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Vascular biomarkers and ApoE4 expression in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease

1 Universidad Católica Santa María La Antigua (USMA), Panamá
2 Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Panamá, Panamá
3 Centro de Neurociencias y Unidad de Investigación Clínica, Instituto de Investigaciones Científicas y Servicios de Alta Tecnología (INDICASAT AIP), Panamá
4 Servicio de Radiología, Complejo Hospitalario Arnulfo Arias Madrid, Caja del Seguro Social, Panamá
5 Departmento de Psicología Básica II (Procesos Cognitivos), Facultad de Psicología, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, España
6 Servicio de Neurología, Hospital Universitario La Paz, Madrid, España

Vascular pathology and genetic markers such as apolipoprotein E allele ε4 (ApoE ε4) are risk factors for the progression from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In Panama, a high prevalence of vascular risk factors and an increase in the aging population, generate the need to investigate biomarkers using specific, sensitive, non-invasive and cost-efficient methods that could be used in primary care. The main objective of this study was to explore the association between vascular biomarkers such as intima-media thickness (IMT) and stenosis, ApoΕ ε4 and cognitive function in a sample of older adults, including healthy controls (n = 41), MCI (n = 33), and AD (n = 12). A descriptive and cross-sectional study was conducted. Participants were part of the Panama Aging Research Initiative (PARI), the first prospective study in aging in Panama. Assessments included a neuropsychological battery, ApoΕ ε4 genotyping and a Doppler ultrasound of the left carotid artery to examine the presence of vascular risk factors. Neuropsychological tests were combined to form six cognitive domains: Global cognition, language, visuospatial abilities, learning and memory, attention and executive functions. Multivariable analyses (using age, education, and ApoE ε4 expression as covariates) were conducted. Participants with increased IMT showed poorer performance in memory and those with carotid stenosis showed poorer performance in language, visuospatial abilities and attention, independent of age, education or ApoΕ ε4 expression. The results support the use of vascular markers in cognitive assessments of aged individuals.
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