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Elevated cerebrovascular resistance index is associated with cognitive dysfunction in the very-old.



Age-related vascular changes, including blood pressure elevation and cerebral blood flow (CBF) reduction, are associated with cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Evidence suggests that the relationship between blood pressure and dementia risk varies between younger and older samples within the elderly population.


We examined the relationship between mean arterial pressure (MAP), CBF, and cognition in young-old (60 to 75 years of age) versus very-old (80+ years of age) adults. Fifty-eight non-demented older adults completed an arterial spin labeling MRI scan, and an index of cerebrovascular resistance (CVRi) was estimated for each participant by calculating the ratio of MAP and CBF.


Results demonstrated a similar negative relationship between MAP and CBF across both age groups. However, very-old participants exhibited elevated CVRi and reduced CBF compared to young-old participants in regions implicated in AD and cerebral small vessel disease. Furthermore, significant age by CVRi interactions revealed that elevated CVRi in the thalamus was inversely related to verbal fluency performance in the very-old group.


Findings support CVRi as a potential vascular biomarker and suggest that regionally-specific vascular changes may contribute to cognitive decline, particularly in the very-old.

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