Imaging-based indices of Neuropathology and gait speed decline in older adults: the atherosclerosis risk in communities study

Kevin J. Sullivan, Radhikesh Ranadive, Dan Su, Blake R. Neyland, Timothy M. Hughes, Christina E. Hugenschmidt, Samuel N. Lockhart, Dean F. Wong, Clifford R. Jack, Rebecca F. Gottesman, Thomas H. Mosley, Michael E. Griswold, B. Gwen Windham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Imaging markers of cerebrovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are implicated in mobility impairment in older adults, but few studies have examined these relationships longitudinally in a racially-diverse population-based sample. At Visit 5 (2011–13) of the ARIC Study, 1859 participants had usual pace gait speed (cm/s) assessed and brain MRI (mean age = 76.3, 28.5% Black) and PET (n = 343; mean age = 75.9, 42.6% Black) measures including total/regional brain volume (cm3), white matter hyperintensities (WMH; cm3), infarcts (present/absent), microbleeds (count) and global beta-amyloid (Aβ). Participants returned at Visit 6 (n = 1264, 2016–17) and Visit 7 (n = 1108, 2018–19) for follow-up gait speed assessments. We used linear regression to estimate effects of baseline infarct presence, higher microbleed count, and a one interquartile range (IQR) poorer measures of continuous predictors (−1 IQR total brain volume, temporal-parietal lobe meta region of interest(ROI); +1 IQR WMH volume, global Aβ SUVR) on cross-sectional gait speed and change in gait speed adjusting for age, sex, education, study site, APOE e4, estimated intracranial volume, BMI, and cardiovascular risk factors. Cross-sectionally, slower gait speed outcome was associated with higher WMH volume, −3.38 cm/s (95%CI:-4.71, −2.04), infarct presence, −5.60 cm/s (−7.69, −3.51), microbleed count, −2.20 cm/s (−3.20, −0.91), smaller total brain volume, −9.26 cm/s (−12.1, −6.43), and smaller temporal-parietal lobe ROI -6.28 cm/s (−8.28, −4.28). Longitudinally, faster gait speed outcome decline was associated with higher WMH volume, −0.27 cm/s/year, (−0.51, −0.03) and higher global Aβ SUVR, −0.62 cm/s/year (−1.20, −0.03). Both cerebrovascular and AD pathology may contribute to mobility decline commonly seen with aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2387-2396
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Imaging and Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Amyloid
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Neuroimaging
  • Physical function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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