Serum uric acid and impaired cognitive function in a cohort of healthy young elderly: data from the Brisighella Study

Intern Emerg Med. 2015 Feb;10(1):25-31. doi: 10.1007/s11739-014-1098-z. Epub 2014 Jul 2.


Contrasting evidence shows a possible association between serum uric acid (SUA) and cognitive function in elderly subjects. We aimed at evaluating the impact of circulating SUA levels on cognitive function in a cohort of pharmacologically untreated young elderly subjects. For this study, we selected 288 healthy young elderly participants from the historical cohort of the Brisighella Heart Study (M: 108, F: 180; mean age: 69 ± 6 years old). Exclusion criteria were limitation of activities of daily living, depression, chronic pharmacological treatment, patients in secondary prevention for cardiovascular disease, known neurodegenerative disorders, confirmed diabetes or gout, and ultrasonic evaluated carotid atherosclerosis. Cognitive functions were assessed by scholarship-adjusted mini-mental state examination (MMSE). A stepwise multiple regression analysis was carried out including a large set of clinical and laboratory parameters, carotid intima-media thickness, and the Beck Depression scale score. The analysis was then repeated by gender. In the multiple regression analysis, the only factors associated with the MMSE score were: age (B = -0.058, 95% CI -0.108, -0.009, p = 0.022), LDL-C (B = -0.639, 95% CI -0.912, -0.411, p = 0.034) and SUA (B = -0.527, 95% CI -0.709, -0.344, p = 0.022). Repeating the analysis by low or high SUA level (based on the gender specific SUA distribution 50th percentile), it appears that in subjects with a low SUA, cognitive decline is only associated with age, while in those with high SUA it is associated with LDL-C (OR 1.18, 95% CI 1.07-1.33, p = 0.019) and SBP (OR 1.02, 95% CI 1.001-1.048, p = 0.039). Our data demonstrate a positive association between circulating levels of uric acid and cognitive dysfunction in a sample of pharmacologically untreated young elderly subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / complications
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Uric Acid / blood*


  • Uric Acid