Vascular risk factors and cognitive function in a sample of independently living men

André Aleman, Majon Muller, Edward H.F. De Haan, Yvonne T. Van Der Schouw

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Decline of cognitive function with age may be due, in part, to atherosclerotic changes. The aim of the present study was to determine the relative contribution of vascular risk factors to cognitive functioning in a non-clinical sample of men. Cognitive tests were administered to 400 independently living men aged 40-80 years. The measures included short-term memory, speed of information processing, verbal and visual long-term memory, word fluency, cognitive flexibility, an estimate of verbal intelligence, and general cognitive status. Systolic blood pressure, serum cholesterol, glucose levels, smoking, alcohol intake, body mass index, homocysteine and peak expiratory flow rate were entered as independent variables into a multiple regression model, after adjustment for age and education. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed independent contributions of the combination of vascular risk factors in explaining the observed variance in performance on tests of cognitive functioning targeted at information processing capacity and speed and general cognitive status. Of the individual predictor variables, alcohol intake and homocysteine levels were significantly associated with processing capacity and speed, and peak expiratory flow rate was significantly associated with general cognitive status. Our results indicate that the combination of several independent vascular risk factors predicts performance on cognitive tests of information processing capacity and speed in a population-based sample of middle-aged and elderly men.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-490
Number of pages6
JournalNeurobiology of aging
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2005


  • Cognition
  • Elderly
  • Processing speed
  • Vascular risk factors

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