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Diet May Moderate the Relationship between Arterial Stiffness and Cognitive Performance in Older Adults

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-01-01, 00:00 authored by Sarah GauciSarah Gauci, Lauren Young, D J White, J M Reddan, A C Lassemillante, D Meyer, A Pipingas, A Scholey
Background: Cognitive decline is influenced by various factors including diet, cardiovascular disease, and glucose control. However, the combined effect of these risk factors on cognitive performance is yet to be fully understood. Objective: The current study aimed to explore the inter-relationship between these risk factors and cognitive performance in older adults at risk of future cognitive decline. Methods: The sample comprised 163 (Age: M = 65.23 years, SD = 6.50) participants. Food Frequency Questionnaire data was used to score diet quality and adherence to the Western Style Diet (WSD) and Prudent Style Diet (PSD). Glucose control was gauged by serum levels of glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and arterial stiffness was measured using carotid to femoral pulse wave velocity. Cognitive performance was assessed using two subtests of the Swinburne University Computerized Cognitive Assessment Battery (SUCCAB) and Rey’s Verbal Learning Test (RVLT). Results: Diet quality, adherence to the WSD or PSD, and glucose control were not significantly related to cognitive outcomes. However, a significant negative association was found between arterial stiffness and the spatial working memory subtest of SUCCAB (β= –0.21, p < 0.05). Arterial stiffness also significantly interacted with the PSD to impact total recall (F change (1,134) = 5.37, p < 0.05) and the composite score of RVLT (F change (1,134) = 4.03, p < 0.05). Conclusion: In this sample of older adults at risk of cognitive decline, diet alone was not found to predict cognitive performance; however, it was found to moderate the relationship between arterial stiffness and cognition.



Journal of Alzheimer's Disease






811 - 824


IOS Press


Amsterdam, The Netherlands







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal