Neuropsychological profiles of vascular disease and risk of dementia: implications for defining vascular cognitive impairment no dementia (VCI-ND)

Blossom Christa Maree Stephan, Thais Minett, Graciela Muniz-Terrera, Stephanie L Harrison, Fiona E Matthews, Carol Brayne

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Background: vascular cognitive impairment no dementia (VCI-ND) defines a preclinical phase of cognitive decline associated with vascular disorders. The neuropsychological profile of VCI-ND may vary according to different vascular conditions.

Objective: to determine the neuropsychological profile of individuals with no dementia and vascular disorders, including hypertension, peripheral vascular disease (PVD), coronary heart disease (CHD), diabetes and stroke. Risk of 2-year incident dementia in individuals with disease and cognitive impairment was also tested.

Methods: participants were from the Cognitive Function and Ageing Study. At baseline, 13,004 individuals aged ≥65 years were enrolled into the study. Individuals were grouped by baseline disorder status (present, absent) for each condition. Cognitive performance was assessed using the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) and the Cambridge Cognitive Examination (CAMCOG). Dementia was assessed at 2 years.

Results: in the cross-sectional analysis, hypertension, PVD and CHD were not associated with cognitive impairment. Stroke was associated with impaired global (MMSE) and CAMCOG sub-scale (including memory and non-memory) scores. Diabetes was associated with impairments in global cognitive function (MMSE) and abstract thinking. In the longitudinal analysis, cognitive impairments were associated with incident dementia in all groups.

Conclusion: the neuropsychological profile in individuals with vascular disorders depends on the specific condition investigated. In all conditions cognitive impairment is a risk factor for dementia. A better understanding of which cognitive domains are affected in different disease groups could help improve operationalisation of the neuropsychological criteria for VCI-ND and could also aid with the development of dementia risk prediction models in persons with vascular disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)755-760
Number of pages6
JournalAge and Ageing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Sept 2017
Externally publishedYes


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