Arterial Stiffness and Cardiorespiratory Fitness Are Associated With Cognitive Function in Older Adults

Justin R. Mason, Gershon Tenenbaum, Salvador Jaime, Nelson Roque, Arun Maharaj, Arturo Figueroa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Age-related cognitive impairment has been associated with arterial stiffening and decreased cardiorespiratory fitness. The aims of this cross-sectional study were to compare cognitive function domains and cardiovascular parameters in older adults (≥ 65 years old) with high and normal aortic stiffness (via carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity, cfPWV) and to explore relationships among cfPWV, carotid intima-media thickness, cardiorespiratory fitness, and cognitive function. Vascular and cognitive function were measured in older adults with either normal or high cfPWV. Cognitive function was measured via an intensive one-time neuropsychological battery, while cfPWV by applanation tonometry, carotid intima-media thickness and function (i.e., distensibility) by ultrasonography, and cardiorespiratory fitness (i.e., VO2peak) by a submaximal exercise test. Correlations among age, VO2peak, carotid intima-media thickness, cfPWV, and cognitive function were performed along with a series of multivariate analyses of variance. Compared with NAS, participants with HAS had greater aortic, carotid, and brachial blood pressures but similar cardiorespiratory fitness and carotid intima-media thickness and distensibility. Participants with NAS exhibited better neuropsychological performance in executive function and attention and overall cognitive function than those with HAS. When controlling for age, visual scanning and perception scores were correlated with cfPWV and VO2peak. Our findings suggest that certain cognitive domains for older adults are associated with their cardiorespiratory fitness and aortic stiffness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-65
Number of pages12
JournalBehavioral Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Arterial stiffness
  • cardiorespiratory fitness
  • cognitive function
  • executive function
  • vascular function


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