Background: Previous studies have assessed the association between ankle-brachial index (ABI) and cognition, mainly using brief cognitive tests. We investigated whether ABI was associated with cognition independent of neuroimaging markers of cerebrovascular disease. Methods: Chinese subjects (n = 278, aged ≥60 years) were recruited from the ongoing Epidemiology of Dementia in Singapore (EDIS) Study. Ankle and brachial blood pressures were measured, and low ABI was defined as ≤0.9. A neuropsychological battery was utilized to determine cognition. Cognitive impairment no dementia (CIND) and dementia were diagnosed according to standard diagnostic criteria. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to obtain semiquantitative and quantitative markers of cerebrovascular disease and atrophy. Results: A low ABI was related to the presence of intracranial stenosis (odds ratio, OR = 1.71; 95% confidence interval, CI: 1.13-2.59), but not with the presence of infarcts, microbleeds or grey matter, white matter and white matter lesion volumes. Furthermore, a low ABI was associated with poorer overall cognitive function and CIND-moderate/dementia (OR = 2.26; 95% CI: 1.11-4.59), independent of cardiovascular risk factors, and the MRI markers related to cerebrovascular disease and atrophy. Conclusion: We found an association between a low ABI and cognitive impairment, independent of any MRI marker of cerebral small vessel disease or large artery atherosclerotic disease.

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Department of Radiology

Hilal, S., Saini, S. S., Tan, C. S., Catindig, J.-A., Dong, Y. H., Leon, L. B. S., … Ikram, K. (2014). Ankle-brachial index, cognitive impairment and cerebrovascular disease in a Chinese population. Neuroepidemiology, 42(2), 131–138. doi:10.1159/000357372