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1.  Circulating biomarkers that predict incident dementia 
Dementia is currently diagnosed based on clinical symptoms and signs, but significant brain damage has already occurred by the time a clinical diagnosis of dementia is made, and it is increasingly recognized that this may be too late for any effective intervention. It would therefore be of great public health and preventive value to define a variety of biomarkers that could permit early detection of persons at a higher risk for developing dementia, and specifically dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease. Nevertheless, for the purpose of large-scale screening, circulating biomarkers are more appropriate because they are less invasive than lumbar puncture, less costly than brain amyloid imaging and can be easily assessed repeatedly in a primary care clinic setting. In this brief review we will review a number of candidate molecules implicated as possible predictors of dementia risk. These candidates include markers of vascular injury, metabolic and inflammatory states, amyloid and tau pathway markers, measures of neural degeneration and repair efforts, and other molecules that might contribute to anatomical and functional changes characteristic of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
doi:10.1186/alzrt235
PMCID: PMC4056619  PMID: 25031629
2.  Midlife Cardiovascular Risk Impacts Executive Function: Framingham Offspring Study 
Introduction
Novel error scores and traditional indices of executive function (EF) were related to cardiovascular risk factors (CVRF) measured 10–15 years earlier.
Methods
From 1991–1995, the Framingham Stroke Risk Profile (FSRP), a composite score of cardiovascular risk, was ascertained in 1755 Framingham Offspring participants (54% women, mean age= 54 ± 9 years). Participants were administered EF tests: FAS and Animals Fluency tests, Trail Making Test B (TrB), and Digit Span-Backwards (DS-B) in 2005–2009. Linear and logistic regression were used to relate the FSRP and its components to both error responses and traditional scores.
Results
Consistent with previous findings, the FSRP and the individual components diabetes and sex were associated with several traditional measures of EF. Of interest were relationships between the FSRP score and TrB Total Errors (p=0.04), DS-B % Total Errors (p=0.02) and DS-B Capacity Score (p=0.03), and prevalent CVD related to making FAS Perseverations in the 75th percentile (p=0.03). By comparison, FSRP and CVD were not related to the traditional DS-B or FAS scores. Additionally, age was associated with higher Animals % Total Errors and % Perseverations among ApoE4+ individuals and with higher TrB Total Errors among ApoE4− individuals.
Conclusion
For those middle-aged and healthy, including those ApoE4+, CVRF are related to impairments in EF as ascertained by novel errors as well as traditional measures.
doi:10.1097/WAD.0b013e3182a715bc
PMCID: PMC3945114  PMID: 23995818
Neuropsychological assessment; Executive function; Mild cognitive impairment; ApolipoproteinE allele 4
3.  Shared genetic susceptibility to ischemic stroke and coronary artery disease – a genome-wide analysis of common variants 
Summary
Background and Purpose
Ischemic stroke (IS) and coronary artery disease (CAD) share several risk factors and each have a substantial heritability. We conducted a genome-wide analysis to evaluate the extent of shared genetic determination of the two diseases.
Methods
Genome-wide association data were obtained from the METASTROKE, CARDIoGRAM, and C4D consortia. We first analyzed common variants reaching a nominal threshold of significance (p<0.01) for CAD for their association with IS and vice versa. We then examined specific overlap across phenotypes for variants that reached a high threshold of significance. Finally, we conducted a joint meta-analysis on the combined phenotype of IS or CAD. Corresponding analyses were performed restricted to the 2,167 individuals with the ischemic large artery stroke (LAS) subtype.
Results
Common variants associated with CAD at p<0.01 were associated with a significant excess risk for IS and for LAS and vice versa. Among the 42 known genome-wide significant loci for CAD, three and five loci were significantly associated with IS and LAS, respectively. In the joint meta-analyses, 15 loci passed genome-wide significance (p<5×10-8) for the combined phenotype of IS or CAD and 17 loci passed genome-wide significance for LAS or CAD. Since these loci had prior evidence for genome-wide significance for CAD we specifically analyzed the respective signals for IS and LAS and found evidence for association at chr12q24/SH2B3 (pIS=1.62×10-07) and ABO (pIS =2.6×10-4) as well as at HDAC9 (pLAS=2.32×10-12), 9p21 (pLAS =3.70×10-6), RAI1-PEMT-RASD1 (pLAS =2.69×10-5), EDNRA (pLAS =7.29×10-4), and CYP17A1-CNNM2-NT5C2 (pLAS =4.9×10-4).
Conclusions
Our results demonstrate substantial overlap in the genetic risk of ischemic stroke and particularly the large artery stroke subtype with coronary artery disease.
doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.113.002707
PMCID: PMC4112102  PMID: 24262325
4.  APOE genotype modifies the relationship between midlife vascular risk factors and later cognitive decline 
Vascular risk factors have been associated with cognitive decline, however, it remains unclear whether apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype modifies this relationship. We aimed to further elucidate these relationships and extend previous findings by examining data from a more comprehensive cognitive assessment than used in prior studies. 1,436 participants from the prospective Framingham Offspring Cohort Study underwent health examination from 1991-1995, followed by a baseline neuropsychological assessment (1999-2003) and a repeat neuropsychological assessment approximately eight years later (2004-2009). Multivariate linear regression analyses were performed to examine the relationship between midlife vascular risk factors, presence of the APOE ε4 allele, and cognitive change. APOE genotype significantly modified the associations between both midlife hypertension and cardiovascular disease and decline in language abilities as well as midlife diabetes and decline in verbal memory, attention, and visuospatial abilities. Associations between increased midlife vascular risk burden and greater cognitive decline were observed among APOE ε4 carriers but not non-carriers. The present findings revealed a subgroup at increased risk for cognitive decline (APOE ε4 carriers with midlife exposure to vascular risk factors) and suggest that treatment of vascular risk factors during midlife may reduce the risk of cognitive impairment later in life, particularly among APOE ε4 carriers.
doi:10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2013.03.013
PMCID: PMC3849195  PMID: 23601373
Apolipoprotein E; Cognition; Vascular Risk; Aging; Diabetes; Hypertension; Cardiovascular Disease
5.  Defining MCI in the Framingham Heart Study Offspring: Education vs. WRAT-based norms 
Alzheimer disease and associated disorders  2013;27(4):10.1097/WAD.0b013e31827bde32.
Introduction
Psychometric definitions of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) typically use cut-off levels set at 1.5 standard deviations below age- and education-adjusted norms, assuming that the education adjustment accounts for premorbid abilities. However, non-cognitive factors impact educational attainment, potentially leading to incorrect categorization as MCI. We examined whether using an adjustment based on reading performance (Wide Range Achievement Test [WRAT] Reading) improved MCI diagnostic accuracy.
