Background: Hispanics/Latinos are purportedly at increased risk for neurocognitive decline and dementias. Without dementia cures, low-cost, well-tolerated public health means for mitigating neurocognitive decline are needed.
Objective: We examined associations between neurocognition and cardiovascular health (CVH) metrics (Life's Simple 7; LS7) among diverse Hispanics/Latinos. We hypothesized that higher LS7 would be associated with healthier brain function (neurocognitive performance).
Methods: We used baseline (2008-2011) Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL; N = 9,623; ages 45-74 years) to examine neurocognition in relation to CVH LS7 scores.
Results: In age and sex adjusted models, a one unit LS7 score increase (range = 0-14) was associated with higher neurocognitive function on the B-SEVLT sum (0.23 [p < 0.01]; range = 3-42), B-SEVLT recall (0.12 [p < 0.01]; range = 0-15), Word Fluency (phonemic; 0.46 (p < 0.01); range = 0-49), and Digit Symbol Substitution (0.49 (p < 0.01); range = 0-83) tests, respectively. Stated differently, a change from the minimum LS7 (0) to maximum LS7 (14) score corresponded to higher scores on verbal learning (4.62) and memory (2.24), verbal fluency (7.0), and psychomotor processing speed (12). In fully adjusted models the associations were attenuated, but remained statistically significant. Incremental adjustments indicated that Latino background and, to a lesser extent, education were primary contributors to the evinced attenuations.
Conclusions: We found that higher neurocognitive function was associated with better LS7 CVH metrics among middle-aged and older Hispanics/Latinos. Associations between neurocognitive function and LS7 were strongest among two at-risk groups for neurocognitive decline and dementia, women and Hispanics/Latinos with lower education. Public health efforts to reduce cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality may have additional neurocognitive benefits among at-risk Hispanics/Latinos.
Keywords: Cardiovascular system; Hispanic Americans; cognition; epidemiology.