• biological psychiatry;
  • interdisciplinary collaboration;
  • old age psychiatry;
  • medicine and primary care;
  • psychoneurobiology

Aim:  The orexigenic hormone, ghrelin, is linked to learning and memory in animal studies. No previous study has investigated whether cognition is related to ghrelin in the non-demented elderly.

Methods:  Thirty-five older adults underwent neuropsychological testing and fasting blood draw with subsequent serum ghrelin quantification.

Results:  Ghrelin was negatively correlated with several cognitive domains, including verbal memory, working memory, and naming.

Conclusion:  Areas of cognition associated with ghrelin level were similar to the pattern of deficits observed in early Alzheimer's disease. Findings suggest a potential moderational role of ghrelin in pathological cognitive decline. Further work investigating mechanisms is needed.