Anxiety moderates amyloid-beta association with cognition

January 29, 2015

Anxiety moderates amyloid-β association with cognition
(HealthDay)—For older adults, elevated amyloid-β (Aβ) levels correlate with cognitive decline, and elevated anxiety moderates these associations, according to a study published online Jan. 28 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Robert H. Pietrzak, Ph.D., from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in West Haven, Conn., and colleagues examined the correlation between Aβ status and cognitive changes in a multicenter, prospective study. Three hundred thirty-three healthy, underwent assessments at baseline and at 18, 36, and 54 months.

The researchers found that positive Aβ (Aβ+) status at baseline correlated with a significant reduction in global cognition, , language, and executive function; these correlations were moderated by elevated anxiety symptoms. Slopes of cognitive decline were significantly more pronounced in the Aβ+ high-anxiety group than in the Aβ+ low-anxiety group, with Cohen d values of 0.78, 0.54, 0.51, and 0.39 for global cognition, verbal memory, language, and , respectively. The effects were independent of confounding variables such as age, educational level, APOE genotype, subjective memory complaints, and depressive symptoms. The correlation between Aβ and was not moderated by or subjective memory complaints.

"Given that there is currently no standard antiamyloid therapy and that anxiety symptoms are amenable to treatment, these findings may help inform risk stratification and management of the preclinical phase of Alzheimer's disease," the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to Cogstate Ltd., which provided some of the cognitive tests used in this study and contributed funding to the study.

Explore further: Tracing the impact of amyloid beta in mild cognitive impairment

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