Common Carotid Artery Calcification Impacts on Cognitive Function in Older Patients
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Cognitive impairment and dementia represent an emerging health problem. Cardiovascular (CV) risk factors contribute to cognitive impairment.
To investigate the effect of vascular calcification on cognitive impairment and dementia, independently of plaque and traditional CV risk factors.
Four hundred and sixty-nine patients (age of 78.6 ± 6.1 years, 74.4% women) were studied. Traditional CV risk factors levels, cognitive function (MMSE), brain CT scan, and other vascular parameters were measured. Common Carotid Artery (CCA) plaque and calcification were evaluated by ultrasound.
CCA calcification was associated with a lower MMSE score than in subjects with no CCA calcification (23.7 ± 0.3 versus 25.5 ± 0.8; p = 0.015), after controlling for age, sex, education, blood pressure levels, diabetes, creatinine, lipid lowering therapy, neuroimaging alteration, and CCA plaque. Similarly, CCA calcification was associated with higher odds of dementia regardless of the presence of CCA plaque (OR 1.70, 95% CI 1.01–2.94, p < 0.05). This trend was not observed when stratifying patients according to the presence of CCA plaque.
CCA calcification is associated with cognitive impairment and dementia, independently of established CV risk factors and CCA plaque. The impact of arterial calcification on cognition seems largely independent of arterial stiffness.
KeywordsVascular calcification Cognitive impairment Dementia Arterial stiffness Vascular aging
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
No Author has any conflict of interest to disclose.
Research involving human participants
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
The Authors declare that they have no financial interests to disclose.
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