Objective: We hypothesized that infectious burden (IB), a composite serologic measure of exposure to common pathogens (i.e., Chlamydia pneumoniae, Helicobacter pylori, cytomegalovirus, and herpes simplex virus 1 and 2) associated with vascular risk in the prospective Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS), would also be associated with cognition. Methods: Cognition was assessed using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) at enrollment and the modified Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status (TICS-m) at annual follow-up visits. Adjusted linear and logistic regressions were used to measure the association between IB index and MMSE. Generalized estimating equation models were used to evaluate associations with TICS-m and its change over time. Results: Serologies and cognitive assessments were available in 1,625 participants of the NOMAS cohort. In unadjusted analyses, higher IB index was associated with worse cognition (change per standard deviation [SD] of IB for MMSE was 20.77, p < 0.0001, and for first measurements of TICS-m was 21.89, p < 0.0001). These effects were attenuated after adjusting for risk factors (for MMSE adjusted change per SD of IB = 20.17, p = 0.06, for TICS-m adjusted change per SD IB = 20.68, p < 0.0001). IB was associated with MMSE ≤24 (compared to MMSE >24, adjusted odds ratio 1.26 per SD of IB, 95% confidence interval 1.06-1.51). IB was not associated with cognitive decline over time. The results were similar when IB was limited to viral serologies only. Conclusion: A measure of IB associated with stroke risk and atherosclerosis was independently associated with cognitive performance in this multiethnic cohort. Past infections may contribute to cognitive impairment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology