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Table 1 Lung function and cognition

From: Lung disease as a determinant of cognitive decline and dementia

Study design Population Comment Reference
Longitudinal cohort
N = 10,975 men + women aged 47–70 years. Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study Reduced lung function was associated with worse performance in cognitive assessments and with an increased risk of dementia hospitalization. No association was found between lung function and cognitive decline over time [5]
Vietnam veteran study N = 4,256 men aged 20 years Poor cognitive ability in mid-life associated with reduced lung function in mid-life. Effects size small. Similar effects in non-smokers [9]
Prospective observational study N = 864 normative aging study. 12 year follow-up Baseline FEV1 associated with visuo-spatial and global ability. Higher FEV1 associated with slower decline only in attention. Rate of decline in FEV1 not associated with cognition. Overall limited evidence of a relationship between FEV1 and cognitive decline [6]
The Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility Reykjavik Study: 23 year follow-up N = 3,635; N = 1,281 subset 2/3 serial FEV1 over 7.8 years Low mid-life FEV1/height predicted poor memory, processing speed, executive function MCI and dementia 23 years later. Decline in lung function over 7.8 years in mid-life was not associated with MCI or dementia [8]
Longitudinal population Swedish Twin Study N = 832 (50–85 year olds); 19 year follow-up Changes in lung function led to subsequent changes in psychomotor speed and spatial abilities. No evidence that declines in cognitive function lead to subsequent decline in lung function [83]
Longitudinal 23 year follow-up N = 3,036 Japanese American males in Hawaii Baseline FEV1 predict cognitive function (Cognitive Abilities Screening Instrument - CASI) [84]
Healthy Longitudinal All ages N = 2,551 FEV1 associated with cognitive function in all age groups, although significant associations were weak [10]
MRC National Survey of Health and Development N = 1,778 men and women Mid-life FEV1 associated with mid-life psychomotor speed and decline over 10 years [7]
  1. FEV1, forced expiratory volume in 1 second; MCI, mild cognitive impairment; MRC, Medical Research Council.