Miranda K. Traylor, Rachel I. Feldman, Kaitlyn F. Overstreet, Benjamin D. Hill, Amy R. Nelson, Joshua L. Keller. University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL.

Background: The purpose was to determine if vascular function was related to specific cognitive domains and to determine if there were underlying sex differences in vascular function and cognition possibly related to body composition. Methods: Thirty adults completed 2 visits which included the assessment of vascular function, cognition, and body composition. Microvascular function was examined during an occlusion test via near-infrared spectroscopy. The oxygenation signal defined the rate of muscle desaturation and reperfusion, which were calculated across a 120-s period of ischemia and the 10-s following the ischemia. Macrovascular function was assessed by insonating the internal carotid artery (ICA). Each participant completed the CNS Vital Signs battery exam. Body composition was estimated using digitally derived circumferences. All values (not cognition) were averaged across the two visits, and t-tests were used to identify mean differences. Individual rates of desaturation and reperfusion were used to generate composite models for the males and females. The composite slopes were tested for sex differences. First-order correlations were performed to determine relationships among vascular function, cognition, and body composition. Results: The males had significantly (p<0.05) more lean body mass than the women (66.9±9.5 vs. 47.5±5.2 kg), yet there was no difference in fat mass (18.4±5.3 vs. 17.8±4.5 kg). The males also exhibited significantly (p<0.001) faster rates of desaturation (0.18±0.00 vs. 0.15±0.00%∙s-1) and reperfusion (2.2±0.22 vs. 2.0±0.05%∙s-1) than females. The females (106.1±9.1) earned a higher (p=0.020) score within the visual memory domain compared to males (93.4±17.2). Correlational analysis revealed, independent of sex, the rate of desaturation was correlated (r=-0.369) with psychomotor speed and motor speed (r=-0.377). Motor speed was correlated (r= 0.376) with ICA blood flow. Conclusion: Men exhibited faster muscle oxygen kinetics and greater lean mass, yet there were no sex-specific correlations. The women, however, displayed superior visual memory, but this was not related to any measurement. It is possible a threshold exists such that if an individual presents adequate health, they do not display the relationships to be expected within a clinical population (e.g., vascular health - cognitive decline). Work remains warranted across the lifespan, especially in midlife adults.

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