Higher Inflammation From Early Adulthood Linked to Worse Cognition

Worse executive function and processing speeding seen with consistently higher or moderate/increasing inflammation
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Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

MONDAY, July 8, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Worse midlife executive function and processing speed are seen with consistently higher or moderate/increasing inflammation starting in early adulthood, according to a study published online July 3 in Neurology.

Amber L. Bahorik, Ph.D., from the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues used data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study to identify inflammation trajectories (C-reactive protein [CRP] levels <10 mg/L) over 18 years through early adulthood (age, 24 to 58 years). Six cognitive domains were assessed, with the primary outcome of poor cognitive performance, defined as a decline of at least one standard deviation than the mean on each domain. Data were included for 2,364 participants (mean age, 50.2 years).

During 18 years, there were three CPR trajectories: low stable, moderate/increasing, and consistently higher (45, 16, and 39 percent, respectively). The researchers found that consistently higher and moderate/increasing CRP levels were associated with higher odds of poor processing speed compared with lower stable CRP; in addition, higher odds of poor executive function were seen in association with consistently higher CRP. No associations were seen for moderate/increasing and consistently higher CRP with memory, letter fluency, category fluency, or global cognition.

"Our results indicate that higher or increasing inflammation trajectories may be associated with (or influence) higher odds of poor cognitive function at midlife," the authors write.

One author disclosed ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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