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Cerebral White Matter Changes on Therapeutic Response to Rivastigmine in Alzheimer's Disease.

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Published:9th Aug 2016
Author: Ho BL, Kao YH, Chou MC, Yang YH.
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Ref.:J Alzheimers Dis. 2016;54(1):351-7.

Background: Rivastigmine has been approved in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients as it can inhibit acetyl- and butyryl-cholinesterase and provide neuroprotective effects involving the synapses. White matter changes (WMCs) are frequently observed in AD, and clinical-pathological correlations imply their possible impacts on cognitive function by interference with cortical and subcortical neuronal pathways.

Objective: To evaluate the therapeutic effects of rivastigmine in AD patients with cerebral WMCs.

Methods: Clinically diagnosed AD patients from Kaohsiung Municipal Ta-Tung hospital were recruited together with their cranial magnetic resonance imaging and a series of annual psychometric tests, including Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and sum of boxes of clinical dementia rating scale (CDR-SB). WMCs were rated through the modified Fazekas scale for the periventricular and deep WMCs.

Results: In total, 87 AD patients treated with rivastigmine were enrolled. Patients at severe stage of WMCs, compared to mild stage ones, had significant improvement evaluated by MMSE (periventricular WMCs, p = 0.025; deep WMCs, p = 0.030), but not CDR-SB. Compared to the worsening group, the clinically improving group had a significant higher ratio of pre-existing hypertension in terms of cognitive performance [p = 0.016, odds ratio (OR) = 3.48, 95% CI = 1.25-10.34], while having younger age (p = 0.043, OR = 0.11, 95% CI = 0.01-1.12) in terms of global status.

Conclusion: Rivastigmine may provide better benefits in cognitive function, but not global status, for AD patients with more advanced WMCs. The detailed mechanisms still have to be determined in future studies.


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