White matter disease exacts heavy toll, increasing risk of stroke, Alzheimer's, dementia
More evidence has been accumulated that damage to cognitive areas is widespread from white matter disease. White matter disease is responsible for about a fifth of all strokes worldwide, more than doubles the future risk of stroke, and is a contributing factor in up to 45% of dementias. Unlike Alzheimer's disease, which shrinks the hippocampus causing progressive memory loss, white matter disease is a more diffuse mind-robbing condition that targets small blood vessels deep within the brain's white matter. The disease hardens the tiny arteries, gradually restricting nutrients to white matter -- the connections between brain regions involved in executive abilities such as planning, organizing, problem-solving, and attention.
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