Breast Arterial Calcification Is Not Associated with Mild Cognitive Impairment or Incident All-Cause Dementia Among Postmenopausal Women: The MINERVA Study


Background: Since vascular risk factors are implicated in cognitive decline, and breast arterial calcification (BAC) is related to vascular risk, we postulated that BAC may be associated with cognitive impairment and dementia. Methods: We used a multiethnic cohort of 3,913 asymptomatic women 60-79 years of age recruited after mammography screening at a large health plan in 2012-2015. A BAC mass score (mg) was derived from digital mammograms. Cognitive function was measured at baseline using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and incident all-cause dementia (n = 49 events; median follow-up = 5.6 years) were ascertained with validated ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes. We used cross-sectional linear regression of MoCA scores on BAC, then multinomial logistic regression predicting mild cognitive impairment not progressing to dementia and incident all-cause dementia and, finally, Cox regression of incident all-cause dementia. Results: No association by linear regression was found between MoCA scores and BAC presence in unadjusted or adjusted analysis. Women with severe (upper tertile) BAC had a MoCA score lower by 0.58 points (standard error [SE] = 0.18) relative to women with no BAC. However, this difference disappeared after multivariate adjustment. No significant associations were found in multinomial logistic regression for either BAC presence or gradation in unadjusted or adjusted analysis. No significant associations were found between BAC presence with incident all-cause dementia (fully adjusted hazard ratio = 0.74; 95% confidence interval: 0.39-1.39). Likewise, no significant association with incident all-cause dementia was noted for BAC gradation. Conclusions: Our results do not support the hypothesis that BAC presence or gradation may contribute to cognitive impairment or development of all-cause dementia.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; breast arterial calcification; cognitive impairment; cohort study; dementia; women's health.