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Authors Zhong W, Cruickshanks KJ, Schubert CR, Acher CW, Carlsson CM, Klein BE, Klein R, Chappell RJ
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Journal Atherosclerosis Volume: 224 Issue: 2 Pages: 506-10
Publish Date 2012 Oct
PubMed ID 22854188
PMC ID 3459157

Carotid atherosclerosis has been suggested to be involved in cognitive decline.The Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study is a longitudinal study of aging among Beaver Dam residents, WI. In 1998-2000, carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and plaque were measured by ultrasound; cognitive function was measured by the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). Follow-up examinations were conducted in 2003-2005 and 2009-2010. Incidence of cognitive impairment was defined as an MMSE score <24 or reported physician-diagnosed dementia during the follow-up. In the last examination, five additional cognitive tests were added. The associations of carotid atherosclerosis with incident cognitive impairment and cognitive test performance ten years later were evaluated.A total of 1651 participants (mean age 66.8 years, 41% men) without cognitive impairment at baseline were included in the incidence analysis. IMT was associated with incidence of cognitive impairment after multiple adjustments (hazard ratio: 1.09, p = 0.02 for each 0.1 mm increase in IMT). A total of 1311 participants with atherosclerosis data at baseline had the additional cognitive tests 10 years later. Larger IMT was associated with longer time to complete the Trail-Making Test-part B after multiple adjustments (0.1 mm IMT: 2.3 s longer, p = 0.02). Plaque was not associated with incident cognitive impairment or cognitive test performance 10 years later.In this population-based longitudinal study, carotid IMT was associated with a higher risk of developing cognitive impairment during the 10-year follow-up, and was associated with poorer performance in a test of executive function 10 years later.

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