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Table of Contents
Vol. 32, No. 1, 2009
Issue release date: December 2008
Section title: Original Paper
Free Access
Neuroepidemiology 2009;32:40–46

Relation of Hemoglobin to Level of Cognitive Function in Older Persons

Shah R.C.a, d · Wilson R.S.a, c, e · Tang Y.b, f · Dong X.f · Murray A.g · Bennett D.A.a, c
aRush Alzheimer’s Disease Center, bRush Institute for Healthy Aging and Departments of cNeurological Sciences, dFamily Medicine, ePsychology and fInternal Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Ill., and gDepartment of Medicine, Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minn., USA
email Corresponding Author

Dr. Raj C. Shah

Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center

600 South Paulina, Room 1038

Chicago, IL 60612 (USA)

Tel. +1 312 563 2902, Fax +1 312 563 4154, E-Mail Raj_C_Shah@rush.edu

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Background: While decreased hemoglobin concentration is common in the elderly, the relationship of the entire range of hemoglobin concentrations with cognitive function is not well understood. Methods: Cross-sectional analyses were conducted utilizing data from community-dwelling, older persons participating in the Rush Memory and Aging Project. Proximate to first available hemoglobin measurement, 21 cognitive tests were administered to measure global cognitive function along with semantic memory, episodic memory, working memory, perceptual speed and visuospatial abilities. Results: For 793 participants without clinical dementia, stroke or Parkinson’s disease, the mean age was 81.0 years (SD = 7.2); 595 (75%) were women, and 94% were white. The mean hemoglobin concentration was 13.3 g/dl (SD = 1.3). 17% of the cohort had anemia. Using linear regression models adjusted for age, education, gender, body mass index, mean corpuscular volume and glomerular filtration rate, both low and high hemoglobin levels were associated with lower global cognitive function (parameter estimate = –0.015, SE = 0.007, p = 0.019). Low and high hemoglobin levels were associated with worse performance on semantic memory (parameter estimate = –0.201, SE = 0.008, p = 0.010) and perceptual speed (parameter estimate = –0.030, SE = 0.010, p = 0.004), but not the other specific cognitive functions. Conclusions: Low and high hemoglobin concentrations in older persons are associated with a lower level of cognitive function in old age, particularly in semantic memory and perceptual speed.

© 2008 S. Karger AG, Basel

Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Original Paper

Received: March 06, 2008
Accepted: August 19, 2008
Published online: November 12, 2008
Issue release date: December 2008

Number of Print Pages: 7
Number of Figures: 1
Number of Tables: 3

ISSN: 0251-5350 (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0208 (Online)

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