Get access

Pulmonary Function Impairment May Be an Early Risk Factor for Late-Life Cognitive Impairment

Authors

  • Jean-Sébastien Vidal MD, PhD,

    1. Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography, and Biometry, National Institute on Aging National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
    2. Geriatrics Department, Assistance Publique Hopitaux de Paris, Broca Hospital, Paris, France
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Thor Aspelund PhD,

    1. Icelandic Heart Association, Kopavogur, Iceland
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Maria K. Jonsdottir PhD,

    1. Icelandic Heart Association, Kopavogur, Iceland
    2. Faculty of Psychology, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Palmi V. Jonsson MD,

    1. Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland
    2. Geriatric Research Center, Landspitali University Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Tamara B. Harris MD, MS,

    1. Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography, and Biometry, National Institute on Aging National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Oscar L. Lopez MD,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    2. Department of Neurology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Vilmundur Gudnason MD, PhD,

    1. Icelandic Heart Association, Kopavogur, Iceland
    2. Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Lenore J. Launer PhD

    Corresponding author
    • Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography, and Biometry, National Institute on Aging National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
    Search for more papers by this author

  • [Editorial Comments by Dr. Joe Verghese, pp 155–157]

Address correspondence to Dr. Lenore J. Launer, National Institutes of Health, NIA/LEDB, 7201 Wisconsin Ave, Gateway Building, Suite 3C309, Bethesda, MD 20892. E-mail: launerl@mail.nih.gov

Abstract

Objectives

To determine the association between change in pulmonary function (PF) and mid- and late-life cognitive function.

Design

Prospective population-based cohort study that included measures of pulmonary function in midlife and brain magnetic resonance imaging data acquired in late life.

Setting

The Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility—Reykjavik Study.

Participants

Three thousand six hundred sixty-five subjects who had at least one measure of forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and were cognitively tested on average 23 years later. A subset of 1,281 subjects had two or three measures of FEV1 acquired over a 7.8-year period.

Measurements

Pulmonary function was estimated as FEV1/height2. Rate of PF decline was estimated as the slope of decline over time. Cognitive status was measured with continuous scores of memory, speed of processing, and executive function and as the outcome of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia.

Results

Lower PF measured in midlife predicted poorer memory, slower speed of processing, poorer executive function, and greater likelihood of MCI and dementia 23 years later. Decrease in PF over a 7.8-year period in midlife was not associated with MCI or dementia.

Conclusion

Low PF measured in midlife may be an early marker of later cognitive problems. Additional studies characterizing early and late PF changes are needed.

Ancillary