Methods
935 Framingham Offspring (mean age 72 ± 5) underwent tests of Memory, Executive Function, Abstraction, Language, and Visuospatial Function as part of a neuropsychological test battery. Domain-specific test scores were regressed onto age and WRAT score, or education, to define MCI. Survival analyses were used to relate baseline MCI to incident dementia.
Results
The two MCI definitions differed most for the lowest and highest education groups. The WRAT definition was more strongly associated with incident dementia for all five tests. MCI-level Abstraction performance was associated with incident dementia using the WRAT definition (HR = 3.20, p = .033), but not the education definition (HR = 1.19, p = .814).
Discussion
The WRAT should be considered along with the standard measure of years of education, as it may be a better surrogate marker of premorbid abilities.
doi:10.1097/WAD.0b013e31827bde32
PMCID: PMC3626741  PMID: 23314066
Mild cognitive impairment; premorbid abilities; neuropsychological assessment; Alzheimer's disease; longitudinal
6.  Serum BDNF and VEGF levels are associated with Risk of Stroke and Vascular Brain Injury: Framingham Study 
Stroke; a journal of cerebral circulation  2013;44(10):10.1161/STROKEAHA.113.001447.
Background and Purpose
BDNF, a major neurotrophin and VEGF, an endothelial growth factor have a documented role in neurogenesis, angiogenesis and neuronal survival. In animal experiments they impact infarct size and functional motor recovery after an ischemic brain lesion. We sought to examine the association of serum BDNF and VEGF with the risk of clinical stroke or subclinical vascular brain injury in a community-based sample.
Methods
In 3440 stroke/TIA-free FHS participants (mean age 65±11yrs, 56%W), we related baseline BDNF and logVEGF to risk of incident stroke/TIA. In a subsample with brain MRI and with neuropsychological (NP) tests available (N=1863 and 2104, respectively; mean age 61±9yrs, 55%W, in each) we related baseline BDNF and logVEGF to log-white matter hyperintensity volume (lWMHV) on brain MRI, and to visuospatial memory and executive function tests.
Results
During a median follow-up of 10 years, 193 participants experienced incident stroke/TIA. In multivariable analyses adjusted for age-, sex- and traditional stroke risk factors, lower BDNF and higher logVEGF levels were associated with an increased risk of incident stroke/TIA (HR comparing BDNF Q1 versus Q2–4:1.47, 95%CI:1.09–2.00, p=0.012; and HR/SD increase in logVEGF:1.21, 95%CI:1.04–1.40, p=0.012). Persons with higher BDNF levels had less lWMHV (β±SE=−0.05±0.02; p=0.025), and better visual memory (β±SE=0.18±0.07; p=0.005).
Conclusions
Lower serum BDNF and higher VEGF concentrations were associated with increased risk of incident stroke/TIA. Higher levels of BDNF were also associated with less white matter hyperintensity and better visual memory. Our findings suggest that circulating BDNF and VEGF levels modify risk of clinical and subclinical vascular brain injury.
doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.113.001447
PMCID: PMC3873715  PMID: 23929745
BDNF; VEGF; Risk; Stroke; Brain MRI; Subclinical
7.  Brain Imaging and Cognitive Predictors of Stroke and Alzheimer Disease in the Framingham Heart Study 
Background and purpose
Exposure to vascular risk factors has a gradual deleterious effect on brain MRI and cognitive measures. We explored whether a pattern of these measures exists that predicts stroke and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) risk.
Methods
A cognitive battery was administered to 1,679 dementia and stroke-free Framingham Offspring (age>55; mean=65.7±7.0) between 1999 and 2004; participants were also free of other neurological conditions that could affect cognition and >90% also had brain MRI examination. We related cognitive and MRI measures to risks of incident stroke and AD during up to 10 years of follow-up. As a secondary analysis, we explored these associations in the FHS Original cohort (mean age 67.5±7.3 and 84.8±3.3 at the cognitive assessment and MRI examination, respectively).
Results
A total of 55 Offspring participants sustained strokes and 31 developed AD. Offspring who scored <1.5 standard-deviations below predicted mean scores, for age and education, on an executive function test, had a higher risk of future stroke (HR=2.27;95%CI:1.06–4.85) and AD (3.60;95%CI:1.52–8.52); additional cognitive tests also predicted AD. Participants with low (<20%ile) total brain volume and high (>20%ile) white matter hyperintensity volume had a higher risk of stroke (HR=1.97;95%CI:1.03–3.77 and HR=2.74;95%CI:1.51–5.00, respectively) but not AD. Hippocampal volume at the bottom quintile predicted AD in the Offspring and Original cohorts (HR=4.41;95%CI:2.00–9.72 and HR=2.37;95%CI:1.12–5.00, respectively). A stepwise increase in stroke risk was apparent with increasing numbers of these cognitive and imagingmarkers.
Conclusions
Specific patterns of cognitive and brain structural measures observed even in early aging predict stroke risk and may serve as biomarkers for risk prediction.
doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.113.000947
PMCID: PMC3974341  PMID: 23920020
stroke; Alzheimer’s disease; cognitive function; brain MRI
8.  A Multi-Ethnic Meta-Analysis of Genome-Wide Association Studies in Over 100,000 Subjects Identifies 23 Fibrinogen-Associated Loci but no Strong Evidence of a Causal Association between Circulating Fibrinogen and Cardiovascular Disease 
Sabater-Lleal, Maria | Huang, Jie | Chasman, Daniel | Naitza, Silvia | Dehghan, Abbas | Johnson, Andrew D | Teumer, Alexander | Reiner, Alex P | Folkersen, Lasse | Basu, Saonli | Rudnicka, Alicja R | Trompet, Stella | Mälarstig, Anders | Baumert, Jens | Bis, Joshua C. | Guo, Xiuqing | Hottenga, Jouke J | Shin, So-Youn | Lopez, Lorna M | Lahti, Jari | Tanaka, Toshiko | Yanek, Lisa R | Oudot-Mellakh, Tiphaine | Wilson, James F | Navarro, Pau | Huffman, Jennifer E | Zemunik, Tatijana | Redline, Susan | Mehra, Reena | Pulanic, Drazen | Rudan, Igor | Wright, Alan F | Kolcic, Ivana | Polasek, Ozren | Wild, Sarah H | Campbell, Harry | Curb, J David | Wallace, Robert | Liu, Simin | Eaton, Charles B. | Becker, Diane M. | Becker, Lewis C. | Bandinelli, Stefania | Räikkönen, Katri | Widen, Elisabeth | Palotie, Aarno | Fornage, Myriam | Green, David | Gross, Myron | Davies, Gail | Harris, Sarah E | Liewald, David C | Starr, John M | Williams, Frances M.K. | Grant, P.J. | Spector, Timothy D. | Strawbridge, Rona J | Silveira, Angela | Sennblad, Bengt | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Uitterlinden, Andre G | Franco, Oscar H | Hofman, Albert | van Dongen, Jenny | Willemsen, G | Boomsma, Dorret I | Yao, Jie | Jenny, Nancy Swords | Haritunians, Talin | McKnight, Barbara | Lumley, Thomas | Taylor, Kent D | Rotter, Jerome I | Psaty, Bruce M | Peters, Annette | Gieger, Christian | Illig, Thomas | Grotevendt, Anne | Homuth, Georg | Völzke, Henry | Kocher, Thomas | Goel, Anuj | Franzosi, Maria Grazia | Seedorf, Udo | Clarke, Robert | Steri, Maristella | Tarasov, Kirill V | Sanna, Serena | Schlessinger, David | Stott, David J | Sattar, Naveed | Buckley, Brendan M | Rumley, Ann | Lowe, Gordon D | McArdle, Wendy L | Chen, Ming-Huei | Tofler, Geoffrey H | Song, Jaejoon | Boerwinkle, Eric | Folsom, Aaron R. | Rose, Lynda M. | Franco-Cereceda, Anders | Teichert, Martina | Ikram, M Arfan | Mosley, Thomas H | Bevan, Steve | Dichgans, Martin | Rothwell, Peter M. | Sudlow, Cathie L M | Hopewell, Jemma C. | Chambers, John C. | Saleheen, Danish | Kooner, Jaspal S. | Danesh, John | Nelson, Christopher P | Erdmann, Jeanette | Reilly, Muredach P. | Kathiresan, Sekar | Schunkert, Heribert | Morange, Pierre-Emmanuel | Ferrucci, Luigi | Eriksson, Johan G | Jacobs, David | Deary, Ian J | Soranzo, Nicole | Witteman, Jacqueline CM | de Geus, Eco JC | Tracy, Russell P. | Hayward, Caroline | Koenig, Wolfgang | Cucca, Francesco | Jukema, J Wouter | Eriksson, Per | Seshadri, Sudha | Markus, Hugh S. | Watkins, Hugh | Samani, Nilesh J | Wallaschofski, Henri | Smith, Nicholas L. | Tregouet, David | Ridker, Paul M. | Tang, Weihong | Strachan, David P. | Hamsten, Anders | O’Donnell, Christopher J.
Circulation  2013;128(12):10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.002251.
Background
Estimates of the heritability of plasma fibrinogen concentration, an established predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD), range from 34 to 50%. Genetic variants so far identified by genome-wide association (GWA) studies only explain a small proportion (< 2%) of its variation.
Methods and Results
We conducted a meta-analysis of 28 GWA studies, including more than 90,000 subjects of European ancestry, the first GWA meta-analysis of fibrinogen levels in 7 African Americans studies totaling 8,289 samples, and a GWA study in Hispanic-Americans totaling 1,366 samples. Evaluation for association of SNPs with clinical outcomes included a total of 40,695 cases and 85,582 controls for coronary artery disease (CAD), 4,752 cases and 24,030 controls for stroke, and 3,208 cases and 46,167 controls for venous thromboembolism (VTE). Overall, we identified 24 genome-wide significant (P<5×10−8) independent signals in 23 loci, including 15 novel associations, together accounting for 3.7% of plasma fibrinogen variation. Gene-set enrichment analysis highlighted key roles in fibrinogen regulation for the three structural fibrinogen genes and pathways related to inflammation, adipocytokines and thyrotrophin-releasing hormone signaling. Whereas lead SNPs in a few loci were significantly associated with CAD, the combined effect of all 24 fibrinogen-associated lead SNPs was not significant for CAD, stroke or VTE.
Conclusion
We identify 23 robustly associated fibrinogen loci, 15 of which are new. Clinical outcome analysis of these loci does not support a causal relationship between circulating levels of fibrinogen and CAD, stroke or VTE.
doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.002251
PMCID: PMC3842025  PMID: 23969696
Fibrinogen; cardiovascular disease; genome-wide association study
9.  Relations of arterial stiffness and endothelial function to brain aging in the community 
Neurology  2013;81(11):984-991.
Objective:
To determine the association of arterial stiffness and pressure pulsatility, which can damage small vessels in the brain, with vascular and Alzheimer-type brain aging.
Methods:
Stroke- and dementia-free Framingham Offspring Study participants (n = 1,587, 61 ± 9 years, 45% male) underwent study of tonometric arterial stiffness and endothelial function (1998–2001) and brain MRI and cognition (1999–2002). We related carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (CFPWV), mean arterial and central pulse pressure, and endothelial function to vascular brain aging by MRI (total cerebral brain volume [TCBV], white matter hyperintensity volume, silent cerebral infarcts) and vascular and Alzheimer-type cognitive aging (Trails B minus Trails A and logical memory-delayed recall, respectively).
Results:
Higher CFPWV was associated with lower TCBV, greater white matter hyperintensity volume, and greater prevalence of silent cerebral infarcts (all p < 0.05). Each SD greater CFPWV was associated with lower TCBV equivalent to 1.2 years of brain aging. Mean arterial and central pulse pressure were associated with greater white matter hyperintensity volume (p = 0.005) and lower TCBV (p = 0.02), respectively, and worse verbal memory (both p < 0.05). Associations of tonometry variables with TCBV and white matter hyperintensity volume were stronger among those aged 65 years and older vs those younger than 65 years (p < 0.10 for interaction). Brachial artery endothelial function was unrelated to MRI measures (all p > 0.05).
Conclusions:
Greater arterial stiffness and pressure pulsatility are associated with brain aging, MRI vascular insults, and memory deficits typically seen in Alzheimer dementia. Future investigations are warranted to evaluate the potential impact of prevention and treatment of unfavorable arterial hemodynamics on neurocognitive outcomes.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182a43e1c
PMCID: PMC3888200  PMID: 23935179
11.  Meta-analysis in more than 17,900 cases of ischemic stroke reveals a novel association at 12q24.12 
Neurology  2014;83(8):678-685.
Objectives:
To perform a genome-wide association study (GWAS) using the Immunochip array in 3,420 cases of ischemic stroke and 6,821 controls, followed by a meta-analysis with data from more than 14,000 additional ischemic stroke cases.
Methods:
Using the Immunochip, we genotyped 3,420 ischemic stroke cases and 6,821 controls. After imputation we meta-analyzed the results with imputed GWAS data from 3,548 cases and 5,972 controls recruited from the ischemic stroke WTCCC2 study, and with summary statistics from a further 8,480 cases and 56,032 controls in the METASTROKE consortium. A final in silico “look-up” of 2 single nucleotide polymorphisms in 2,522 cases and 1,899 controls was performed. Associations were also examined in 1,088 cases with intracerebral hemorrhage and 1,102 controls.
