Poster F34, Tuesday, March 27, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
The Effects of Vascular Risk Factors on Inhibitory Control in Cognitively Healthy Young Adults
Juliette Seremak1, Heather Nall1, Alexandra Roach1; 1University of South Carolina Aiken
Research has shown that the presence of various vascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure (BP), glucose levels (BGL), body mass index (BMI), and diabetes, can have an adverse effect on cognitive function in individuals regardless of age. Because many vascular risk factors can be stopped or reversed by taking preventative action, it is important to understand how early in the lifespan these factors are affecting cognition. The focus of this study was to determine whether or not these risk factors are correlated with cognitive performance, specifically inhibitory control. We tested 47 undergraduate volunteers, between the ages of 18 and 45, on a computerized version of the flanker arrow task with congruent, incongruent, and neutral trials. We analyzed accuracy and reaction times (correct trials) using linear mixed models in R. With respect to accuracy, we found a main effect of systolic BP, F(1, 42) = 4.371, p = .04, and an interaction with trial type, F(2, 15239) = 36.8, p<.0001. For reaction time, we found a main effect of systolic BP, F(1, 42) = 7.97, p = .007, and an interaction between systolic BP and trial type, F(2, 14394) = 4.76, p = .009, and an interaction between BGL and trial type, F(2, 14394) = 4.31, p = .013. Overall, individuals with vascular risk factors (higher BP/BGL), had significantly slower reaction times, particularly on incongruent trials, suggesting that these factors may affect processing speeds in healthy young adults by altering neural processes very early in the disease progression.
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Monitoring & inhibitory control