Calcified neurocysticercosis has been associated with hippocampal atrophy in patients with refractory epilepsy, but the relevance of this association in the population at large is unknown. We assessed calcified cysticerci and its association with hippocampal atrophy in elderly persons living in Atahualpa, an Ecuadorian village endemic for neurocysticercosis. All Atahualpa residents ≥ 60 years of age were invited to undergo computed tomography/magnetic resonance imaging for neurocysticercosis detection. Twenty-eight (11%) out of 248 enrolled persons had calcified cysticerci (case-patients) and were matched 1:1 by age, sex, and years of education to individuals without neurocysticercosis on computed tomography/magnetic resonance imaging (controls). Four case-patients and none of the controls had epilepsy (P = 0.134). Cognitive performance was similar across both groups. The Scheltens' medial temporal atrophy scale was used for hippocampal rating in case-patients and matched controls without neurocysticercosis. Mean score in the Scheltens' scale was higher in case-patients than in controls (P < 0.001). Atrophic hippocampi were noticed in 19 case-patients and five controls (P = 0.003). Atrophy was bilateral in 11 case-patients and unilateral in eight. All case-patients with unilateral hippocampal atrophy had at least one ipsilateral calcification. This study shows an association between calcified cysticerci and hippocampal atrophy and raises the possibility of an inflammation-mediated hippocampal damage as the responsible mechanism for these findings.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases