- Carotid atherosclerosis is consistently linked to cognitive impairment in the very old and affects the association with latent cytomegalovirus infection (CMV) infection.
- In the Tokyo Oldest Old Survey on Total Health, 494 community-dwelling participants >85 years without baseline dementia underwent Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and other testing at baseline and 3-year follow-up.
- Mean MMSE scores were 1.08 points lower in persons with high carotid artery ultrasound plaque score (≥5.0) than in those without plaque (95%CI -1.95 to -0.20; P=.016), adjusted for age, sex, and education.
- MMSE scores were 1.47 points lower In persons with CMV IgG titers in the highest vs. lowest quartile (-2.44 to -0.50; P=.003).
- CMV interacted with carotid atherosclerosis, but CMV was associated with MMSE only in persons with plaque.
- After adjustment for age, sex, education, and baseline cognitiion, predictors of faster cognitive decline were atherosclerosis, smoking, low grip strength, and poor activities of daily living.
- Findings might not apply to non-Japanese populations.
Why this matters
- The effect of carotid atherosclerosis on the association of cognitive impairment with latent CMV infection suggests possible interventions.