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Approved research

Estimation of the arterial stiffness cut-off value at which there is an impact on brain structure and function

Principal Investigator: Professor Julien Cohen-Adad
Approved Research ID: 54531
Approval date: February 17th 2020

Lay summary

Large arteries of the human body such as the aorta and the carotids are comparable to elastic tubes of different diameters. This elasticity helps the vessels absorb blood pulsatility after each heartbeat. Thus, the blood pulsatility, which is high when the blood is ejected by the heart, gradually decreases along the arteries, so that the blood travels to the very small vessels at the periphery with a continuous blood flow. Unfortunately, as we age, our arteries become rigid and lose their capability to absorb the blood pulsatility which damages the smaller vessels. These vascular alterations limit the oxygen that supply the areas irrigated by them and manifest in structural changes and consequently cognitive decline. The European Society of Hypertension has estimated a threshold of 10 m/s carotid femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV), which is the gold standard measure of arterial stiffness. This threshold represents the threshold above which a cardiovascular event is likely to occur. However, the threshold at which arterial stiffness leads to structural changes in the brain is still not fully understood. The goal of our study is to determine the cfPWV cut-off value that could be used to identify the individuals at higher risk of structural changes and cognitive decline. This will in turn help tailor futur interventions in order to preserve cognitive performance throughout the lifespan.