AbstractBackground and aimsPain is common in older adults but may be undertreated in part due to concerns about medication toxicity. Analgesics may affect cognition. In this retrospective cohort study, we used the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) database to examine the interaction of cognitive status and medications, especially non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). We hypothesized NSAID use would be associated with cognition and that this could be mediated through changes in brain structure.MethodsIn this post hoc analysis of the ADNI database, subjects were selected by searching the “concurrent medications log” for analgesic medications. Subjects were included if the analgesic was listed on the medication log prior to enrollment in ADNI and throughout the study. Subjects taking analgesics, particularly NSAIDs, at each study visit were compared to control subjects taking no analgesics. Using descriptive statistics as well as univariate, multivariate and repeated measure ANOVA, we explored the relationship between NSAID use and scores for executive function and memory related cognitive activities. We further took advantage of the extensive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data available in ADNI to test whether cognitive change was associated with brain structure. The multitude of imaging variables was compressed into a small number of features (five eigenvectors (EV)) using principal component analysis.ResultsThere were 87 NSAID users, 373 controls, and 71 taking other analgesics. NSAID use was associated with higher executive function scores for cognitively normal (NL) subjects as well as subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). NSAID use was also associated with higher memory scores, but for NL females only. We analysed MRI data using principal component analysis to generate a set of five EVs. Examining NL and MCI subjects, one EV had significantly larger values in subjects taking NSAIDs versus control. This EV was one of two EVs which significantly correlated with composite executive function and memory scores as well as cognitive diagnosis.ConclusionsNSAID use was associated with higher executive function, and memory scores in certain subjects and larger cortical volumes in particular regions. Limitations of the study include secondary analysis of existing data and the possibility of confounding.ImplicationsThese results suggest it is important to consider the secondary effects of medications when choosing a treatment regimen. Further prospective studies are needed to examine the role of analgesics on cognition and whether NSAIDs act through cortical dimension changes and how they are related to gender and cognitive diagnosis.
Scandinavian Journal of Pain – de Gruyter
Published: Dec 29, 2017
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