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The association of cognitive performance with vascular risk factors across adult life span

PhD ceremony:drs. M.E.A. van Eersel
When:March 26, 2018
Start:14:30
Supervisor:prof. dr. J.P.J. (Joris) Slaets
Co-supervisors:G.J. Izaks, J.M.H. Joosten
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Medical Sciences / UMCG
The association of cognitive performance with vascular risk factors
across adult life span

The association of cognitive performance with vascular risk factors across adult life span

Worldwide, the prevalence of dementia is expected to increase to 75 million persons in 2030. Because, up till now, no curative treatment is available, it is generally recommended to conduct more research on prevention strategies for dementia. A possible prevention strategy is treatment of vascular risk factors, such as hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes mellitus and smoking. These vascular risk factors contribute to atherosclerosis resulting in neurodegenerative changes in the brain. The neurodegenerative damage in the brain is associated with dementia. The general aim of this thesis was to explore the association of cognitive performance with vascular risk factors and its treatment during the whole adult life span. To summarize, this thesis described that vascular risk factors are associated with cognitive performance during the whole adult life span. The association of cognitive performance with vascular risk factors was strongest at young age. Therefore, it could be hypothesized that starting treatment of vascular risk factors in as early stage as possible might be effective as prevention of cognitive impairment. However, in this thesis we could not confirm this hypothesis as treatment of vascular risk factors did not improve cognitive performance of young and old persons with a high treatable vascular risk during a period of six years. On the other hand, we found that treatment of vascular risk factors does not (further) worsen cognitive performance in people with a high treatable vascular risk.