Results:
In an overall analysis of 17,970 cases of ischemic stroke and 70,764 controls, we identified a novel association on chromosome 12q24 (rs10744777, odds ratio [OR] 1.10 [1.07–1.13], p = 7.12 × 10−11) with ischemic stroke. The association was with all ischemic stroke rather than an individual stroke subtype, with similar effect sizes seen in different stroke subtypes. There was no association with intracerebral hemorrhage (OR 1.03 [0.90–1.17], p = 0.695).
Conclusion:
Our results show, for the first time, a genetic risk locus associated with ischemic stroke as a whole, rather than in a subtype-specific manner. This finding was not associated with intracerebral hemorrhage.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000000707
PMCID: PMC4150131  PMID: 25031287
12.  APOE genotype and MRI markers of cerebrovascular disease 
Neurology  2013;81(3):292-300.
Objective:
We aimed to examine the association of APOE ε genotype with MRI markers of cerebrovascular disease (CVD): white matter hyperintensities, brain infarcts, and cerebral microbleeds.
Methods:
We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of 42 cross-sectional or longitudinal studies identified in PubMed from 1966 to June 2012 (n = 29,965). This included unpublished data from 3 population-based studies: 3C-Dijon, Framingham Heart Study, and Sydney Memory and Ageing Study. When necessary, authors were contacted to provide effect estimates for the meta-analysis.
Results:
APOE ε4 carrier status and APOE ε44 genotype were associated with increasing white matter hyperintensity burden (sample size–weighted z score meta-analysis [meta]-p = 0.0034 and 0.0030) and presence of cerebral microbleeds (meta odds ratio [OR] = 1.24, 95% confidence interval [CI] [1.07, 1.43], p = 0.004, and 1.87 [1.26, 2.78], p = 0.002), especially lobar. APOE ε2 carrier status was associated with increasing white matter hyperintensity load (z score meta-p = 0.00053) and risk of brain infarct (meta OR = 1.41[1.09, 1.81], p = 0.008).
Conclusions:
APOE ε4 and APOE ε2 were associated with increasing burden in MRI markers for both hemorrhagic and ischemic CVD. While the association of APOE ε4 with an increased burden of CVD could be partly contributing to the relationship between APOE ε4 and AD, APOE ε2 was associated with MRI markers of CVD in the opposite direction compared to AD.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e31829bfda4
PMCID: PMC3770168  PMID: 23858411
13.  Lexical retrieval in discourse: An early indicator of Alzheimer's dementia 
Clinical linguistics & phonetics  2013;27(12):905-921.
We examined the progression of lexical-retrieval deficits in individuals with neuropathologically determined Alzheimer's disease (AD; n = 23) and a comparison group without criteria for AD (n = 24) to determine whether linguistic changes were a significant marker of the disease. Our participants underwent multiple administrations of a neuropsychological battery, with initial administration occurring on average 16 years prior to death. The battery included the Boston Naming Test (BNT), a letter fluency task (FAS), and written description of the Cookie Theft Picture (CTP).
Repeated measures analysis revealed that the AD-group showed progressively greater decline in FAS and CTP lexical performance than the comparison group. Cross-sectional time-specific group comparisons indicated that the CTP differentiated performance between the two groups at 7–9 years prior to death and FAS and BNT only at 2–4 years. These results suggest that lexical-retrieval deficits in written discourse serve as an early indicator of AD.
doi:10.3109/02699206.2013.815278
PMCID: PMC4095845  PMID: 23985011
discourse; naming; early markers; neuropathology; Alzheimer's disease
14.  Associations of NINJ2 Sequence Variants with Incident Ischemic Stroke in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) Consortium 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99798.
Background
Stroke, the leading neurologic cause of death and disability, has a substantial genetic component. We previously conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in four prospective studies from the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) consortium and demonstrated that sequence variants near the NINJ2 gene are associated with incident ischemic stroke. Here, we sought to fine-map functional variants in the region and evaluate the contribution of rare variants to ischemic stroke risk.
Methods and Results
We sequenced 196 kb around NINJ2 on chromosome 12p13 among 3,986 European ancestry participants, including 475 ischemic stroke cases, from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, Cardiovascular Health Study, and Framingham Heart Study. Meta-analyses of single-variant tests for 425 common variants (minor allele frequency [MAF] ≥ 1%) confirmed the original GWAS results and identified an independent intronic variant, rs34166160 (MAF = 0.012), most significantly associated with incident ischemic stroke (HR = 1.80, p = 0.0003). Aggregating 278 putatively-functional variants with MAF≤ 1% using count statistics, we observed a nominally statistically significant association, with the burden of rare NINJ2 variants contributing to decreased ischemic stroke incidence (HR = 0.81; p = 0.026).
Conclusion
Common and rare variants in the NINJ2 region were nominally associated with incident ischemic stroke among a subset of CHARGE participants. Allelic heterogeneity at this locus, caused by multiple rare, low frequency, and common variants with disparate effects on risk, may explain the difficulties in replicating the original GWAS results. Additional studies that take into account the complex allelic architecture at this locus are needed to confirm these findings.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0099798
PMCID: PMC4069013  PMID: 24959832
15.  Serum Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor and the Risk for Dementia 
JAMA neurology  2014;71(1):55-61.
IMPORTANCE
In animal studies, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been shown to impact neuronal survival and function and improve synaptic plasticity and long-term memory. Circulating BDNF levels increase with physical activity and caloric restriction, thus BDNF may mediate some of the observed associations between lifestyle and the risk for dementia. Some prior studies showed lower circulating BDNF in persons with Alzheimer disease (AD) compared with control participants; however, it remains uncertain whether reduced levels precede dementia onset.
OBJECTIVE
To examine whether higher serum BDNF levels in cognitively healthy adults protect against the future risk for dementia and AD and to identify potential modifiers of this association.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS
Framingham Study original and offspring participants were followed up from 1992 and 1998, respectively, for up to 10 years. We used Cox models to relate BDNF levels to the risk for dementia and AD and adjusted for potential confounders. We also ran sensitivity analyses stratified by sex, age, and education, as well as related BDNF genetic variants to AD risk. This community-based, prospective cohort study involved 2131 dementia-free participants aged 60 years and older (mean [SD] age, 72 [7] years; 56% women).
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES
Ten-year incidence of dementia and AD.
