Relation Between Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease and Cognition in Very Old Age: Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Findings From the Berlin Aging Study

This study documented findings on the relation between cognitive functioning (perceptual speed, memory, fluency, and knowledge) and cardiovascular and metabolic disease in a sample of very old adults (ages 70 and older), both cross-sectionally (n=516) and longitudinally (n=206) in a 4-year follow-up. After age, SES, sex, and dementia status were controlled for, 4 diagnoses were negatively associated with cognition: congestive heart failure, stroke, coronary heart disease, and diabetes mellitus, with a joint effect of 0.47 standard deviations. The impact of disease status was largest on perceptual speed and fluency, memory was impacted only by diabetes, and knowledge was not related to any somatic diagnosis. There was no differential decline in participants diagnosed with 1 of these 4 diseases and those who were not. The only cardiovascular risk factor associated with cognitive performance was alcohol consumption. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved) (from the journal abstract)