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Author Notes:

Address for Correspondence Viola Vaccarino, MD, PhD Emory University, Dept. of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health 1518 Clifton Rd NE, Room 3011 Atlanta, GA 30322 Phone: 404-727-8710; Fax: 404-727-8737; viola.vaccarino@emory.edu.

We acknowledge the continued cooperation and participation of the members of the Vietnam Era Twin Registry and their families; without their contribution, this research would not have been possible.

Additionally, we would like to thank the tireless staff at Emory, including Lucy Shallenberger, Linda Jones, and Nancy Murrah, who ensured the successful execution of this study.

Disclosures: None

Subjects:

Research Funding:

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health [K24HL077506, R01 HL68630 and R01 AG026255]; the Emory University General Clinical Research Center [MO1-RR00039] and by the American Heart Association [0245115N].

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs has provided financial support for the development and maintenance of the Vietnam Era Twin (VET) Registry.

Numerous organizations have provided invaluable assistance, including: VA Cooperative Study Program; Department of Defense; National Personnel Records Center, National Archives and Records Administration; the Internal Revenue Service; NIH; National Opinion Research Center; National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences; the Institute for Survey Research, Temple University.

Keywords:

  • Science & Technology
  • Social Sciences
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychology
  • Psychology, Multidisciplinary
  • memory
  • autonomic function
  • heart rate variability
  • cognitive function
  • MILD COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT
  • RENIN-ANGIOTENSIN SYSTEM
  • SELECTIVE REMINDING TEST
  • POWER SPECTRUM ANALYSIS
  • ERA TWIN REGISTRY
  • ALZHEIMERS-DISEASE
  • NEUROVISCERAL INTEGRATION
  • ARTERIAL-PRESSURE
  • MYOCARDIAL-INFARCTION
  • AUTONOMIC FUNCTION

Is Heart Rate Variability Related to Memory Performance in Middle-Aged Men?

Tools:

Journal Title:

Psychosomatic Medicine

Volume:

Volume 73, Number 6

Publisher:

, Pages 475-482

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review

Abstract:

OBJECTIVE: Heart rate variability (HRV), a measure of autonomic function, has been associated with cognitive function, but studies are conflicting. Previous studies have also not controlled for familial and genetic influences. METHODS: We performed power spectral analysis on 24-hour ambulatory ECGs in 416 middle-aged male twins from the Vietnam Era Twin Registry. Memory and learning were measured by verbal and visual Selective Reminding Tests (SRTs). Mixed-effect regression models were used to calculate associations between and within twin pairs, while adjusting for covariates. RESULTS: The mean age (standard deviation) was 55 (2.9) years. A statistically significant positive association was found between measures of HRV and verbal, but not visual, SRT scores. The most statistically significant unadjusted association was found between very low frequency HRV and verbal total recall SRT, such that each logarithm of increase in very low frequency was associated with an increased verbal SRT score of 4.85 points (p =.002). The association persisted despite the adjustment for demographic and cardiovascular risk factors, and after accounting for familial and genetic factors by comparing twins within pairs. A significant interaction was found between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and HRV, such that total power and ultra low frequency were associated with SRT in twins (n = 362) without PTSD, but not in those with PTSD. CONCLUSIONS: Lower frequency spectra of HRV are associated with verbal, but not visual, learning and memory, particularly in subjects without PTSD. This association may indicate that autonomic c decline.

Copyright information:

© 2011 by the American Psychosomatic Society.

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