Carotid artery plaque progression and cognitive decline: the Tromso Study 1994-2008
European Journal of Neurology, 05/21/2012
Arntzen KA et al. – The average plaque scores were associated with lower scores in all cognitive tests. Progression of plaque scores was associated with lower scores in the digit–symbol coding test and the tapping test, but not with the verbal memory test or with cognitive decline.Methods
- In the population-based Tromso study, the authors calculated the change in ultrasound-assessed carotid plaque number and total plaque area from baseline (survey 4) to follow-up 7 years later (survey 5) in 4274 middle-aged stroke-free subjects.
- Cognitive function was assessed at follow-up by the verbal memory test, the digit-symbol coding test, and the tapping test and repeated after an additional 6 years in a subgroup of 2042 subjects (survey 6).
- Associations between the average of survey 4 and survey 5 plaque scores and the progression of plaque scores and cognitive test scores were assessed in regression analyses adjusted for baseline age, sex, education, depression, and cardiovascular risk factors.
- Progression of total plaque area was associated with lower scores in the digit-symbol coding test (multivariable adjusted standardized β, -0.03; 95% CI, -0.05 to -0.00; P = 0.04) and the tapping test (β, -0.03; 95% CI, -0.06 to -0.00; P = 0.03).
- Similar results were seen for progression of plaque number.
- The average plaque scores were associated with lower scores in all cognitive tests (P-values ≤ 0.01).
- No association was found between plaque scores and cognitive decline.