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Retinal Biomarkers Discovery for Cerebral Small Vessel Disease in an Older Population

Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS,volume 1248)


The retinal and cerebral microvasculatures share many morphological and physiological properties. In this pilot we study the strength of the associations between morphological measurements of the retinal vasculature, obtained from fundus camera images, and of features of Small Vessel Disease (SVD), as white matter hyperintensities (WMH) and perivascular spaces (PVS), obtained from MRI brain scans. We performed a 500-trial bootstrap analysis with Regularized Gaussian linear regression on a cohort of older community-dwelling subjects (Lothian Birth Cohort 1936, N = 866) in their eighth decade. Arteriolar bifurcation coefficients, vessel tortuosity and fractal dimension predicted WMH volume in 23% of the trials. Arteriolar widths, venular bifurcation coefficients, and venular tortuosity predicted PVS in up to 99.6% of the trials.


  • Small vessel disease
  • Retina
  • Biomarkers

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The LBC1936 Study ( was funded by Age UK and the UK Medical Research Council (MR/R02462/1, MR/013111/1, G1001245, Ref. 82800) (including the Sidney De Haan Award for Vascular Dementia). Funds were also received from The University of Edinburgh Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, part of the cross council Lifelong Health and Wellbeing Initiative (MR/K026992/1), and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). The work was also funded by the EPSRC grant [LB EP/M005976/1], the Fondation Leducq Network for the Study of Perivascular Spaces in Small Vessel Disease [LB 16 CVD 05], the Row Fogo Charitable Trust [MVH Grant No. BROD.FID3668413], the European Union Horizon 2020 [PHC-03-15, project No 666881, “SVDs@Target”], the UK Dementia Research Institute at the University of Edinburgh and the British Heart Foundation Centre for Research Excellence, Edinburgh.

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Correspondence to Lucia Ballerini .

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Ballerini, L. et al. (2020). Retinal Biomarkers Discovery for Cerebral Small Vessel Disease in an Older Population. In: Papież, B., Namburete, A., Yaqub, M., Noble, J. (eds) Medical Image Understanding and Analysis. MIUA 2020. Communications in Computer and Information Science, vol 1248. Springer, Cham.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-52790-7

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