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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2000 Apr;903:411-23.

Cardiovascular and other risk factors for Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.

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Cerebral Blood Flow Laboratory, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


Factors accelerating cerebral degenerative changes represent potentially modifiable risks for cognitive decline. Putative risks accelerating subtle cognitive decline and dementia were correlated with repeated measures of cerebral atrophy, CT densitometry, perfusions, and cognitive testing among 224 neurologically and cognitively normative aging volunteers. After age 60, cerebral atrophy, ventricular enlargement, polioaraiosis, and leukoaraiosis geometrically increased as perfusions declined. Risks accelerating perfusional decline, cerebral atrophy, polioaraiosis, and leukoaraiosis were: transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), hypertension, smoking, hyperlipidemia, male gender. At age 71.5 +/- 11.9, subtle cognitive decline began, accelerated by TIAs, hypertension, and heart disease. Leukoaraiosis began before cognitive decline. TIAs, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia correlated with vascular dementias. Excessive cortical perfusional decreases and cerebral atrophy correlated with cognitive decline. Family history of neurodegenerative disease correlated with Alzheimer's disease. We concluded that TIAs, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, smoking, and male gender accelerate cerebral degenerative changes, cognitive decline, and dementia.

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