Abstract P043: Subclinical Atherosclerosis and Cognitive Functioning in Middle-Aged Black and White Adults: The CARDIA Study
Background: Cardiovascular risk factors in middle-age are associated with cognitive impairment and dementia in older adulthood. Less is known about the burden of subclinical atherosclerosis and cognition, especially in midlife. We examined the association of coronary artery calcified (CAC) plaque and abdominal aorto-iliac calcified (AAC) plaque presence (separately and in combination) with cognitive functioning in middle-age adults.
Methods: This study included 2,567 black and white adults without a history of heart disease or stroke who completed a year 25 follow-up exam (2010-11) as part of the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study (age: 43-55 years). CAC and AAC were measured with non-contrast computed tomography. Cognition was assessed with the Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST) (psychomotor speed), Stroop Test (executive function), and Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT) (memory).
Results: In separate analyses, presence of CAC or AAC (Agatston score >0) was associated with lower DSST (p <0.01, for both) and RAVLT scores (p=0.04, for both), but not with Stroop Test performance. In combined analyses, compared to participants without CAC nor AAC, presence of both CAC and AAC, but not CAC or AAC alone was associated with lower scores on both cognitive tests (Table).
Conclusions: The simultaneous presence of both CAC and AAC, which likely reflects more diffuse atherosclerosis, was associated with poorer cognitive performance. Further studies are needed to determine whether calcified atherosclerotic plaque is similarly associated with cognitive decline and impairment through older adulthood.
- © 2013 by American Heart Association, Inc.