Carotid atherosclerosis and cognitive decline in patients with Alzheimer's disease

Mauro Silvestrini, Beatrice Gobbi, Patrizio Pasqualetti, Marco Bartolini, Roberto Baruffaldi, Chiara Lanciotti, Raffaella Cerqua, Claudia Altamura, Leandro Provinciali, Fabrizio Vernieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim of the study was to explore the correlation between the progression of carotid atherosclerosis and the evolution of cognitive impairment in 66 patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). They underwent cognitive status evaluation and ultrasonography (US) to investigate carotid arteries intima-media thickness (IMT) and plaque index (PI). After a 12-month follow-up period, neuropsychological and US examinations were repeated to assess the progression of carotid atherosclerosis and of cognitive decline [in terms of changes in Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores]. MMSE score changes were related to baseline IMT (p = 0.018), changes in IMT (p <0.001) and PI (p = 0.006), and "antihypertensive drug intake" (p <0.001). While the first three variables correlated with increased cognitive impairment, the last one was associated with a reduced extent of MMSE score decline. Results show a link between progression of carotid wall changes and of cognitive decline, and suggest a possible protective role of antihypertensive therapy. Given the potential clinical implications, our preliminary findings could stimulate further investigations into the role of vascular impairment in patients with AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1177-1183
Number of pages7
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Mental deterioration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Ageing
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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