Abstract 3580: Arterial Stiffness is an Independent Predictor of Cognitive Decline in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging
Pulse pressure (PP) and pulse wave velocity (PWV) are markers of arterial stiffness that have been associated with stroke, dementia, and lowered levels of cognitive function. We examined longitudinal relations of PP and PWV to cognitive function among 1,527 non-demented and stroke-free participants from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. Participants completed tests of verbal and nonverbal memory, attention, perceptuo-motor speed, confrontation naming, executive functions, and a cognitive screening measure, and concurrent sphygmo-manometric assessment of blood pressure (for derivation of PP) on one to eight occasions over 19 years. A subset (n = 490) of participants also underwent a single baseline assessment of PWV and cognitive assessment on one to six occasions over 13 years. Mixed-effects regression models were adjusted for education, gender, depression scores, antihypertensive medications, mean arterial pressure, and heart rate, and age was modeled as a random effect (to index time). Results revealed prospective decline on tests of verbal and nonverbal memory, working memory, semantic fluency, and a cognitive screening measure among those with increasing levels of PP (p’s < 0.05). Persons with higher baseline PWV also exhibited prospective decline on tests of verbal and nonverbal memory and a cognitive screening measure (p’s < 0.05). Thus, markers of arterial stiffness are associated prospectively with cognitive decline prior to dementia. Aggressive treatment of risk factors related to greater arterial stiffness may help preserve cognitive function with individuals’ increasing age.