The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of health indices with cognition in emerging adults.
Methods: Methods included collecting measures of C-Reactive Protein (CRP), arterial stiffness, cardiorespiratory fitness, blood pressure, Body Mass Index (BMI), and cognitive performance from fourteen participants. Cognitive performance was assessed through the administration of Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test, Stroop Color-Word Test, and Trail Making Test A & B. CRP was commercially measured using the hsCRP Enzyme Immunoassay kit. Cardiorespiratory fitness was determined by the VO2 maximal testing using incremental stages on a cycle ergometer, while arterial stiffness and pulse wave velocity were measured using two identical transcutaneous Doppler flowmeters.
Results: ANOVA calculations revealed gender differences in cardiorespiratory fitness and BMI. Pearson correlations Surprisingly, in this sample, CRP was not significantly related to BMI. Multiple regression analyses, using Stroop tests as the dependent variable while controlling for IQ and BMI, evidenced that CRP negatively and cardiorespiratory fitness positively contributed to cognitive performance for multiple conditions of the Stroop conditions. No single factor significantly predicted cognitive performance on the Trail Making test.
Conclusions: Despite being at the developmental peak, CRP and cardiorespiratory fitness were associated with cognitive performance in emerging adults. On the Stroop task, CRP level significantly predicted cognitive performance reaction time tasks. These findings are valuable because identifying how health risks are related to cognition at this stage of lifespan may help us to better understanding how to maintain cognitive health and minimize premature cognitive decline as we age.