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Impaired cognition in later life may result from Alzheimer's disease-related pathology, but also from vascular pathology. We studied to what extent vascular risk explained heritability of cognition in 780 individuals, related in one extended pedigree in a genetically isolated population, in the ERF study. Heritability was estimated using variance components modelling (SOLAR). Univariate analyses included models with and without vascular disease; bivariate analyses included both cognitive and vascular traits, such as blood pressure, serum glucose or lipids. Heritability for immediate and delayed recall, recognition, semantic fluency, Trail making B and Stroop tests was significant, with estimates from 0.16 to 0.36. Vascular factors did not affect cognitive functions, except immediate recall and the Stroop test. Heritability estimates did not change significantly when adjusted for vascular disease. We found no genetic correlation between cognition and vascular traits. Therefore, in this population vascular disease is mildly associated with cognitive dysfunction, and in those with vascular disease, the underlying genetic risk factors are not likely to account for the genetic variation in cognition at adult age.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2006.03.012

Type

Journal article

Journal

Neurobiology of aging

Publication Date

05/2007

Volume

28

Pages

735 - 741

Addresses

Genetic Epidemiology Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam, PO Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Keywords

Humans, Cerebrovascular Disorders, Risk Factors, Cohort Studies, Pedigree, Cognition, Neuropsychological Tests, Phenotype, Adult, Aged, Middle Aged, Female, Male, Genetic Variation