Executive function, but not memory, associates with incident coronary heart disease and stroke

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Somayeh Rostamian, Mark A van Buchem, Rudi G J Westendorp, J Wouter Jukema, Simon P Mooijaart, Behnam Sabayan, Anton J M de Craen

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the association of performance in cognitive domains executive function and memory with incident coronary heart disease and stroke in older participants without dementia.

METHODS: We included 3,926 participants (mean age 75 years, 44% male) at risk for cardiovascular diseases from the Prospective Study of Pravastatin in the Elderly at Risk (PROSPER) with Mini-Mental State Examination score ≥24 points. Scores on the Stroop Color-Word Test (selective attention) and the Letter Digit Substitution Test (processing speed) were converted to Z scores and averaged into a composite executive function score. Likewise, scores of the Picture Learning Test (immediate and delayed memory) were transformed into a composite memory score. Associations of executive function and memory were longitudinally assessed with risk of coronary heart disease and stroke using multivariable Cox regression models.

RESULTS: During 3.2 years of follow-up, incidence rates of coronary heart disease and stroke were 30.5 and 12.4 per 1,000 person-years, respectively. In multivariable models, participants in the lowest third of executive function, as compared to participants in the highest third, had 1.85-fold (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.39-2.45) higher risk of coronary heart disease and 1.51-fold (95% CI 0.99-2.30) higher risk of stroke. Participants in the lowest third of memory had no increased risk of coronary heart disease (hazard ratio 0.99, 95% CI 0.74-1.32) or stroke (hazard ratio 0.87, 95% CI 0.57-1.32).

CONCLUSION: Lower executive function, but not memory, is associated with higher risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. Lower executive function, as an independent risk indicator, might better reflect brain vascular pathologies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeurology
Volume85
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)783-789
Number of pages7
ISSN0028-3878
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2015

ID: 146207194