Does Inflammation Predict Cognitive Decline in Older Adults? Evidence from Taiwan

Megan Todd, Princeton University

Numerous studies have identified a link between inflammation and clinical cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Less is known, however, about the relationship between inflammation and subclinical cognitive decline. In this study, I investigate whether baseline biomarkers of inflammation predict cognitive change among older Taiwanese adults. Data are from the Taiwan Longitudinal Study of Aging and the Social Environment and Biomarkers of Aging Study. I examine five biomarkers of inflammation: C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, soluble e-selectin, soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1, and white blood cell count. Cognition is assessed via ten cognitive and memory tasks. I use growth curve models to examine the relationship between inflammation (measured in 2000 and 2006) and cognitive scores (measured in 2006, 2007, and 2011). I find that higher levels of inflammation are generally associated with lower baseline cognitive scores. Inflammation is not associated, however, with the rate of change in cognitive score.

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 Presented in Session P5. Adult Health and Mortality