The Whitehall II study has been supported by grants from the Medical Research Council; British Heart Foundation; Health and Safety Executive; Department of Health; National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (HL36310); National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging (AG13196); National Institutes of Health, Agency for Health Care Policy Research (HS06516); and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Networks on Successful Midlife Development and Socioeconomic Status and Health. Professor Michael Marmot is supported by an MRC Research Professorship.
Vascular Disease and Cognitive Function: Evidence from the Whitehall II Study
Article first published online: 23 SEP 2003
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
Volume 51, Issue 10, pages 1445–1450, October 2003
How to Cite
Singh-Manoux, A., Britton, A. R. and Marmot, M. (2003), Vascular Disease and Cognitive Function: Evidence from the Whitehall II Study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 51: 1445–1450. doi: 10.1046/j.1532-5415.2003.51464.x
- Issue published online: 23 SEP 2003
- Article first published online: 23 SEP 2003
- vascular disease;
- cognitive impairment;
- socioeconomic position;
- Whitehall II
Objectives: To test the hypothesis of an inverse association between indicators of vascular disease and cognitive function in the general, stroke-free population.
Design: A longitudinal, British civil service–based cohort study. Measures of vascular disease examined were prevalent at baseline or traced over a median of 11 years, between Phases 1 (1985–1988) and 5 (1997–1999) of data collection. Cognitive function was assessed at Phase 5 of data collection.
Setting: Twenty London-based Civil Service departments.
Participants: Four thousand one hundred forty-one men and 1,681 women, aged 46 to 68 when tested for cognitive function.
Measurements: A battery of cognitive tests consisting of: memory test, Alice Heim 4, Mill-Hill, phonemic, and semantic fluency.
Results: The occurrence of angina pectoris (P<.001), myocardial infarction (P=.02), all coronary heart disease (P<.001), and intermittent claudication (P=.004) was associated with poor cognitive function. These effects were independent of age and socioeconomic status. The association between indicators of vascular disease and cognitive function applied to the entire range of cognitive function measures examined in the study.
Conclusion: The findings support the view that vascular disease is predictive of poor cognitive function in the general population. The fact that presence of vascular disease was associated with diminished cognitive function even in a relatively young cohort has implications for the management of vascular disease.