RESULTS
During follow-up, 140 participants developed dementia, 117 of whom had AD. Controlling for age and sex, each standard-deviation increment in BDNF was associated with a 33% lower risk for dementia and AD (P = .006 and P = .01, respectively) and these associations persisted after additional adjustments. Compared with the bottom quintile, BDNF levels in the top quintile were associated with less than half the risk for dementia and AD (hazard ratio, 0.49; 95%CI, 0.28–0.85; P = .01; and hazard ratio, 0.46; 95%CI, 0.24–0.86; P = .02, respectively). These associations were apparent only among women, persons aged 80 years and older, and those with college degrees (hazard ratios for AD: 0.65, [95%CI, 0.50–0.85], P = .001; 0.63 [95%CI, 0.47–0.85], P = .002; and 0.27 [95%CI, 0.11–0.65], P = .003, respectively). Brain-derived neurotrophic factor genetic variants were not associated with AD risk.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE
Higher serum BDNF levels may protect against future occurrence of dementia and AD. Our findings suggest a role for BDNF in the biology and possibly in the prevention of dementia and AD, especially in select subgroups of women and older and more highly educated persons.
doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2013.4781
PMCID: PMC4056186  PMID: 24276217
16.  Gene-Wide Analysis Detects Two New Susceptibility Genes for Alzheimer's Disease 
Escott-Price, Valentina | Bellenguez, Céline | Wang, Li-San | Choi, Seung-Hoan | Harold, Denise | Jones, Lesley | Holmans, Peter | Gerrish, Amy | Vedernikov, Alexey | Richards, Alexander | DeStefano, Anita L. | Lambert, Jean-Charles | Ibrahim-Verbaas, Carla A. | Naj, Adam C. | Sims, Rebecca | Jun, Gyungah | Bis, Joshua C. | Beecham, Gary W. | Grenier-Boley, Benjamin | Russo, Giancarlo | Thornton-Wells, Tricia A. | Denning, Nicola | Smith, Albert V. | Chouraki, Vincent | Thomas, Charlene | Ikram, M. Arfan | Zelenika, Diana | Vardarajan, Badri N. | Kamatani, Yoichiro | Lin, Chiao-Feng | Schmidt, Helena | Kunkle, Brian | Dunstan, Melanie L. | Vronskaya, Maria | Johnson, Andrew D. | Ruiz, Agustin | Bihoreau, Marie-Thérèse | Reitz, Christiane | Pasquier, Florence | Hollingworth, Paul | Hanon, Olivier | Fitzpatrick, Annette L. | Buxbaum, Joseph D. | Campion, Dominique | Crane, Paul K. | Baldwin, Clinton | Becker, Tim | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Cruchaga, Carlos | Craig, David | Amin, Najaf | Berr, Claudine | Lopez, Oscar L. | De Jager, Philip L. | Deramecourt, Vincent | Johnston, Janet A. | Evans, Denis | Lovestone, Simon | Letenneur, Luc | Hernández, Isabel | Rubinsztein, David C. | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Sleegers, Kristel | Goate, Alison M. | Fiévet, Nathalie | Huentelman, Matthew J. | Gill, Michael | Brown, Kristelle | Kamboh, M. Ilyas | Keller, Lina | Barberger-Gateau, Pascale | McGuinness, Bernadette | Larson, Eric B. | Myers, Amanda J. | Dufouil, Carole | Todd, Stephen | Wallon, David | Love, Seth | Rogaeva, Ekaterina | Gallacher, John | George-Hyslop, Peter St | Clarimon, Jordi | Lleo, Alberto | Bayer, Anthony | Tsuang, Debby W. | Yu, Lei | Tsolaki, Magda | Bossù, Paola | Spalletta, Gianfranco | Proitsi, Petra | Collinge, John | Sorbi, Sandro | Garcia, Florentino Sanchez | Fox, Nick C. | Hardy, John | Naranjo, Maria Candida Deniz | Bosco, Paolo | Clarke, Robert | Brayne, Carol | Galimberti, Daniela | Scarpini, Elio | Bonuccelli, Ubaldo | Mancuso, Michelangelo | Siciliano, Gabriele | Moebus, Susanne | Mecocci, Patrizia | Zompo, Maria Del | Maier, Wolfgang | Hampel, Harald | Pilotto, Alberto | Frank-García, Ana | Panza, Francesco | Solfrizzi, Vincenzo | Caffarra, Paolo | Nacmias, Benedetta | Perry, William | Mayhaus, Manuel | Lannfelt, Lars | Hakonarson, Hakon | Pichler, Sabrina | Carrasquillo, Minerva M. | Ingelsson, Martin | Beekly, Duane | Alvarez, Victoria | Zou, Fanggeng | Valladares, Otto | Younkin, Steven G. | Coto, Eliecer | Hamilton-Nelson, Kara L. | Gu, Wei | Razquin, Cristina | Pastor, Pau | Mateo, Ignacio | Owen, Michael J. | Faber, Kelley M. | Jonsson, Palmi V. | Combarros, Onofre | O'Donovan, Michael C. | Cantwell, Laura B. | Soininen, Hilkka | Blacker, Deborah | Mead, Simon | Mosley, Thomas H. | Bennett, David A. | Harris, Tamara B. | Fratiglioni, Laura | Holmes, Clive | de Bruijn, Renee F. A. G. | Passmore, Peter | Montine, Thomas J. | Bettens, Karolien | Rotter, Jerome I. | Brice, Alexis | Morgan, Kevin | Foroud, Tatiana M. | Kukull, Walter A. | Hannequin, Didier | Powell, John F. | Nalls, Michael A. | Ritchie, Karen | Lunetta, Kathryn L. | Kauwe, John S. K. | Boerwinkle, Eric | Riemenschneider, Matthias | Boada, Mercè | Hiltunen, Mikko | Martin, Eden R. | Schmidt, Reinhold | Rujescu, Dan | Dartigues, Jean-François | Mayeux, Richard | Tzourio, Christophe | Hofman, Albert | Nöthen, Markus M. | Graff, Caroline | Psaty, Bruce M. | Haines, Jonathan L. | Lathrop, Mark | Pericak-Vance, Margaret A. | Launer, Lenore J. | Van Broeckhoven, Christine | Farrer, Lindsay A. | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Ramirez, Alfredo | Seshadri, Sudha | Schellenberg, Gerard D. | Amouyel, Philippe | Williams, Julie
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e94661.
Background
Alzheimer's disease is a common debilitating dementia with known heritability, for which 20 late onset susceptibility loci have been identified, but more remain to be discovered. This study sought to identify new susceptibility genes, using an alternative gene-wide analytical approach which tests for patterns of association within genes, in the powerful genome-wide association dataset of the International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project Consortium, comprising over 7 m genotypes from 25,580 Alzheimer's cases and 48,466 controls.
Principal Findings
In addition to earlier reported genes, we detected genome-wide significant loci on chromosomes 8 (TP53INP1, p = 1.4×10−6) and 14 (IGHV1-67 p = 7.9×10−8) which indexed novel susceptibility loci.
