Pulse wave velocity and cognitive decline in elders: The health, aging, and body composition study

Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri, Anne B. Newman, Eleanor Simonsick, Kaycee M. Sink, Kim Sutton Tyrrell, Nora Watson, Suzanne Satterfield, Tamara Harris, Kristine Yaffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE - : Arterial stiffness is a measure of subclinical cardiovascular disease and increases with age. This study examines the association between arterial stiffness and cognitive decline in a cohort of older adults. METHODS - : A total of 2488 subjects with baseline measure of arterial stiffness (mean age, 74.2 years; 52.3% women) were prospectively followed over 9 years in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study. Arterial stiffness was measured as pulse wave velocity (PWV) and analyzed in tertiles. Cognitive function was assessed using the Modified Mini-Mental State examination at baseline and repeated at years 3, 5, 8, and 10. Lower Modified Mini-Mental State examination scores indicate worse function. We fit linear mixed models to examine longitudinal changes in cognitive function over the 9 years of follow-up and logistic regression models, restricted to 1331 participants, to examine cognitive impairment defined as a decrease of ≥5 points after 9 years. We adjusted for sociodemographics, Apoe4, and cardiovascular disease risk factors. RESULTS - : The annual decrease in Modified Mini-Mental State examination scores was 0.30 points at low PWV (95% confidence interval [CI], -0.37 to -0.22), 0.46 points at middle PWV (95% CI, -0.54 to -0.39), and 0.45 points at high PWV (95% CI, -0.53 to -0.38), from fully adjusted linear mixed models. In fully adjusted models, the odds of cognitive impairment after 9 years of follow-up was 40% greater for subjects with middle PWV (odds ratio [OR], 1.40; 95% CI, 1.03-1.92) and 59% greater for subjects with high PWV (OR, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.16-2.18), compared with low PWV. CONCLUSIONS - : High arterial stiffness was modestly associated with cognitive decline and impairment. Interventions to prevent arterial stiffness may be effective in delaying cognitive decline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-393
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • arterial stiffness
  • cognitive impairment
  • epidemiology
  • hypertension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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