Pharmacological treatment of increased vascular risk and cognitive performance in middle-aged and old persons: six-year observational longitudinal study

M.E.A. van Eersel*, S.T. Visser, H. Joosten, R.T. Gansevoort, J.P.J. Slaets, G.J. Izaks

*Corresponding author for this work

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BackgroundLowering vascular risk is associated with a decrease in the prevalence of cardiovascular disease and dementia. However, it is still unknown whether lowering of vascular risk with pharmacological treatment preserves cognitive performance in general. Therefore, we compared the change in cognitive performance in persons with and without treatment of vascular risk factors.MethodsIn this longitudinal observational study, 256 persons (mean age, 58years) were treated for increased vascular risk during a mean follow-up period of 5.5years (treatment group), whereas 1678 persons (mean age, 50years) did not receive treatment (control group). Cognitive performance was three times measured during follow-up using the Ruff Figural Fluency Test (RFFT) and Visual Association Test (VAT), and calculated as the average of standardized RFFT and VAT score per participant. Because treatment allocation was nonrandomized, additional analyses were performed in demographic and vascular risk-matched samples and adjusted for propensity scores.ResultsIn the treatment group, mean (SD) cognitive performance changed from -0.30 (0.80) to -0.23 (0.80) to 0.02 (0.87), and in control group, from 0.08 (0.77) to 0.24 (0.79) to 0.49 (0.74) at the first, second and third measurement, respectively (p(trend) <0.001). After adjustment for demographics and vascular risk, the change in cognitive performance during follow-up was not statistically significantly different between the treatment and control group: mean estimated difference, -0.10 (95%CI -0.21 to 0.01; p =0.08). Similar results were found in matched samples and after adjustment for propensity score.ConclusionChange in cognitive performance during follow-up was similar in treated and untreated persons. This suggests that lowering vascular risk preserves cognitive performance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number242
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Neurology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2020


  • adults
  • albuminuria
  • cardiovascular disease
  • care
  • cognitive performance
  • decline
  • dementia
  • health
  • intervention
  • microalbuminuria
  • observational longitudinal analysis
  • population
  • preventing cognitive impairment
  • prevention
  • treatment of increased vascular risk
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • CARE
  • Cognitive performance
  • Preventing cognitive impairment
  • Treatment of increased vascular risk
  • Observational longitudinal analysis

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