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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

1-1-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Naftali Raz

Abstract

Elevated blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and homocysteine (Hcy) have received a great deal of attention as biomarkers for the development of cardiovascular disease. Their utility in predicting cognitive function has also been assessed, though the findings are equivocal. The current study examined the relationship between elevated blood levels of CRP and Hcy and their effect on cognition across several cognitive domains. As baseline blood levels of CRP and Hcy and cognition are in part regulated by genetic factors, the impact of T carrier status for variants in the CRP -286 C>T>A and the MTHFR 677C>T alleles was also examined. In an exceptionally healthy aging population free of overt signs of cardiovascular disease, normal range elevations in blood levels of CRP or Hcy, either alone or in combination, were not associated with cognitive impairments in any domain. Moreover, T carriage for either SNP was unrelated CRP or Hcy blood levels, and was only related to cognition in a task and subpopulation specific manner. Namely, T carriers of the CRP gene had reduced processing speed, and among men, reduced `g' performance. Whereas for the MTHFR gene, T carriage was associated with fewer prose items recalled among hypertensives.