What causes nonspecific white matter changes?

Many different diseases, injuries, and toxins can cause changes in your white matter. Doctors point to the same blood vessel problems that lead to heart trouble or strokes: Long-term high blood pressure. Ongoing blood vessel inflammation.

Are white matter changes serious?

Originally, white matter disease was considered a normal, age-related change. But over the last decade, medical experts have come to understand that the presence of large areas of disease in the white matter of the brain are associated with cognitive decline and dementia in patients.

What does white matter ischemic changes mean?

Microvascular ischemic disease is a term that’s used to describe changes to the small blood vessels in the brain. Changes to these vessels can damage white matter — the brain tissue that contains nerve fibers and serves as the connection point to other parts of the brain.

What does nonspecific mean on MRI?

Non-specific is used for a symptom, sign, test result, radiological finding, etc., that does not point towards a specific diagnosis or etiology. For example, a high T2 signal lesion of the white matter on an MRI brain is a non-specific finding as the number of possible causes is broad.

What does white matter on the brain indicate?

White matter disease is a disease that affects the nerves that link various parts of the brain to each other and to the spinal cord. These nerves are also called white matter. White matter disease causes these areas to decline in their functionality. This disease is also referred to as leukoaraiosis.

What does white matter on an MRI mean?

White matter disease is commonly detected on brain MRI of aging individuals as white matter hyperintensities (WMH), or ‘leukoaraiosis.” Over the years it has become increasingly clear that the presence and extent of WMH is a radiographic marker of small cerebral vessel disease and an important predictor of the life- …

What causes white matter damage?

Sometimes, damage to the white matter is caused by genetic variations. Some people don’t produce enough myelin, break the substance down more quickly than they should, or have metabolic problems that lead to white matter disease.

What are the effects of white matter disease?

Finally, white matter brain disease can interfere with cognitive functions. Examples of cognitive problems as a result of white matter brain disease are short-term and long-term memory problems, slow word recall, speech impairment, depression, mood swings, anxiety and other mood disorders.

What is a subcortical white matter change?

We also find that subcortical white matter has more prominent changes than white matter close to the central brain. The observed changes in the subcortical white matter may be indicative of a mild demyelination and a loss of myelinated axons, which may contribute to normal age-related functional decline.

Ischemic white matter disease refers to small blood vessels in the brain that are clogging up a bit. This is usually not a serious condition unless the amount of small vessel disease gets to a moderate or severe degree. It is often caused by high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, or smoking.