Dawson Fingers in Older Adults with Cerebral Small Vessel Disease: A Population Study

Oscar H. Del Brutto, Robertino M. Mera, Aldo F. Costa, Patricia Silva, Victor J. Del Brutto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Dawson fingers are used to differentiate multiple sclerosis (MS) from other conditions that affect the subcortical white matter. However, there are no studies evaluating the presence of Dawson fingers in subjects with cerebral small vessel disease (cSVD). We aimed to assess prevalence and correlates of Dawson fingers in older adults with cSVD-related moderate- to-severe white matter hyperintensities (WMH). Community- dwelling older adults residing in rural Ecuador - identified by means of door-to-door surveys - underwent a brain MRI. Exams of individuals with cSVD-related moderateto- severe WMH were reviewed with attention to the presence of Dawson fingers. Of 590 enrolled individuals, 172 (29%) had moderate-to-severe WMH. Of these, 18 (10.5%) had Dawson fingers. None had neurological manifestations suggestive of MS. Increasing age was independently associated with Dawson fingers (p = 0.017). Dawson fingers may be less specific for MS than previously thought. Concomitant damage of deep medullary veins may explain the presence of Dawson fingers in cSVD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-425
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • Cerebral small vessel disease
  • Dawson fingers
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • White matter hyperintensities of presumed vascular origin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Dawson Fingers in Older Adults with Cerebral Small Vessel Disease: A Population Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this