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Arterial Stiffening May be Associated With Dementia

Arterial stiffening reduces the buffering of pulsatile blood flow, exposing cerebral small arteries to microvascular damage. A recent study suggests that people with arterial stiffening may be at a higher risk of developing dementia.


Participants in the study included 356 people who took part in the 15-year Cardiovascular Health Study Cognition Study. During the initial study period, from 1992 to 1994, 924 people had a brain MRI.  By 1998, 199 participants were deceased, 116 had dementia, 77 did not have a detailed cognitive evaluation, and 176 had generally lower scores on the cognitive evaluation. That left 356 dementia-free participants for inclusion in the analysis of the association between dementia and arterial stiffening.


The researchers performed a cognitive assessment of the 356 participants annually until 2013. They also measured aortic stiffness via carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity.


During the study period, 212 participants developed dementia. After analyzing the data, the researchers found that participants with a higher carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity at the mean age of 78 had a 60% higher risk of developing dementia.


Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh conducted the study. It was published on October 16, 2018, in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

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