Significance
The additional genes identified in this study, have an array of functions previously implicated in Alzheimer's disease, including aspects of energy metabolism, protein degradation and the immune system and add further weight to these pathways as potential therapeutic targets in Alzheimer's disease.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094661
PMCID: PMC4055488  PMID: 24922517
17.  Meta-analysis of 74,046 individuals identifies 11 new susceptibility loci for Alzheimer’s disease 
Lambert, Jean-Charles | Ibrahim-Verbaas, Carla A | Harold, Denise | Naj, Adam C | Sims, Rebecca | Bellenguez, Céline | Jun, Gyungah | DeStefano, Anita L | Bis, Joshua C | Beecham, Gary W | Grenier-Boley, Benjamin | Russo, Giancarlo | Thornton-Wells, Tricia A | Jones, Nicola | Smith, Albert V | Chouraki, Vincent | Thomas, Charlene | Ikram, M Arfan | Zelenika, Diana | Vardarajan, Badri N | Kamatani, Yoichiro | Lin, Chiao-Feng | Gerrish, Amy | Schmidt, Helena | Kunkle, Brian | Dunstan, Melanie L | Ruiz, Agustin | Bihoreau, Marie-Thérèse | Choi, Seung-Hoan | Reitz, Christiane | Pasquier, Florence | Hollingworth, Paul | Ramirez, Alfredo | Hanon, Olivier | Fitzpatrick, Annette L | Buxbaum, Joseph D | Campion, Dominique | Crane, Paul K | Baldwin, Clinton | Becker, Tim | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Cruchaga, Carlos | Craig, David | Amin, Najaf | Berr, Claudine | Lopez, Oscar L | De Jager, Philip L | Deramecourt, Vincent | Johnston, Janet A | Evans, Denis | Lovestone, Simon | Letenneur, Luc | Morón, Francisco J | Rubinsztein, David C | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Sleegers, Kristel | Goate, Alison M | Fiévet, Nathalie | Huentelman, Matthew J | Gill, Michael | Brown, Kristelle | Kamboh, M Ilyas | Keller, Lina | Barberger-Gateau, Pascale | McGuinness, Bernadette | Larson, Eric B | Green, Robert | Myers, Amanda J | Dufouil, Carole | Todd, Stephen | Wallon, David | Love, Seth | Rogaeva, Ekaterina | Gallacher, John | St George-Hyslop, Peter | Clarimon, Jordi | Lleo, Alberto | Bayer, Anthony | Tsuang, Debby W | Yu, Lei | Tsolaki, Magda | Bossù, Paola | Spalletta, Gianfranco | Proitsi, Petroula | Collinge, John | Sorbi, Sandro | Sanchez-Garcia, Florentino | Fox, Nick C | Hardy, John | Deniz Naranjo, Maria Candida | Bosco, Paolo | Clarke, Robert | Brayne, Carol | Galimberti, Daniela | Mancuso, Michelangelo | Matthews, Fiona | Moebus, Susanne | Mecocci, Patrizia | Zompo, Maria Del | Maier, Wolfgang | Hampel, Harald | Pilotto, Alberto | Bullido, Maria | Panza, Francesco | Caffarra, Paolo | Nacmias, Benedetta | Gilbert, John R | Mayhaus, Manuel | Lannfelt, Lars | Hakonarson, Hakon | Pichler, Sabrina | Carrasquillo, Minerva M | Ingelsson, Martin | Beekly, Duane | Alvarez, Victoria | Zou, Fanggeng | Valladares, Otto | Younkin, Steven G | Coto, Eliecer | Hamilton-Nelson, Kara L | Gu, Wei | Razquin, Cristina | Pastor, Pau | Mateo, Ignacio | Owen, Michael J | Faber, Kelley M | Jonsson, Palmi V | Combarros, Onofre | O’Donovan, Michael C | Cantwell, Laura B | Soininen, Hilkka | Blacker, Deborah | Mead, Simon | Mosley, Thomas H | Bennett, David A | Harris, Tamara B | Fratiglioni, Laura | Holmes, Clive | de Bruijn, Renee F A G | Passmore, Peter | Montine, Thomas J | Bettens, Karolien | Rotter, Jerome I | Brice, Alexis | Morgan, Kevin | Foroud, Tatiana M | Kukull, Walter A | Hannequin, Didier | Powell, John F | Nalls, Michael A | Ritchie, Karen | Lunetta, Kathryn L | Kauwe, John S K | Boerwinkle, Eric | Riemenschneider, Matthias | Boada, Mercè | Hiltunen, Mikko | Martin, Eden R | Schmidt, Reinhold | Rujescu, Dan | Wang, Li-san | Dartigues, Jean-François | Mayeux, Richard | Tzourio, Christophe | Hofman, Albert | Nöthen, Markus M | Graff, Caroline | Psaty, Bruce M | Jones, Lesley | Haines, Jonathan L | Holmans, Peter A | Lathrop, Mark | Pericak-Vance, Margaret A | Launer, Lenore J | Farrer, Lindsay A | van Duijn, Cornelia M | Van Broeckhoven, Christine | Moskvina, Valentina | Seshadri, Sudha | Williams, Julie | Schellenberg, Gerard D | Amouyel, Philippe
Nature genetics  2013;45(12):1452-1458.
Eleven susceptibility loci for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD) were identified by previous studies; however, a large portion of the genetic risk for this disease remains unexplained. We conducted a large, two-stage meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in individuals of European ancestry. In stage 1, we used genotyped and imputed data (7,055,881 SNPs) to perform meta-analysis on 4 previously published GWAS data sets consisting of 17,008 Alzheimer’s disease cases and 37,154 controls. In stage 2,11,632 SNPs were genotyped and tested for association in an independent set of 8,572 Alzheimer’s disease cases and 11,312 controls. In addition to the APOE locus (encoding apolipoprotein E), 19 loci reached genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10−8) in the combined stage 1 and stage 2 analysis, of which 11 are newly associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
doi:10.1038/ng.2802
PMCID: PMC3896259  PMID: 24162737
18.  Genome-Wide Meta-Analysis of Homocysteine and Methionine Metabolism Identifies Five One Carbon Metabolism Loci and a Novel Association of ALDH1L1 with Ischemic Stroke 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(3):e1004214.
