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White Matter Hyperintensities and Hypobaric Exposure
SCHOOL OF AEROSPACE MEDICINE WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH AEROMEDICAL RESEARCH DEPT
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Demonstrate occupational exposure to non-hypoxic hypobaria is associated with subcortical white matter hyperintensity WMH on fluid attenuated inversion recovery FLAIR magnetic resonance imaging MRI. Methods Eighty-three altitude chamber personnel PHY, 105 U-2 pilots U2P, and 148 age- controlled and health-matched doctorate degree controls DOC underwent high-resolution MRI. Subcortical WMH burden was quantified as count and volume of subcortical WMH lesions after transformation of images to the Talairach-atlas-based stereotactic frame. Results Subcortical WMH are more prevalent in PHY volume p0.011count p0.019 and U2P volume p less than 0.001count p less than 0.001 when compared to DOC, while PHY are not significantly different than U2P. Interpretation This study provides strong evidence that non-hypoxic hypobaric exposure may induce subcortical WMH in a young, healthy population lacking other risk factors for WMH and adds this occupational exposure to other environmentally related potential causes of WMH.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE