Lifestyle, Cortisol Dynamics and Memory in Aging Women

Presentation Number: SAT 413
Date of Presentation: April 1st, 2017

Alejandro L Arregger*1, Rocio Sanchez2, Estela Maria Cardoso3, Maria Laura Saglio4, Carolina Muchnik4 and Liliana N Contreras5
1University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires CF, Argentina, 2IDIM A Lanari. University of Buenos Aires, 3IDIM- CONICET, 4University of Buenos Aires, CABA, Argentina, 5University of Buenos Aires; IDIM-CONICET, Buenos Aires, Argentina


Increased susceptibility of the aging brain to psychosocial stressors has been associated with harmful effects of cortisol on learning and memory. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between lifestyle, HPA activity and memory in aging women. Fourteen women aged 70±5 yo were studied. They had no history of stroke, primary dementia, major depressive disorder, hepatic or renal failure, antipsychotic drugs, major tranquilizers, general anesthesia during the last year, or drugs that may affect the HPA axis. Once completed the Beck inventory (BDI-II), they were divided in two groups: A (mild depression symptoms, score 9.9±3.6) and B (moderate to severe depression symptoms, score 25±5). All subjects obtained whole saliva samples to assess circadian rhythm of salivary cortisol (SAF) at 8.00 H (SAF8) and 23.00 H (SAF23)( normal variation: SAF23 ≤ 3.8 nM and less than 50% of SAF8). The HPA suppressibility was evaluated by the overnight 1 mg dexamethasone suppression test (DST). Salivary cortisol after DST was determined at 8.00 H (SAF8dex) and 16.00 H (SAF16dex). (normal DST: SAF8dex and SAF16 dex ≤ 2.0 nM). Quality of life (QL) and lifestyle (LS) were investigated by self-administered questionnaires (SF36 and LS). Coding, storage and retrieval of episodic memory; logical memory, working memory, semantic memory, visuospatial perception and attention were assessed in two weekly sessions. The protocol was approved by the Ethics Committee of the IDIM A. Lanari and all subjects gave their written informed consent. Salivary cortisol was determined by RIA and expressed in nM. Statistical analysis was performed using Mann-Whitney, Spearman and Campbell tests (p<0.05 was considered significant). SF36 and LS scores ranged from 0 to 100, higher values were associated to better mental health. Results: Diurnal cortisol variation and suppressibility in A ( SAF8: 9.0±2.3; SAF23: 1.1 ± 1.0; SAF8dex: 0.83±0.3 and SAF16dex: 0.7 ± 0.2 ) were not different than B (SAF8: 6.4±1.8; SAF23: 1.0 ± 1.25; SAF8dex: 0.62± 0.2 and SAF16dex: 0.7 ± 0.2); p >0.1 in all cases. A positive and significant correlation was observed between SAF8dex and SAF16dex in A (r = 0.738) and B (r= 0.889); p<0.04 for both. Mental summary of QL and LS in A were significantly higher (49.6 ± 5.5 and 77.7±22.0) than in B (38.6±10.6 and 40.0); p<0.046. The following aspects of memory showed low performance in the fourteen women: logical in 50% of cases, episodic in 21%, semantic in 14% and working memory in 7%. Attention was reduced in 28%, while visuospatial perception was adequate in all.
Conclusion: Social isolation was associated with worsening of emotional well-being without effects on HPA axis. Short and long term memory impairment highlights the need to investigate elderly patients without dementia in order to prevent further damage.


Nothing to Disclose: ALA, RS, EMC, MLS, CM, LNC