01 May 2012. Vol.3 No.5
Cerebrovascular disease remains a significant public health burden with its greatest impact on the elderly population. Advances in neuroimaging techniques allow detailed and sophisticated evaluation of many manifestations of cerebrovascular disease in the brain parenchyma as well as in the intracranial and extracranial vasculature. These tools continue to contribute to our understanding of the multifactorial processes that occur in the age-dependent development of cerebrovascular disease. Structural abnormalities related to vascular disease in the brain and vessels have been well characterized with CT and MRI based techniques. We review some of the pathophysiologic mechanisms in the aging brain and cerebral vasculature and the related structural abnormalities detectable on neuroimaging, including evaluation of age-related white matter changes, atherosclerosis of the cerebral vasculature, and cerebral infarction. In addition, newer neuroimaging techniques, such as diffusion tensor imaging, perfusion techniques, and assessment of cerebrovascular reserve, are also reviewed, as these techniques can detect physiologic alterations which complement the morphologic changes that cause cerebrovascular disease in the aging brain.Further investigation of these advanced imaging techniques has potential application to the understanding and diagnosis of cerebrovascular disease in the elderly.