Disparities in Diffuse Cortical White Matter Integrity Between Socioeconomic Groups
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Type of Work14 pages
Citation of Original PublicationShaked D, Leibel DK, Katzel LI, Davatzikos C, Gullapalli RP, Seliger SL, Erus G, Evans MK, Zonderman AB and Waldstein SR (2019) Disparities in Diffuse Cortical White Matter Integrity Between Socioeconomic Groups. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 13:198. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2019.00198
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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Subjectswhite matter integrity
diffusion tensor imaging
There is a growing literature demonstrating a link between lower socioeconomic status (SES) and poorer neuroanatomical health, such as smaller total and regional gray and white matter volumes, as well as greater white matter lesion volumes. Little is known, however, about the relation between SES and white matter integrity. Here we examined the relation between SES and white matter integrity of the brain’s primary cortical regions, and evaluated potential moderating influences of age and self-identified race. Participants were 192 neurologically intact, community-dwelling African American and White adults (mean age = 52 years; 44% male, 60% White, low SES = 52%) from the Healthy Aging in Neighborhoods of Diversity across the Life Span (HANDLS) SCAN study. Participants underwent 3.0-T cranial magnetic resonance imaging. Diffusion tensor imaging was used to estimate regional fractional anisotropy (FA) to quantify the brain’s white matter integrity and trace to capture diffusivity. Multiple regression analyses examined independent and interactive associations of SES, age, and race with FA of the frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes bilaterally. Sensitivity analyses assessed the influence of several biopsychosocial risk factors on these associations. Exploratory analyses examined these relations with trace and using additional SES indicators. Results indicated there were no significant interactions of SES, age, and race for any region. Individuals with low SES had lower FA in all regions, and higher trace in the right and left frontal, right and left temporal, and left occipital lobes. Findings remained largely unchanged after inclusion of sensitivity variables. Older age was associated with lower FA and greater trace for all regions, except for the right temporal lobe with FA. No main effects were found for race in FA, and Whites had higher trace values in the parietal lobes. Novel findings of this study indicate that relative to the high SES group, low SES was associated with poorer white matter integrity and greater diffusivity. These results may, in part, reflect exposures to various biopsychosocial risk factors experienced by those of lower SES across the lifespan, and may help explain the preponderance of cognitive and functional disparities between socioeconomic groups.
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