Associations between midlife (but Not Late-Life) elevated coronary heart disease risk and lower cognitive performance: Results from the framingham offspring study

Nicole M. Armstrong, Katherine J. Bangen, Rhoda Au, Alden L. Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

It is unclear how coronary heart disease (CHD) risk across the adult life span affects late-life cognition. We estimated associations of midlife and late-life elevated CHD risk with cognitive trajectories (general cognitive performance, processing speed/executive function, memory) in later life (after age 55 years or age 70 years) among 2,892 Framingham Offspring Study participants who had completed CHD risk assessments approximately every 4 years since 1971 and had undergone neuropsychological testing between 1999 and 2014. We stratified analyses by apolipoprotein E gene (APOE) ϵ4 allele carrier status. Using linear mixed-effects models, elevated CHD risk in midlife (age 55 years) was associated with lower levels of general cognitive performance (β = -0.560 standard deviation (SD) units, 95% confidence interval (CI): -0.874, -0.246), executive function (β = -0.624 SD units, 95% CI: -0.916, -0.332), and memory (β = -0.560 SD units, 95% CI: -0.907, -0.213) at age 70 years but not with rates of cognitive change. Late-life (age 70 years) elevated CHD risk, however, was associated with somewhat better levels of general cognitive performance and memory. There were associations between duration of elevated CHD risk during midlife and levels (but not trajectories) of later-life cognitive outcomes. Associations were not modified by APOE-ϵ4 status. These findings suggest that midlife elevated CHD risk is associated with lower cognition, independently of APOE-ϵ4 status, suggesting that risk of vascular disease may not contribute a "second hit" to AD risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2175-2187
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Volume188
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 31 2019

Keywords

  • Alzheimer disease
  • apolipoprotein E ϵ4
  • cognition
  • coronary heart disease
  • life course

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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