Functional imaging of working memory and peripheral endothelial function in middle-aged adults

Mitzi M. Gonzales, Takashi Tarumi, Hirofumi Tanaka, Jun Sugawara, Tali Swann-Sternberg, Katayoon Goudarzi, Andreana P. Haley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The current study examined the relationship between a prognostic indicator of vascular health, flow-mediated dilation (FMD), and working memory-related brain activation in healthy middle-aged adults. Forty-two participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging while completing a 2-Back working memory task. Brachial artery endothelial-dependent flow-mediated dilation (FMD) was assessed using B-mode ultrasound. The relationship between FMD and task-related brain activation in a priori regions of interest was modeled using hierarchical linear regression. Brachial FMD, was significantly related to reduced working memory-related activation in the right superior parietal lobule (β=0.338, p=0.027), independent of age, sex, systolic blood pressure, and full scale IQ (F(5, 36)=2.66, p=0.038). These data provide preliminary support for the association between a preclinical marker of endothelial dysfunction and cerebral hemodynamic alterations in healthy middle-aged adults. Considering the modifiable nature of endothelial function, additional investigations on the prognostic significance of FMD on future cognitive impairment are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-151
Number of pages6
JournalBrain and Cognition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cognition
  • Endothelium
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Middle-aged
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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