Silent brain infarctions and cognition decline: systematic review and meta-analysis.


Silent brain infarction (SBI) may be associated with cognitive decline in the general population. We systematically reviewed prior literature on: (1) SBI and cognition cross-sectionally; (2) baseline SBI and future cognitive decline and risk for cognitive disorders including dementia, and (3) incident SBI and the emergence of cognitive decline or cognitive disorders.The MEDLINE and EMBASE databases were searched for relevant studies. Data were independently extracted by two reviewers. Quality was assessed using the Newcastle Ottawa Scale. Data were pooled using a random effects model when more than two comparable estimates were found.Thirty relevant studies were identified: 17 had a cross-sectional design, 10 evaluated the association of baseline SBI with future cognitive decline, and 5 evaluated the association of incident SBI with cognitive decline. Most cross-sectional studies reported lower cognitive performance in persons with SBI. The pooled risk for incident dementia in persons with SBI was 1.48 (95% CI 1.12-1.97), but there was significant heterogeneity (p = 0.009); removing one outlier eliminated the heterogeneity (p = 0.53), giving a lower but still significant estimate (hazard ratio 1.27, 95% CI 1.06-1.51). The pooled risk for incident MCI was not increased in persons with SBI (hazard ratio 0.83, 95% CI 0.40 to 1.72), but there was significant heterogeneity (p 

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