laboratory findings, and radiologic factors according to the presence or changes of MBs. A total of 224 patients successfully completed the follow-up examinations (mean, 27 months). Newly developed MBs were noted in 10 patients (6.8%) among those without MBs at baseline (n?=?148), and in those with MBs at baseline (n?=?76), the MB count had decreased in 11 patients (14.5%), and increased in 41 patients (53.9%). The estimated annual rate of change of MB numbers was 0.80 lesions per year in all patients, a value which became greater in those patients who exhibited MBs at baseline (MBs=5, 5.43 lesions per year). Strokes due to small vessel occlusion and intracerebral hemorrhage, as well as white matter lesions were independently associated with an increased MB count, whereas the highest quartile of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol was associated with a decreased MB count.


During the follow-up period, most of MBs showed dynamic temporal change. Symptomatic or asymptomatic small vessel diseases appear to act as risk factors while in contrast, a high level of LDL cholesterol may act as a protective factor against MB increase.