Stroke - (-) STROKEAHA121032614 [2022-01-10; online 2022-01-10]
There is robust evidence linking vascular health to brain health, cognition, and dementia. In this article, we present evidence from trials of vascular risk factor treatment on cognitive outcomes. We summarize findings from randomized controlled trials of antihypertensives, lipid-lowering medications, diabetes treatments (including antidiabetic drugs versus placebo, and intensive versus standard glycemic control), and multidomain interventions (that target several domains simultaneously such as control of vascular and metabolic factors, nutrition, physical activity, and cognitive stimulation etc). We report that evidence on the efficacy of vascular risk reduction interventions is promising, but not yet conclusive, and several methodological limitations hamper interpretation. Evidence mainly comes from high-income countries and, as cognition and dementia have not been the primary outcomes of many trials, evaluation of cognitive changes have often been limited. As the cognitive aging process occurs over decades, it is unclear whether treatment during the late-life window is optimal for dementia prevention, yet older individuals have been the target of most trials thus far. Further, many trials have not been powered to explore interactions with modifiers such as age, race, and apolipoprotein E, even though sub-analyses from some trials indicate that the success of interventions differs depending on patient characteristics. Due to the complex multifactorial etiology of dementia, and variations in risk factors between individuals, multidomain interventions targeting several risk factors and mechanisms are likely to be needed and the long-term sustainability of preventive interventions will require personalized approaches that could be facilitated by digital health tools. This is especially relevant during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, where intervention strategies will need to be adapted to the new normal, when face-to-face engagement with participants is limited and public health measures may create changes in lifestyle that affect individuals' vascular risk profiles and subsequent risk of cognitive decline.