Systemic oxidative stress and cognitive performance in the population-based EVA study. Etude du Vieillissement Artériel

Free Radic Biol Med. 1998 May;24(7-8):1202-8. doi: 10.1016/s0891-5849(97)00432-2.


The aim of this study was to examine the relationships between cognitive functioning and blood levels of antioxidants and lipoperoxidation products in an elderly population. In 1991-1992, 1389 volunteers (574 men and 815 women aged 59 to 71 years) were recruited from the general population. Levels of selenium, carotenoids, and thiobarbituric-reactive substances in plasma and of vitamin E, glutathione peroxidase, and Cu-Zn superoxide dismutase in red blood cells were measured. Cognitive functioning was assessed with various psychometric tests. We used logistic regression to estimate the risk of poor cognitive functioning (< 25th percentile of the score distribution) associated with low values of each antioxidants (< 25th percentile) including potential confounding factors. A low level of total carotenoids (< 1.86 mumol/l) was associated with poor cognitive performance in two tests assessing visual attention and logical reasoning: the Trail-Making Test part B [OR = 1.34 IC95% (0.99-1.81), p = .055] and the Digit Symbol Substitution from the WAIS-R [OR = 1.38 IC95% (1.02-1.89), p = .04]. Low levels of other antioxidants and high levels of thiobarbituric-reactive substances were not related to poor cognitive functioning. Results observed with plasma carotenoids are in accordance with previous data obtained mostly from dietary records.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Carotenoids / blood
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / metabolism
  • Female
  • France
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / blood
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxidation
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Selenium / blood
  • Superoxide Dismutase / blood
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances / metabolism
  • Vitamin E / blood


  • Antioxidants
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • Vitamin E
  • Carotenoids
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Selenium