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Neuroepidemiology 2010;34:1–7

Orthostatic Hypotension and Cognitive Function: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study

Rose K.M.a · Couper D.b · Eigenbrodt M.L.c · Mosley T.H.d · Sharrett A.R.e · Gottesman R.F.f
aDepartment of Epidemiology and bCollaborative Studies Coordinating Center, Department of Biostatistics, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, N.C., cAdjunct Department of Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Ark., dUniversity of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, Miss., eDepartment of Epidemiology, Bloomberg School of Public Health, and fDepartment of Neurology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md., USA
email Corresponding Author

 goto top of outline Key Words

  • Population-based research
  • Orthostatic hypotension, epidemiology
  • Cognitive function

 goto top of outline Abstract

Background: To examine the association between orthostatic hypotension (OH) and cognitive function in middle-aged adults. Methods: Participants were 12,702 men and women from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. OH was defined as decrease in systolic blood pressure (BP) by ≧20 mm Hg or diastolic BP by ≧10 mm Hg upon standing. At the 2nd and the 4th follow-up examinations, cognitive function was assessed using the Delayed Word Recall Test, Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST) and Word Fluency Test (WFT). Results: After age adjustment, those with OH were more likely to be in the lowest quintile of the DSST (OR = 1.34, 95% CI = 1.12–1.62) and WFT (OR = 1.25, 95% CI = 1.03–1.51) than were those without OH. After adjustment for sociodemographic and cardiovascular risk factors, associations were no longer significant. In age-adjusted models only, OH was associated with increased odds of being in the greatest quintile of decline in DSST score between visits 2 and 4 (OR = 1.28, 95% CI = 1.04–1.58). Conclusions: OH was associated with less favorable cognitive function, but this association was largely attributable to demographic and cardiovascular risk factors. Episodic asymptomatic hypotension in middle age may not be an independent cause of cognitive decline. Further study, including emphasis on neuroimaging, is needed.

Copyright © 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel

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 goto top of outline Author Contacts

Kathryn M. Rose, PhD
Cardiovascular Disease Program, Department of Epidemiology
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
137 East Franklin Street, Suite 306, Chapel Hill, NC 27514 (USA)
Tel. +1 919 966 1967, Fax +1 919 966 9800, E-Mail

 goto top of outline Article Information

Received: May 25, 2009
Accepted: July 24, 2009
Published online: November 5, 2009
Number of Print Pages : 7
Number of Figures : 1, Number of Tables : 4, Number of References : 38

 goto top of outline Publication Details


Vol. 34, No. 1, Year 2010 (Cover Date: January 2010)

Journal Editor: Feigin V.L. (Auckland)
ISSN: 0251-5350 (Print), eISSN: 1423-0208 (Online)

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