Correlation of Physical Activity and Nutrition with White Matter Hyperintensity Change

Gauri Garg, Kayla Navarro, Varsha Muddasani, Ka-Ho Wong, and Dr. Adam de Havenon, Clinical Neuroscience Center, University of Utah, 175 N Medical Dr, Salt Lake City, UT 84132


Our aim is to identify a correlation between level of physical activity and nutritional intake that indicates significant white matter hyperintensity (WMH) development in the brain.


White matter hyperintensities are a radiographic marker of cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD). Individual’s levels of physical activity and nutritional intake have been hypothesized to be involved in the pathogenesis of WMH, although prior results have been inconsistent. Regular exercise can significantly reduce the risk of developing dementia and a diet rich in fiber and antioxidants can have similar effects. We will be performing a cross sectional analysis of the association between nutritional data obtained from an Automated Self-Administered 24-Hour Dietary Assessment Tool and physical activity data obtained from the International Physical Activity Questionnaire and WMH on a brain MRI.


A retrospective chart review conducted on adults with a brain MRI from the EPIC database. The primary outcome was the burden of WHM measured on the Fazekas score, as a total score and either periventricular (PVWM) or deep white matter (DWM). The Fazekas score will be read with the individual predictors of the brain MRI measurements and adjusted for potential confounders such as patient age, sex, and hypertension.


We identified patients aged 60 years or older who had a brain MRI done within the last year and were capable of all activities of daily living. We will categorize patients based on their level of physical activity and quality of nutritional intake against their WMH Fazekas score.


Physical activity and nutritional intake might help determine the extent of WMH in an individual. Discovering a relationship in asymptomatic patients could give vital information for understanding the cause of WMH which can have dramatic effects on the aging population.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Gauri Garg

Institution: University of Utah

Type: Poster

Subject: Exercise Science & Nutrition

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 7
Date/Time: Tue 3:30pm-4:30pm
Session Number: 5041