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

Shah, Amit Jasvant (2011)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/5m60qs39m?locale=en
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Abstract

Is Heart Rate Variability Related to Memory Performance in Middle Aged Men?
By Amit Shah

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 ECG's in 416
middle-aged male twins from the Vietnam Era Twin Registry. Memory and learning were
measured by verbal and visual selective reminding tests (SRT). Mixed-effect regression
models were used to calculate associations between and within twin pairs, while
adjusting for covariates.

RESULTS
: The mean age ± SD 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 (VLF) HRV and verbal total recall SRT, such that each natural logarithm
of increase in VLF was associated with an increased verbal SRT score of 4.85 points
(p=0.002). The association persisted despite 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 post-traumatic
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.

CONCLUSION: In conclusion, lower frequency spectra of HRV are associated with
verbal, but not visual, learning and memory, particularly in subjects without PTSD. This
association may highlight mechanisms of cognitive dysfunction and have implications on
prevention and therapy of cognitive decline.

Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction .............................................................1
Background..............................................................3
Methods ..................................................................8
Results ..................................................................18
Discussion..............................................................21
References.............................................................25
Figure 1 .................................................................30
Figure 2 .................................................................31
Figure 3 .................................................................32
Figure 4 .................................................................33
Figure 5 .................................................................34
Table 1 ..................................................................35
Table 2 ..................................................................36
Table 3 ..................................................................37
Table 4 ..................................................................38
Table 5 ..................................................................39
Table 6 ..................................................................40

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