Associations between cardiovascular disease risk factors and executive function in the NutCog Study
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Introduction: There is growing evidence for a role of cardiovascular disease risk factors (CVDRF) in the development of cognitive deficits during aging. Observational studies have shown that elevated plasma homocysteine (Hcy) and indicators of lipid metabolism are potentially modifiable risk factors for cognitive aging. Executive functions (EF) which refer to the brain components involved in the planning and control of complex tasks is one cognitive domain affected by aging. Objective: Explore the associations between circulating CVDRF markers and EF in community-dwelling elderly individuals. Methods: Plasma Hcy and serum indicators of lipid metabolism and EF were assessed in 159 men and 193 women (mean age = 77.3 y, SD=3.9) from the NutCog Study, a sub-study of the Quebec Longitudinal Study on Nutrition and Aging. EF were assessed using components of the Rey Complex-Figure copying, the Stroop test, the Browne Peterson procedure, and the (WAIS-III) Digit Symbol-Coding subtest. Associations between circulating markers and EF were assessed at recruitment and two years later using regression models. Results: Increased plasma levels of Hcy (p=0.0005) and serum triglycerides (p=0.0263) were associated with lower EF at both time points whilst higher levels of serum high density of lipoproteins (HDL) were marginally associated (p = 0.0617) with better performances. Conclusion: These preliminary results add to the hypothesis of a link between cardiovascular health and cognition in aging. The fact that CVDRF are modifiable through diet and exercise suggest that EF could be ameliorated in the elderly through lifestyle changes. The study was funded by the Réseau Québécois de recherche sur le vieillissement.
Université de Montréal
***Original Source: "2016 CNS Annual Conference", Friday May 6, 2016
Last Updated: May 30, 2016
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