Background/Aims: Albuminuria and carotid atherosclerosis are predictors of cardiovascular disease and potential predictors of cognitive decline. Our aim was to study whether albuminuria was an early predictor of cognitive function independent of carotid atherosclerosis in a general population. Methods: The study population comprised 1,577 adults without self-reported stroke. In 1994 and 2007 all were screened for cardiovascular risk factors, urinary albumin-creatinine ratio (ACR), carotid intima-media thickness and carotid total plaque area (TPA). Endpoints were neuropsychological test results in 2007 from the digit symbol test, the finger-tapping test, the Mini Mental Status Examination and the 12-word test parts 1 and 2. Multivariate linear regression was used to assess associations. Results: Higher ACR, ΔACR, intima-media thickness, TPA and ΔTPA independently predicted a lower score on the digit symbol test. Higher ΔACR and ΔTPA predicted a lower score on the finger-tapping test. Higher TPA predicted a lower score on the 12-word test part 1 (immediate recall). Smoking predicted lower scores on the digit symbol and finger-tapping tests independent of albuminuria and carotid atherosclerosis. Conclusions: Our results suggest that albuminuria, carotid atherosclerosis and smoking are independent predictors of executive function and motor tempo.

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