according to the results of a large prospective study with a median of 12 years of follow-up.
“We found that incident CHD was significantly associated with faster post–CHD-diagnosis cognitive decline, but not pre–CHD-diagnosis or short-term cognitive decline after the event,” Wuxiang Xie, PhD, of Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, and associates wrote in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Linear mixed models showed that cognitive decline sped up during the year after incident CHD.
Past research had suggested a link between accelerated cognitive decline and CHD, but the temporal pattern of the relationship was unclear. For the study, Dr. Xie and associates followed 7,888 adults from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging who were an average of 62 years old and had no history of stroke, MI, angina, or dementia (Alzheimer’s disease or otherwise). All participants underwent a baseline cognitive assessment for verbal memory, semantic fluency, and temporal orientation, plus a median of six follow-up assessments.
In all, 480 (6%) participants developed CHD during follow-up. Their rate of cognitive decline remained constant before and immediately after their CHD diagnosis, but in subsequent years, they experienced significant accelerations in loss of global cognitive function, verbal memory, and temporal orientation even after accounting for time and many demographic and clinical variables. For example, the slope representing temporal change in global cognitive score decreased by a mean of 0.039 per year, compared with the pre-CHD slope (slope difference, –0.039; 95% confidence interval, –0.063 to –0.015; P =. 002). Semantic fluency also declined faster after CHD, but the difference, compared with before CHD, did not reach statistical significance (P = .11).
Individuals without CHD showed no such accelerations in cognitive decline throughout follow-up in adjusted models, the researchers wrote. “Based on repeated cognitive measurements over a long follow-up period, this study revealed a reliable and robust trajectory of cognitive decline [after CHD]. Future studies are warranted to determine the precise mechanisms linking incident CHD to cognitive decline.”
Funders included the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Beijing Natural Science Foundation, and the Newton International Fellowship from the Academy of Medical Sciences. The researchers reported having no relevant financial disclosures.
SOURCE: Xie W et al. J Amer Coll Cardiol. 2019 Jun 17. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2019.04.019.