Background: High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) is a biomarker of cardiovascular risk that is suggested to be a biomarker for cognitive impairment.
Objective: To explore the association between hsCRP and cognitive impairment.
Design: Cross-sectional analysis of a population-based community aging study.
Setting: Northern Manhattan, New York, New York.
Other participants: One thousand three hundred thirty-one participants from a longitudinal study of aging without dementia and with available hsCRP and neuropsychological testing data at baseline.
Main outcome measures: Four cognitive scores (memory, visuospatial, executive, and language impairment) derived from a neuropsychological battery. Cognitive impairment was defined by scores below 1.5 SDs of demographically corrected means.
Results: Participants in the highest hsCRP tertile had higher adjusted odds of impaired memory (odds ratio [OR], 1.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0-2.1; P = .03) than participants in the lowest tertile. Subjects in the highest hsCRP tertile also had greater odds of visuospatial impairment (OR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.0-2.3; P = .03). Higher hsCRP was not associated with executive or language impairment. Persons with at least 1 APOE epsilon4 allele and hsCRP in the highest tertile had the greatest odds of impaired memory (OR, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.6-4.4).
Conclusions: High hsCRP may be a marker of memory and visuospatial impairment in the elderly. The role of APOE epsilon4 requires further exploration.