Smoking, hypercholesterolaemia and hypertension as risk factors for cognitive impairment in older adults

Olaoluwa Okusaga, Marlene C W Stewart, Isabella Butcher, Ian Deary, F Gerry R Fowkes, Jackie F Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

BACKGROUND: the prevalence of all types of cognitive impairment, including dementia, is increasing but knowledge of aetiological factors is still evolving. OBJECTIVE: this study aimed to evaluate the association between cardiovascular risk factors and cognitive function in older persons.Design, setting and subjects: a population-based cohort design involving 2,312 men and women (aged 50-75) enrolled in the University of Edinburgh Aspirin for Asymptomatic Atherosclerosis trial. METHODS: cognitive tests included the Mill Hill Vocabulary Scale, auditory verbal learning test (AVLT), digit symbol test, verbal fluency test (VFT), Raven's Progressive Matrices and the trail making test. A 'g' score (measure of general intelligence) was computed for each subject. Regression analysis was used to evaluate the association between relevant variables. RESULTS: higher diastolic BP was negatively associated with AVLT (β = -0.153, P <0.01), and with an estimated decline on AVLT (β = -0.125, P <0.01). Smoking was negatively associated with all the cognitive variables except VFT. The total cholesterol level was not associated with cognitive function or estimated decline. CONCLUSIONS: smoking and elevated blood pressure may be risk factors for cognitive decline, and thus potential targets for preventive and therapeutic interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-311
Number of pages6
JournalAge and Ageing
Issue number3
Early online date9 Jan 2013
Publication statusPublished - May 2013


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