Vol. 3 nº 4 - Oct/Nov/Dec de 2009
Original Article Páginas: 308 a 314

Association between cardiovascular disease and dementia

Authors Claudia Kimie Suemoto1, Renata Eloah Ferretti2, Lea Tenenholz Grinberg2, Kátia Cristina de Oliveira2, José Marcelo Farfel1, Renata Elaine Paraizo Leite2, Ricardo Nitrini3, Wilson Jacob Filho1, Carlos Augusto Pasqualucci2, Brazilian Aging Brain Study Group


keywords: atherosclerosis, circle of Willis, carotid artery disease, cardiomyopathy, dementia.

Longitudinal studies have shown association between cardiovascular risk factors and dementia. However, these studies are not capable of detecting asymptomatic cardiovascular alterations and thus may provide erroneous estimates of association. Autopsy studies could be more useful in elucidating these questions. The present clinicopathological study sought to examine the relationship between dementia, cardiovascular risk factors and disease. Methods: 603 subjects, who underwent autopsy, were classified regarding the presence of dementia, according to post mortem cognitive classification. Demographics, cardiovascular risk factors, and anatomically-proven cardiovascular disease (myocardial hypertrophy, cerebral and carotid atherosclerosis) were compared among cognitively normal persons and individuals with dementia. Results: Cognitive deficit was associated with advanced age, stroke, physical inactivity and low body mass index (p< 0.05). Circle of Willis atherosclerosis was greater in patients with dementia than in controls on univariate analysis (p=0.01). However, this association lost significance when adjusted by age and gender (p=0.61). Heart failure and anatomopathological cardiac parameters were more severe in the control group than in demented individuals (p< 0.05). Carotid artery atherosclerosis and intima-media thickness were similar in both groups. Conclusion: Advanced age, stroke, physical inactivity and low body mass index were linked to dementia. Circle of Willis atherosclerosis was associated with dementia only when age was not considered. Our results suggest that cerebral artery atherosclerosis was not directly associated with clinical expression of dementia.


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