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A Meta-Analysis of Association between Cerebral Microbleeds and Cognitive Impairment

Rihan Wu, Chao Feng, Yanxin Zhao, Ai-Ping Jin, Min Fang, Xueyuan Liu

Department of Neurology, Shanghai Tenth People’s Hospital of Tongji University, Shanghai, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2014; 20:2189-2198

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.891004

Available online:

Published: 2014-11-07


Abstract: Background: The clinical effect of cerebral microbleeds (CMBs) on cognition has been receiving much research attention, but results are often inconsistent.
Material/Methods: We searched PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and some Chinese electronic databases. A total of 15 studies were included.
Results: Patients with CMBs had higher incidence of cognitive dysfunction (OR 3.14; 95% CI 1.66–5.92) and lower scores of cognitive function (SMD was –0.36 [–0.55, –0.18] in the MMSE group and –0.65 [–0.99, –0.32] in the MoCA [Montreal Cognitive Assessment] group). The results also indicated that a higher number of CMB lesions led to more severe cognitive dysfunction (SMD was –2.41 [–5.04, –0.21] in the mild group and –2.75 [–3.50, –2.01] in the severe group). We also found that cognitive performance was significantly impaired when CMBs were located in deep (–0.4 [–0.69, –0.11]), lobar regions (–0.50 [–0.92, –0.09]), basal ganglia (–0.72 [–1.03, –0.41]), and thalamus brain regions (–0.65 [–0.98, –0.32]).
Conclusions: This meta-analysis showed that CMBs were associated with cognitive dysfunction according to higher number and different locations of CMBs. Future work should focus on long-term prognosis of continuing cognitive decline and specific treatments to reduce the formation of CMBs.

Keywords: Adult, Cerebral Hemorrhage - pathology, Cognition Disorders - etiology, Incidence, Publication Bias



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