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Pulse Wave Velocity and Cognitive Function in Older Adults

Zhong, Wenjun PhD; Cruickshanks, Karen J. PhD; Schubert, Carla R. MS; Carlsson, Cynthia M. MD, MS; Chappell, Richard J. PhD; Klein, Barbara E. K. MD, PhD; Klein, Ronald MD, PhD; Acher, Charles W. MD

Alzheimer Disease & Associated Disorders: January-March 2014 - Volume 28 - Issue 1 - p 44–49
doi: 10.1097/WAD.0b013e3182949f06
Original Articles

Arterial stiffness may be associated with cognitive function. In this study, pulse wave velocity (PWV) was measured from the carotid to femoral (CF-PWV) and from the carotid to radial (CR-PWV) with the Complior SP System. Cognitive function was measured by 6 tests of executive function, psychomotor speed, memory, and language fluency. A total of 1433 participants were included (mean age 75 y, 43% men). Adjusting for age, sex, education, pulse rate, hemoglobin A1C, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, hypertension, cardiovascular disease history, smoking, drinking, and depression symptoms, a CF-PWV>12 m/s was associated with a lower Mini-Mental State Examination score (coefficient: −0.31, SE: 0.11, P=0.005), fewer words recalled on Auditory Verbal Learning Test (coefficient: −1.10, SE: 0.43, P=0.01), and lower score on the composite cognition score (coefficient: −0.10, SE: 0.05, P=0.04) and marginally significantly associated with longer time to complete Trail Making Test-part B (coefficient: 6.30, SE: 3.41, P=0.06), CF-PWV was not associated with Trail Making Test-part A, Digit Symbol Substation Test, or Verbal Fluency Test. No associations were found between CR-PWV and cognitive performance measures. Higher large artery stiffness was associated with worse cognitive function, and longitudinal studies are needed to confirm these associations.

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Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI

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Supported by National Institute on Aging Grant AG11099 (K.J.C.), National Eye Institute grant EY06594 (B.E.K.K., R.K.), and EY13279 (K.J.C.). This study was approved by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Health Sciences Institutional Review Board, and all participants provided written informed consent.

W.Z.: drafting and revising the manuscript, study design, and analysis, interpretation of data; K.J.C.: obtaining funding, study supervision, acquisition of data, study design, and revising the manuscript; C.R.S., C.M.C., R.J.C., B.E.K.K., R.K., and C.W.A.: obtaining funding, contribution of vital tools, study design, acquisition of data, and revising the manuscript.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Wenjun Zhong, PhD, Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1036 WARF, 610 Walnut Street, Madison, WI 53726 (e-mail:

Received August 7, 2012

Accepted January 19, 2013

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.