Associations Between Childhood Cognition and Cardiovascular Events in Adulthood: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
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BACKGROUND: The success of behavioural interventions to optimize cardiovascular health is dependent on adequate cognitive functioning beginning in early life. In this study we aimed to systematically review studies that examined associations between childhood cognition and cardiovascular disease (CVD) events in adulthood. METHODS: This study followed the Meta-analysis Of Observational Studies in Epidemiology guidelines to systematically examine associations between childhood cognition and adult CVD, coronary heart disease, and stroke hospitalization or mortality events. Literature was retrieved from EMBASE, MEDLINE, PsycInfo, and CINAHL. RESULTS: Five longitudinal studies that examined links between childhood cognition and CVD in adulthood were included. Pooled estimates of unadjusted CVD events indicated a relative risk of 1.23 (95% confidence interval, 1.12-1.34) per standard deviation decrease in childhood IQ, whereas the pooled estimate adjusted for biopsychosocial confounding factors indicated an overall relative risk of 1.16 (95% confidence interval, 1.07-1.26). CONCLUSIONS: Lower childhood IQ is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events in adulthood, even after adjustment for confounding variables. Future research should examine the behavioural mechanisms by which these risks are mediated to optimize cardiovascular health.
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