Lower Ankle-Brachial Index Is Related to Worse Cognitive Performance in Old Age

Erika J Laukka, John M Starr, Ian J Deary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Objective: We aimed to study the associations between peripheral artery disease (PAD) and ankle-brachial index (ABI) and performance in a range of cognitive domains in nondemented elderly persons. Methods: Data were collected within the Lothian Birth Cohort 1921 and 1936 studies. These are two narrow-age cohorts at age 87 (n = 170) and 73 (n = 748) years. ABI was analyzed as a dichotomous (PAD vs. no PAD) and a continuous measure. PAD was defined as having an ABI less than 0.90. Measures of nonverbal reasoning, verbal declarative memory, verbal fluency, working memory, and processing speed were administered. Both samples were screened for dementia. Results: We observed no significant differences in cognitive performance between persons with or without PAD. However, higher ABI was associated with better general cognition (β = .23, p = .02, R2 change = .05) and processing speed (β = .29, p 1.40) and a history of cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease. Conclusion: Lower ABI is associated with worse cognitive performance in old age, especially in the oldest old (>85 years), possibly because of long-term exposure to atherosclerotic disease. Interventions targeting PAD in persons free of manifest cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease may reduce the incidence of cognitive impairment and dementia. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-289
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Early online date2 Dec 2013
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


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