Circulating homocysteine levels (tHcy), a product of the folate one carbon metabolism pathway (FOCM) through the demethylation of methionine, are heritable and are associated with an increased risk of common diseases such as stroke, cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer and dementia. The FOCM is the sole source of de novo methyl group synthesis, impacting many biological and epigenetic pathways. However, the genetic determinants of elevated tHcy (hyperhomocysteinemia), dysregulation of methionine metabolism and the underlying biological processes remain unclear. We conducted independent genome-wide association studies and a meta-analysis of methionine metabolism, characterized by post-methionine load test tHcy, in 2,710 participants from the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) and 2,100 participants from the Vitamin Intervention for Stroke Prevention (VISP) clinical trial, and then examined the association of the identified loci with incident stroke in FHS. Five genes in the FOCM pathway (GNMT [p = 1.60×10−63], CBS [p = 3.15×10−26], CPS1 [p = 9.10×10−13], ALDH1L1 [p = 7.3×10−13] and PSPH [p = 1.17×10−16]) were strongly associated with the difference between pre- and post-methionine load test tHcy levels (ΔPOST). Of these, one variant in the ALDH1L1 locus, rs2364368, was associated with incident ischemic stroke. Promoter analyses reveal genetic and epigenetic differences that may explain a direct effect on GNMT transcription and a downstream affect on methionine metabolism. Additionally, a genetic-score consisting of the five significant loci explains 13% of the variance of ΔPOST in FHS and 6% of the variance in VISP. Association between variants in FOCM genes with ΔPOST suggest novel mechanisms that lead to differences in methionine metabolism, and possibly the epigenome, impacting disease risk. These data emphasize the importance of a concerted effort to understand regulators of one carbon metabolism as potential therapeutic targets.
Author Summary
Elevated homocysteine (tHcy) is strongly associated with risk for common disorders such as stroke, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer disease. Lowering tHcy levels has proven to have variable success in reducing clinical risk, so the question remains, “Are we correctly targeting these disorders by lowering tHcy?” Understanding folate one-carbon metabolism pathway (FOCM) genetic variation will aid us in developing new targets for therapy. The FOCM is essential in regulation of the epigenome, which controls genes in ways beyond nucleotide sequence. We present data generated from stroke-only and general populations where we identify strong association of genetic risk factors for variation in one-carbon metabolism function, characterized by the post-methionine load test. We show that GNMT harbors genetic and epigenetic differences that influence gene function, which may have downstream effects on the epigenome of the cell, affecting disease risk. We developed a genetic risk score that predicts post-methionine load homocysteine levels that may be useful in clinic. Finally, we identified a novel association between ischemic stroke and ALDH1L1, which emphasizes the clinical importance of this work. Our results highlight the importance of a concerted effort to target the FOCM (beyond tHcy) and parallel pathways in future pharmacogenetic work using the genetic variation we describe here.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004214
PMCID: PMC3961178  PMID: 24651765
19.  Association of Parental Stroke with Brain Injury and Cognitive Measures in Offspring – The Framingham Heart Study 
Background and purpose
Parental stroke has been related to an increased risk of stroke in the offspring. This study examines whether parental stroke is also associated with increased vascular brain injury and poorer cognitive performance among offspring free of clinical stroke.
Methods
Multivariable regression analyses were used to relate parental stroke to cross-sectional and change in brain magnetic resonance imaging measures and cognitive function among the offspring, with and without adjustment for vascular risk factors.
Results
Stroke- and dementia-free Framingham Offspring (n=1,297, age:61±9 years, 54% women) were studied. Parental stroke by age 65 years was associated with a higher baseline white matter hyperintensity volume (WMHV;β=0.17±0.08; p=0.027), and with lower visual memory performance (β =−0.80±0.34; p=0.017). During a 6 year follow-up, parental stroke was also associated with increase in WMHV (odds ratio [OR] = 1.87;95%CI:1.03–3.38) and decline in executive function (Trails B–A; OR=1.81;95%CI:1.06–3.09). The associations with WMHV and visual memory attenuated after additional adjustment for concomitant vascular risk factors.
Conclusions
Parental stroke by age 65 years is associated with increased vascular brain injury and lower memory in offspring equivalent to 3 and 7 years of brain aging, respectively. This may be partly attributed to inheritance of vascular risk factors.
doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.112.680520
PMCID: PMC3752976  PMID: 23362080
stroke; cognitive function; brain MRI
20.  Apolipoprotein Epsilon 4 Allele Modifies Waist-to-Hip Ratio Effects on Cognition and Brain Structure 
This study aimed to determine whether relationships between obesity, as measured by waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), and cognition and brain structure were modified by the apolipoprotein epsilon 4 allele (apoE4). The sample included 1,969 stroke and dementia-free participants from the Framingham Offspring Cohort who underwent neuropsychological (NP) testing and structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) between 1999–2002. WHR was categorized into sex-specific quartiles with those in Q4 representing central obesity. Multivariate linear regression estimated the relationships between Q4-WHR, cognitive and MRI measures; interaction terms examined modification of these relationships by the presence of apoE4. All analyses were cross sectional.
ApoE4 status significantly modified a number of associations. Specifically, we observed a significant negative relationship between Q4-WHR and a measure of executive function in the apoE4+ group but not in the apoE4− group. Similarly, we observed a stronger negative relationship between Q4-WHR and a measure of memory function for those in the apoE4+ group compared to those in the apoE4− group. Additionally, apoE4 status modified the relationship between Q4-WHR and two measures of structural brain integrity. First, a paradoxical finding of a negative association between WHR and frontal brain volume that was significant only for those in the apoE4- group, and a second finding that WHR was significantly associated with greater white matter hyperintensity volume only in the apoE4+ group.
These findings suggest that associations between central adiposity and both neuropsychological performance and underlying brain structure are highly complex and must be considered in the context of possible modifying genetic influences.
doi:10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2011.06.020
PMCID: PMC3613758  PMID: 21835633
waist-to-hip ratio; apoE4; metabolic syndrome; obesity; Alzheimer’s disease
21.  Ischaemic stroke is associated with the ABO locus: the Euroclot study 
Annals of neurology  2013;73(1):16-31.
Objectives
End-stage coagulation and the structure/function of fibrin are implicated in the pathogenesis of ischaemic stroke. We explored whether genetic variants associated with end-stage coagulation in healthy volunteers account for the genetic predisposition to ischemic stroke and examined their influence on stroke subtype.
Methods
Common genetic variants identified through genome-wide association studies of coagulation factors and fibrin structure/function in healthy twins (n=2,100 Stage 1) were examined in ischemic stroke (n=4,200 cases) using 2 independent samples of European ancestry (Stage 2). A third clinical collection having stroke subtyping (total 8,900 cases 55,000 controls) was used for replication (Stage 3).
