Healthy middle-aged individuals are vulnerable to cognitive deficits as a result of increased arterial stiffness

Matthew P. Pase, Andrew Pipingas, Marni Kras, Karen Nolidin, Amy L. Gibbs, Keith A. Wesnes, Andrew B. Scholey, Con Stough

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Objectives: Whilst pulse pressure and pulse wave velocity have been shown to predict cognitive outcomes, the relationship between arterial stiffness and cognition has not yet been explored in an entirely healthy nonclinical population. Furthermore, the effects of arterial stiffness on cognition are yet to be examined with computerized cognitive test batteries sensitive to subtle differences in cognitive performance. The aim of the present study was to examine the relationship between arterial stiffness (pulse pressure and augmentation index) and specific domains of cognitive performance in a healthy middle-aged sample. Individuals and Method: The sample comprised 92 healthy individuals, aged between 40 and 65 years, with no history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, hypertension, smoking and were free from medication. The cognitive drug research (CDR) computerized system was implemented to assess domains of cognitive performance, whereas pulse pressure and augmentation index were determined centrally by a noninvasive SphygmoCor device. Results: Pulse pressure was an independent predictor of both episodic secondary memory performance (beta =-0.27, R2 change = 0.07, P < 0.05) and speed of memory retrieval (beta = 0.24, R2 change = 0.06, P < 0.05). Augmentation index was also an independent predictor of speed of memory (beta = 0.27, R2 change = 0.07, P < 0.01). Working memory, power of attention and continuity of attention were not predicted by pulse pressure or augmentation index. Conclusion: It was concluded that healthy middle-aged adults are vulnerable to memory deficits as a result of normal increases in pulse pressure associated with ageing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1724-1729
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Hypertension
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • ageing
  • arterial stiffness
  • brain
  • cognition
  • cognitive drug research (CDR)
  • hypertension
  • memory
  • pulse pressure
  • pulse wave velocity
  • reflected waves

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