Is early age-related maculopathy related to cognitive function? The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study.

Kleins Lab // Publications // Dec 01 2002

PubMed ID: 12470750

Author(s): Wong TY, Klein R, Nieto FJ, Moraes SA, Mosley TH, Couper DJ, Klein BE, Boland LL, Hubbard LD, Sharrett AR. Is early age-related maculopathy related to cognitive function? The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. Am J Ophthalmol. 2002 Dec;134(6):828-35. PMID 12470750

Journal: American Journal Of Ophthalmology, Volume 134, Issue 6, Dec 2002

PURPOSE Age-related maculopathy (ARM) and cognitive impairment are both neurodegenerative disorders associated with aging and have been hypothesized to share common pathogenic pathways. We describe the association between cognitive function and ARM in middle-aged persons.

DESIGN Population-based, cross-sectional study involving participants of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, an ongoing cardiovascular investigation of persons 51 to 70 years of age, examined every 3 years between 1987 to 1998.

METHODS At visit three (1993-1995), retinal photographs were obtained and evaluated for ARM using a modification of the Wisconsin ARM Grading System. Cognitive function was assessed using standardized tests (Delayed Word Recall, Digit Symbol, and Word Fluency) at visits two (1990-1992) and four (1996-1998) and averaged for analysis. Severe cognitive impairment was defined as scores falling in the lowest 10th percentile of the population.

RESULTS Data were available in 9286 persons after exclusion of persons with stroke or using antipsychotic medication. After adjusting for age, gender, race, education, diabetes, hypertension, cigarette smoking, and alcohol consumption, persons with severe cognitive impairment based on Word Fluency Test scores were more likely to have early ARM (odds ratio [OR]: 1.6, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.1-2.2) and its components, soft drusen (OR: 1.6; 95% CI: 1.1-2.3) and pigmentary abnormality (OR: 1.5; 95% CI: 0.9-2.5) than those without severe impairment. However, severe cognitive impairment in scores of the other two cognitive function tests was not associated with ARM.

CONCLUSION These population-based data suggest a weak association between cognitive function and early ARM in middle-aged persons.