Vitamin K Antagonists and Cognitive Decline in Older Adults: A 24-Month Follow-Up

Nutrients. 2018 May 24;10(6):666. doi: 10.3390/nu10060666.


Vitamin K participates in brain physiology. This study aimed to determine whether using vitamin K antagonists (VKAs), which interfere with the vitamin K cycle, were (i) cross-sectionally associated with altered cognitive performance, and (ii) independent predictors of cognitive changes in older adults over 24 months. Information was collected on the use of VKAs (i.e., warfarin, acenocoumarol, and fluindione) among 378 geriatric outpatients (mean, 82.3 ± 5.6 years; 60.1% female). Global cognitive performance and executive functions were assessed with Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Frontal Assessment Battery (FAB) scores, respectively, at baseline and after 12 and 24 months of follow-up. Age, gender, body mass index, mean arterial pressure, disability, gait speed, comorbidities, atrial fibrillation, stroke, carotid artery stenosis, leukoaraiosis grade on computed tomography (CT) scan, psychoactive drugs, antidementia drugs, blood-thinning drugs (i.e., anticoagulants other than VKAs, antiplatelet medications), serum creatinine levels, and vitamin B12 concentrations were considered as potential confounders. Using VKAs was associated with lower (i.e., worse) FAB score at baseline (adjusted β = -2.1, p = 0.026), and with a decrease in FAB score after 24 months (adjusted β = -203.6%, p = 0.010), but not after 12 months (p = 0.659). Using VKAs was not associated with any change in MMSE score at baseline (p = 0.655), after 12 months (p = 0.603), or after 24 months (p = 0.201). In conclusion, we found more severe executive dysfunction at baseline and incident executive decline over 24 months among geriatric patients using VKAs, when compared with their counterparts.

Keywords: cognition; executive functions; older adults; vitamin K; vitamin K antagonist.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anticoagulants / administration & dosage
  • Anticoagulants / adverse effects*
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Cognition Disorders / chemically induced*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Cognitive Aging / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Executive Function / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Status and Dementia Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Vitamin K / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Anticoagulants
  • Vitamin K