JAMA Neurology Study Highlight
Deposits Increase With Age, Associated With Artery Stiffness
Bottom Line: Stiffening
of the arteries appears to be associated with the progressive buildup of
β-amyloid (Αβ) plaque in the brains of elderly patients without dementia,
suggesting a relationship between the severity of vascular disease and the
plaque that is a hallmark of Alzheimer disease.
Timothy M. Hughes, Ph.D., M.P.H., of Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem,
N.C., and colleagues.
Evidence suggested arterial stiffness is related to brain aging,
cerebrovascular disease, impaired cognitive function and dementia in the
How the Study
Was Conducted: The authors examined the association
between arterial stiffness and change in Αβ deposition over time by using
positron emission tomography (PET) of the brain to study 81 patients without
dementia who were 83 years or older. Arterial stiffness was measured using
pulse wave velocity (PWV) at various sites in the body.
The proportion of patients with Αβ deposition increased from 48 percent at the
start of the study to 75 percent at the two-year follow-up. Brachial-ankle PWV
(a comparison of blood pressure in the upper arm and lower leg) was higher
among patients with Αβ deposition at baseline and follow-up, while
femoral-ankle PWV (a comparison of blood pressure in the upper leg and lower
leg) was only higher in Αβ-positive patients at follow-up. The
accumulation of Αβ over time was associated with greater central arterial
stiffness. The authors acknowledge that while Αβ deposition and vascular
stiffness appear to be associated, the mechanisms for this are not well
“This study shows that arterial stiffness, as measured by PWV, is associated
with the amount of Αβ in the brain and is an independent indicator of Αβ
progression among nondemented elderly adults. … The exact mechanism linking
arterial stiffness and Αβ deposition in the brain needs to be elucidated.”
Neurol. Published online March 31, 2014. doi:10.1001/.jamaneurol.2014.186.
Available pre-embargo to the media at http://media.jamanetwork.com.)
Editor’s Note: Authors made conflict of interest
disclosures. This study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of
Health. Please see the article for additional information, including other
authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding
and support, etc.
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