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Cognitive Test Scores in Young Men and Subsequent Risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular Morbidity, and Death

Schmidt, Mortena,b,c; Johannesdottir, Sigrun A.a,b; Lemeshow, Stanleya,b; Lash, Timothy L.a,d; Ulrichsen, Sinna P.a; Bøtker, Hans Erikc; Sørensen, Henrik Tofta

doi: 10.1097/EDE.0b013e31829e0ea2
Cardiovascular Disease

Background: The association between cognitive scores in young adulthood and long-term cardiometabolic risks remains unclear.

Methods: Using population-based registries, we followed 6502 military conscripts from their 22nd birthday until death, emigration, or 55 years of age. We calculated risks and hazard ratios (HRs) associating quartiles of cognitive scores (very high, high, moderate, and low) with type 2 diabetes, hypertension, myocardial infarction, stroke, venous thromboembolism, and death before age 55 years.

Results: The 33-year risk of the combined outcome was inversely associated with cognitive scores (26% for low and 16% for very high scores). Compared with very high scores, the HR for the combined outcome was 1.20 (95% confidence interval = 1.02, 1.41) for high, 1.43 (1.22, 1.68) for moderate, and 1.67 (1.43, 1.95) for low scores. Similar HRs were observed for individual outcomes.

Conclusion: Low cognitive score in young adulthood was a strong predictor for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular morbidity, and death before 55 years of age.

Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text.

From the aDepartment of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark; bThe Ohio State University College of Public Health, Columbus, OH; cDepartment of Cardiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark; and dDepartment of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.

Supplemental digital content is available through direct URL citations in the HTML and PDF versions of this article ( This content is not peer-reviewed or copy-edited; it is the sole responsibility of the author.

Correspondence: Morten Schmidt, Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Olof Palmes Allé 43–45, DK-8200, Aarhus N, Denmark. E-mail:

Received December 15, 2012

Accepted March 26, 2013

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc