Abstract

Background:

Adults with moyamoya disease (MMD) have been shown to manifest cognitive impairment, but it is unclear whether this is the result of ischemic stroke.

Objective:

To determine whether adults with MMD but without stroke have cognitive impairment.

Methods:

We performed detailed neuropsychological assessments in 30 adults with angiographically confirmed MMD without magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) evidence of stroke.

Results:

Twenty patients (67%) exhibited small T2 hyperintensities in the cerebral subcortical white matter on brain MRI but no evidence of gray matter damage. Significant cognitive impairment, defined as half of test scores ≥ 1 SD below the normal mean, was present in 7 patients (23%). Executive functioning, mental efficiency, and word finding were the ability areas most frequently impaired, whereas memory was relatively intact. Clinically significant emotional distress (depression and/or anxiety) was present in 11 patients (37%). Comparable cognitive findings were also observed in the subset of 10 patients (33%) with completely normal static brain MRI.

Conclusion:

Cognitive impairment in MMD can occur in the absence of ischemic stroke as manifested on MRI.

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