Title

Cardiovascular factors moderate the association of infection burden with cognitive function in young to middle-aged U.S. adults

Keywords

infectious disease, aging, dementia, cardiovascular disease

Abstract

Background

Infectious diseases might affect cognitive aging and dementia risk, possibly via neuroinflammation. Similarly, risk factors for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases are associated with cognitive function and dementia. We hypothesized that cardiovascular risk factors moderate the association of exposure to infectious diseases with cognitive function.

Methods

We studied 5662 participants aged 20 to 59 years from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1988–1994) in the United States. We used linear regression to investigate whether the Framingham general cardiovascular risk index moderated the association of infection burden based on exposure to eight different infectious diseases with cognitive functioning as measured by the Symbol Digit Substitution, Serial Digit Learning, and Reaction Time tests.

Results

The multiplicative interaction between the infection-burden index and the cardiovascular-risk index was associated with performance on the Symbol Digit Substitution (B = .019 [95% CI: .008, .031], p < .001) but not on the Serial Digit Learning (B = .034 [95% CI: -.025, .094]) or for Reaction Time (B = -.030 [95% CI: -.848, .787]). Participants with a lower cardiovascular risk appeared to be more resilient against the potential adverse effects of higher infection burden on the Symbol Digit Substitution task.

Conclusions

Participants at zero risk for a cardiovascular event in the next 10 years had no differences in processing speed with increasing exposure to infectious disease, whereas participants with higher risk for a cardiovascular event had worse processing speed with increased exposure to infectious disease.

Original Publication Citation

Hedges, Dawson W., Andrew N. Berrett, Lance D. Erickson, Bruce L. Brown, Evan Thacker, & Shawn D. Gale. (2019). Cardiovascular Factors Moderate the Association of Infection Burden with Cognitive Function in Young to Middle-aged US Adults. PLoS ONE 14(6): e0218476.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2019-06-13

Publisher

PLoS ONE

Language

English

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Department

Sociology

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor

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