Results
Stage 1 identified 524 SNPs from 23 LD blocks having significant association (p<5 ×10-8) with one or more coagulation/fibrin phenotypes. Most striking associations included SNP rs5985 with factor XIII activity (p=2.6×10-186), rs10665 with FVII (p = 2.4×10-47) and rs505922 in the ABO gene with both von Willebrand Factor (vWF p=4.7×10-57) and factor VIII (p=1.2×10-36). In Stage 2, the 23 independent SNPs were examined in stroke cases/non-cases using MORGAM and WTCCC2 collections. SNP rs505922 was nominally associated with ischaemic stroke, odds ratio = 0.94 (95% confidence intervals, 0.88-0.99), p=0.023. Independent replication in Meta-Stroke confirmed the rs505922 association with stroke, beta=0.066 (0.02) p = 0.001, a finding specific to large vessel and cardioembolic stroke (p = 0.001 and p = <0.001 respectively) but not seen with small vessel stroke (p=0.811).
Interpretation
ABO gene variants are associated with large vessel and cardioembolic stroke but not small vessel disease. This work sheds light on the different pathogenic mechanisms underpinning stroke subtype.
doi:10.1002/ana.23838
PMCID: PMC3582024  PMID: 23381943
GWAS; thrombosis; stroke; coagulation factor; stroke subtype
22.  Risk estimations, risk factors and genetic variants associated with Alzheimer Disease in selected publications from the Framingham Heart Study 
Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD  2013;33(0 1):S439-S445.
The study of Alzheimer Disease (AD) in the Framingham Heart Study (FHS), a multi-generational, community-based population study, began nearly four decades ago. In this overview, we highlight findings from 7 prior publications that examined lifetime risk estimates for AD, environmental risk factors for AD, circulating and imaging markers of aging-related brain injury and explorations on the genetics underlying AD.
doi:10.3233/JAD-2012-129040
PMCID: PMC3672236  PMID: 22796871
Cohort Studies; Alzheimer's disease; Risk factors; Cerebrovascular Disorders; Genetic variation
23.  QUALITATIVE NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL MEASURES: NORMATIVE DATA ON EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONING TESTS FROM THE FRAMINGHAM OFFSPRING STUDY 
Experimental aging research  2013;39(5):10.1080/0361073X.2013.839029.
Background/Study Context
Studies have found that executive functioning is affected early in the pathophysiological processes associated with Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. There also exists a range of functioning on executive tasks during normal aging. Although qualitative data are commonly utilized in clinical practice for evaluating subtle changes in cognitive functioning and diagnostic discernment, it is not clear whether error responses used in clinical practice are also evident as normative behavior.
Methods
As part of an extensive battery of neuropsychological tests, executive functioning measures (i.e., Trail Making-B, Similarities and Verbal Fluency tests) were administered via standardized administration prescript. Regression analyses were used to determine associations between vascular aging indices and qualitative performance measures. Descriptive statistics are included for 1907 cognitively normal individuals.
Results
Results suggest that while qualitative errors do occur, they are relatively infrequent within a presumably cognitively normal sample. Error commission rates on executive functioning tests are significantly associated with both age and education.
Conclusion
Provided is a baseline profile of errors committed on tests of executive function across a range of age and educational levels. The normative datasets are included, stratified by age and educational achievement, for which to compare qualitative test performance of clinical and research populations.
doi:10.1080/0361073X.2013.839029
PMCID: PMC3836045  PMID: 24151914
24.  COSMIC (Cohort Studies of Memory in an International Consortium): An international consortium to identify risk and protective factors and biomarkers of cognitive ageing and dementia in diverse ethnic and sociocultural groups 
BMC Neurology  2013;13:165.
Background
A large number of longitudinal studies of population-based ageing cohorts are in progress internationally, but the insights from these studies into the risk and protective factors for cognitive ageing and conditions like mild cognitive impairment and dementia have been inconsistent. Some of the problems confounding this research can be reduced by harmonising and pooling data across studies. COSMIC (Cohort Studies of Memory in an International Consortium) aims to harmonise data from international cohort studies of cognitive ageing, in order to better understand the determinants of cognitive ageing and neurocognitive disorders.
Methods/Design
Longitudinal studies of cognitive ageing and dementia with at least 500 individuals aged 60 years or over are eligible and invited to be members of COSMIC. There are currently 17 member studies, from regions that include Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. A Research Steering Committee has been established, two meetings of study leaders held, and a website developed. The initial attempts at harmonising key variables like neuropsychological test scores are in progress.
Discussion
The challenges of international consortia like COSMIC include efficient communication among members, extended use of resources, and data harmonisation. Successful harmonisation will facilitate projects investigating rates of cognitive decline, risk and protective factors for mild cognitive impairment, and biomarkers of mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Extended implications of COSMIC could include standardised ways of collecting and reporting data, and a rich cognitive ageing database being made available to other researchers. COSMIC could potentially transform our understanding of the epidemiology of cognitive ageing, and have a world-wide impact on promoting successful ageing.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-13-165
PMCID: PMC3827845  PMID: 24195705
Cohort studies; Cognitive ageing; Data harmonisation; Dementia; International consortium; Mild cognitive impairment
25.  Lipoprotein phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) and cerebral microbleeds (CMBs) in the Framingham Heart Study 
Background and Purpose
Cerebral microbleeds (CMBs) due to cerebral amyloid angiopathy generally occur in lobar regions, while those due to hypertensive vasculopathy are deep. Inflammation may be an underlying mechanism for CMB, with varying associations according to CMB location. Lipoprotein phospholipase-A2 (Lp-PLA2) is a circulating enzyme marker of vascular inflammation associated with risk of ischemic stroke and dementia. We hypothesized that higher Lp-PLA2 levels would be related to higher prevalence of CMBs, with possible regional specificity.
Methods
Framingham Offspring participants aged ≥65 years with available Lp-PLA2 measures and brain MRI were included. Logistic regression models were used to relate Lp-PLA2 activity and mass to presence of CMBs, adjusted for age, sex, medication use (aspirin, anticoagulants, and statins), systolic blood pressure, APOE, current smoking, and diabetes.
Results
819 participants (mean age 73 years; 53% women) were included; 106 (13%) had CMBs; 82 (10%) lobar and 27 (3%) deep. We did not observe significant associations of CMB and LpPLA2 measures in multivariable adjusted analyses. However, there was a significant interaction between APOE genotype and Lp-PLA2 activity in their relation to presence of deep CMBs (p-interaction=0.01). Among persons with APOE ε3/ε3, the OR for deep CMB was 0.95 [0.59–1.53; p=0.83], while among those with at least one ε2 or ε4 allele, OR=3.46 [1.43–8.36; p=0.006].
Conclusions
In our community-based sample of older adults, there was no significant association of Lp-PLA2 with total or lobar CMBs. The association of higher levels of Lp-PLA2 activity with deep CMBs among those with at least one APOE ε2 or ε4 allele merits replication.
doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.112.656744
PMCID: PMC3544291  PMID: 22961963

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