Midlife cardiovascular health and 20-year cognitive decline: Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study results

Hector M. González, Wassim Tarraf, Kimystian Harrison, B. Gwen Windham, Jonathan Tingle, Alvaro Alonso, Michael Griswold, Gerardo Heiss, David Knopman, Thomas H. Mosley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Introduction: The aim was to examine associations between midlife cardiovascular health (CVH) and 20-year cognitive decline among blacks and whites. Methods: Midlife CVH metrics (American Heart Association's Life's Simple 7) were calculated and examined in relation to midlife and 20-year change in cognitive function among 13,270 whites and blacks from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Cohort Study. We used linear mixed models to estimate adjusted associations of midlife CVH with midlife cognitive status and change. Results: Higher midlife (Life's Simple 7) scores and individual metrics, particularly blood pressure and glucose, were associated with better midlife cognition and reduced 20-year decline. Midlife CVH 20-year neuroprotection was more pronounced among whites than blacks. Discussion: Better midlife CVH was associated with higher midlife and reduced decline in cognitive function 20 years later. However, the benefits of midlife CVH on cognition were stronger for whites than for blacks. Our findings suggest that improved midlife CVH may promote enduring cognitive health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)579-589
Number of pages11
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018


  • African Americans
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Caucasians
  • Cognition
  • Epidemiology
  • Neurocognition
  • Whites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Health Policy
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Epidemiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Midlife cardiovascular health and 20-year cognitive decline: Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study results'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this