BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Arterial stiffness is associated with an increased risk of myocardial infarction and stroke, independent of classical vascular risk factors. Vascular factors and stroke are associated with cognitive function and dementia. We examined whether arterial stiffness was independently associated with cognitive function and dementia. METHODS: The present study was based on the Rotterdam Study, a prospective population-based cohort study ongoing since 1990. During the third examination (1997-1999) arterial stiffness was measured by assessment of pulse wave velocity and carotid distensibility. Cognitive function was assessed during the third and fourth examination (2002-2004) with a neuropsychological test battery. We used linear and logistic regression to estimate the association of arterial stiffness with cognitive function and cognitive decline. From the third examination until January 1, 2005, we identified 156 incident dementia cases. Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate the association between arterial stiffness and the risk of dementia. RESULTS: After adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors we found an association of increased pulse wave velocity with poorer performance on the Stroop test (adjusted beta-coefficient [95% confidence interval] 1.13 [0.26 to 1.99] per standard deviation increase in pulse wave velocity) but not with performance on other cognitive tests. No associations were found between measures of arterial stiffness and cognitive decline or risk of dementia after adjustment for cardiovascular factors. CONCLUSIONS: We did not identify arterial stiffness as an independent risk factor of cognitive decline or risk of dementia.

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Keywords Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Alzheimer disease, Blood Flow Velocity/physiology, Carotid Artery, Common/*physiology, Cognition Disorders/*epidemiology/*physiopathology/psychology, Cohort Studies, Cross-Sectional Studies, Dementia/*epidemiology/*physiopathology/psychology, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Netherlands, Neuropsychological Tests, Prospective Studies, Risk Factors, Vascular Resistance/*physiology, dementia, risk factors, vascular disease
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Poels, M.M.F., van Oijen, M., Mattace-Raso, F.U.S., Hofman, A., Koudstaal, P.J., Witteman, J.C.M., & Breteler, M.M.B.. (2007). Arterial stiffness, cognitive decline, and risk of dementia: the Rotterdam study. Stroke, 38(3), 888–892. doi:10.1161/01.STR.0000257998.33768.87