Associations Between #vascular Risk Across Adulthood and #Brain Pathology in Late Life Evidence From a British Birth Cohort

Office-based Framingham Heart study–cardiovascular risk scores (FHS-CVS) were derived at ages 36, 53, and 69 years using systolic blood pressure, antihypertensive medication usage, smoking, diabetic status, and body mass index. Analysis models adjusted for age at imaging, sex, APOE genotype, socioeconomic position, and, where appropriate, total intracranial volume.

..At all points, these scores were associated with smaller whole-brain volumes (36 years: β coefficient per 1% increase, −3.6 [95% CI, −7.0 to −0.3]; 53 years: −0.8 [95% CI, −1.5 to −0.08]; 69 years: −0.6 [95% CI, −1.1 to −0.2]) and higher white matter–hyperintensity volume (exponentiated coefficient: 36 years, 1.09 [95% CI, 1.01-1.18]; 53 years, 1.02 [95% CI, 1.00-1.04]; 69 years, 1.01 [95% CI, 1.00-1.02]), with largest effect sizes at age 36 years. At no point were FHS-CVS results associated with β-amyloid status.

Conclusions and Relevance Higher vascular risk is associated with smaller whole-brain volume and greater white matter–hyperintensity volume at age 69 to 71 years, with the strongest association seen with early adulthood vascular risk. There was no evidence that higher vascular risk influences amyloid deposition, at least up to age 71 years. Reducing vascular risk with appropriate interventions should be considered from early adulthood to maximize late-life brain health.