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J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2000 Sep;55(5):P259-65.

The relationship between signs of cardiovascular deficiency and cognitive performance in old age: a population-based study.

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  • 1Stockholm Gerontology Research Center and Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Occupational Therapy and Elderly Care Research, Karolinska Institute, Sweden.


The influence of cardiovascular signs (CVS) on cognitive performance was examined in 227 older adults not suffering from dementia between 75 and 96 years of age who were sampled from the community. Participants received a comprehensive physical examination that included specific evaluation of current CVS, including dyspnea, cardiac murmur, and edema in lower limbs. They were administered tests of digit span, episodic recall and recognition, verbal fluency, and visuospatial skill. CVS were found to predict performance on tests of episodic memory and visuospatial skill, after the effects of age, education, gender, relevant drug use, and mood symptoms were controlled for. Although CVS accounted for relatively little general performance variation, the findings are relevant to the understanding of normal variation in late-life cognitive performance. Finally, CVS increased with age and accounted for a sizable proportion of the age-related cognitive variation.

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