High arterial stiffness linked to faster cognitive decline

  • Araghi M & al.
  • Eur J Epidemiol
  • 27 Nov 2019

  • curated by Sarfaroj Khan
  • UK Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • High arterial stiffness was associated with a faster reduction in the global cognitive score.
  • Decline in phonemic fluency was most clearly associated with aortic stiffness.

Why this matters

  • Arterial stiffness severity may be used as an indicator to administer prompt treatments to prevent or delay the onset of cognitive decline or dementia.

Study design

  • The Whitehall II longitudinal cohort study evaluated aortic pulse wave velocity in 4300 participants who were divided into different tertiles: lowest third: 8.91 m/second.
  • Global cognitive score based on responses to memory, reasoning and fluency tests calculated thrice over 7 years of follow up.
  • Funding: UK Medical Research Council and others.

Key results

  • At baseline, participants in the highest third vs lowest third tertiles had a significant reduction in different cognitive domain outcomes as follows:
    • global cognitive score (mean difference [MD], −0.12; 95% CI, −0.18 to −0.06; P<.001>
    • memory (MD, −0.12; 95% CI, −0.19 to −0.05; P<.001>
    • reasoning (MD, −0.08; 95% CI, −0.13 to −0.02; P=.01),
    • phonemic (MD, −0.10; 95% CI, −0.17 to −0.03; P=.007) and
    • semantic (MD, −0.08; 95% CI, −0.14 to −0.01; P=.03) fluency.
  • After 7 years, a significant reduction was observed in the global cognitive score (MD, −0.06; 95% CI, −0.11 to −0.01; P=.01) and phonemic fluency (MD, −0.08; 95% CI, −0.15 to −0.01; P=.03).

Limitations

  • Cognitive data derived from white-collar civil servants may not be broadly representative.