White matter disease of the brain: what do we know about it? Should I worry?

Braindisease's Weblog

I frequently get asked about white matter disease of the brain. It is commonly reported when MRI scans are carried out causing concern to patients and family alike. So in this blog post that is the topic we shall discuss.

Just what is white matter disease of the brain? As you all may be aware of in very simple terms the brain is made of grey matter (comprising the cell bodies of the neurons) and white matter (fiber tracts). Think of white matter disease as changes seen in the white matter of different parts (lobes) of the brain visualized on a MRI scan of the brain. Either the white matter appears scarred or atrophic. If the white matter is examined under the microscope, degenerative (ischemic) changes are visualized in the small blood vessels hence the term ischemic microvascular small vessel disease is sometimes used. A point to remember here is…

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