Relationship between arterial stiffness and cognitive function in elderly subjects with complaints of memory loss

Author(s): Hanon O, Haulon S, Lenoir H, Seux ML, Rigaud AS, et al.


Background and purpose:To evaluate the relationship between arterial stiffness and cognitive function in a population of elderly subjects reporting memory loss.

Methods:We studied the association between cognitive function and arterial stiffness in 308 consecutive elderly subjects attending a geriatric outpatient clinic reporting memory impairment. Subjects were classified into 4 categories according to neuropsychological evaluation: normal cognitive function, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), Alzheimer disease (AD), or vascular dementia (VaD). Arterial stiffness was evaluated by carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) measurement using Complior.

Results:In this population, 78+/-8 years of age (women 64%), AD was present in 41%, VaD in 6%, MCI in 27%, and 26% of subjects had normal cognitive function. After adjustment for age, gender, systolic blood pressure, education level, cardiovascular diseases, and antihypertensive therapy, a significant association was observed between PWV and cognitive status (P<0.0001). PWV appears significantly higher in subjects with VaD (15.2+/-3.9 m/s) or AD (13.3+/-2.9 m/s) than in those without cognitive impairment (11.5+/-2.0 m/s; P<0.001). Moreover, PWV was higher in subjects with MCI (12.6+/-2.6 m/s) than in those without cognitive impairment (11.5+/-2.0 m/s; P=0.01). For each 2 m/s increment in PWV, the adjusted odds ratio (95% CI) was 1.73 (1.27 to 2.47) for AD and 3.52 (1.87 to 8.05) for VaD.

Conclusions:Our results showed a relationship between arterial stiffness and cognitive impairment, suggesting that functional changes of the arterial system could be involved in the onset of dementia (VaD or AD types).

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