Association of Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors with Preclinical Biomarkers of Alzheimer's Disease in the Emory Healthy Brain Study Cohort Restricted; Files Only

Akbar, Rida (Spring 2024)

Permanent URL:



Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a leading cause of dementia and severe cognitive impairment, remains asymptomatic for decades before clinical symptoms emerge. Recent evidence suggests that cardiovascular health metrics may influence early neurodegenerative changes associated with AD. This study examines the relationship between cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and AD biomarkers, aiming to uncover potential early intervention targets.


The primary aim of this research is to test the hypothesis that cardiovascular health risk factors, as defined by the American Heart Association’s Life’s Essential 8 metrics, are associated with AD-specific biomarkers, including Beta-amyloid 42 (Aβ42), total Tau (tTau), and phosphorylated Tau (pTau), measured in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples.


This cross-sectional study utilized comprehensive datasets from the Emory Healthy Aging Study (EHAS) and Emory Healthy Brain Study (EHBS) cohorts. Data from participants (N=826) aged 50-75 years, was gathered through self-reported online questionnaire and clinical assessments from in-person visits. These characteristics included demographic information, lifestyle and health behaviors, clinical health indicators, and biomarker profiles. These biomarker data were analyzed by immunoassays run on CSF samples. Multiple linear regression models were applied to assess the associations between CVD risk factors: Diet, Sleep, Physical activity, Smoking, BMI, and Hypertension with AD biomarkers: Aβ42, Ttau and Ptau, while adjusting for potential confounders.


The regression analyses showed a significant association between physical activity and increased Aβ42 concentrations (Model 1: β = 0.31, p=0.003), indicating a protective effect. Unexpectedly, adherence to a healthy diet was also significantly associated with increased levels of both tTau and pTau biomarkers. While smoking and sleep duration influenced Aβ42 levels, these associations did not achieve statistical significance.


This study provided the basis of association between CVD risk factors and AD biomarkers in the EHBS cohort. Our findings emphasize the importance of modifiable lifestyle factors and health behaviors, in promoting cardiovascular health that could also benefit cognitive health. The study calls for further research to explore the underlying mechanisms through which lifestyle factors affect AD- biomarkers for early diagnosis. Public health policies should enhance the quality of life for the aging population by supporting broader efforts to mitigate the global burden of AD.

Table of Contents



Materials and Methods

Emory Healthy Aging and Brain Studies

Study Population

Study Design

Statistical Analysis







Table 1

Table 2

Table 3

Table 4


About this Master's Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
Subfield / Discipline
  • English
Research Field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Última modificação Preview image embargoed

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files