Background: Dementia is associated with microvascular disease of the retina. In this study, we examine whether cognitive status (normal cognition, mild cognitive impairment, and dementia) is associated with albuminuria, a microvascular disorder of the kidney.
Study design: Cross-sectional analysis.
Setting & participants: 2,316 participants from the Cardiovascular Health Cognition Study who underwent brain magnetic resonance imaging and testing for albuminuria.
Predictor: Doubling of albuminuria.
Outcome: Dementia defined according to neuropsychological and clinical evaluation.
Measurements: Multinomial logistic modeling was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of dementia and mild cognitive impairment with doubling of albuminuria compared with the odds with normal cognition.
Results: 283 participants (12.2%) had dementia, 344 (14.9%) had mild cognitive impairment, and 1,689 (72.9%) had normal cognition. Compared with participants with normal cognition, doubling of albuminuria was associated with increased odds of dementia (OR, 1.22; 95% CI, 1.15 to 1.29). Adjustment for prevalent cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular risk factors, lipid levels, C-reactive protein level, estimated glomerular filtration rate, and apolipoprotein E-4 genotype attenuated this association, but it remained statistically significant (OR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.03 to 1.22). Mild cognitive impairment was associated with albuminuria on unadjusted analysis, but not with adjustment for other factors.
Limitations: Results are cross-sectional; causality cannot be imputed.
Conclusions: The odds of dementia increased in the presence of albuminuria. These findings suggest a role of shared susceptibility for microvascular disease in the brain and kidney in older adults.