Vascular, inflammatory, and metabolic factors associated with cognition in aging persons with chronic epilepsy


We examined cognition in aging persons with chronic epilepsy; characterized targeted vascular, inflammatory, and metabolic risk factors associated with abnormal cognitive aging in the general population; and examined associations between cognition and vascular, inflammatory, and metabolic health. Participants included 40 persons with chronic localization-related epilepsy and 152 controls, aged 54.6 and 55.3, respectively. Participants underwent neuropsychological assessment, clinical examination, and fasting blood evaluation for quantification of vascular status (systolic and diastolic blood pressure, obesity/body mass index [BMI], total and high-density lipoprotein [HDL] cholesterol level, and homocysteine), inflammatory markers (high sensitivity C-reactive protein [hs-CRP], and interleukin-6 [IL-6]), and metabolic status (insulin resistance [Homeostatic Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR)], glucose). Epilepsy participants exhibited impairment across all cognitive factor scores (all p’s < 0.0001); abnormalities in BMI (p = 0.049), hs-CRP (p = 0.046), HOMA-IR (p = 0.0040), and fasting glucose (p = 0.03), with significant relationships between higher HOMA-IR with poorer Immediate Memory (p = 0.03) and Visuospatial Ability (0.03); elevated hs-CRP with poorer Visuospatial (p = 0.035) and Verbal Ability (p = 0.06); elevated BMI with poorer Speed/Flexibility (p = 0.04), Visuospatial (p = 0.001) and Verbal Ability (p = 0.02); and lower HDL with poorer Verbal Learning/Delayed Memory (p = 0.01), Speed/Flexibility (p = 0.043), and Working Memory (p = 0.008). Aging persons with chronic epilepsy exhibit multiple abnormalities in metabolic, inflammatory, and vascular health that are associated with poorer cognitive function.