Neurovascular coupling, cerebral white matter integrity, and response to cocoa in older people

Farzaneh A. Sorond*, Shelley Hurwitz, David H. Salat, Douglas N. Greve, Naomi D L Fisher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Objective: To investigate the relationship between neurovascular coupling and cognitive function in elderly individuals with vascular risk factors and to determine whether neurovascular coupling could be modified by cocoa consumption. Methods: Sixty older people (aged 72.9 6 5.4 years) were studied in a parallel-arm, double-blind clinical trial of neurovascular coupling and cognition in response to 24 hours and 30 days of cocoa consumption. Cognitive measures included Mini-Mental State Examination and Trail Making Test A and B. Neurovascular coupling was measured from the beat-to-beat blood flow velocity responses in the middle cerebral arteries to the N-Back Task. In a subset of MRI-eligible participants, cerebral white matter structural integrity was also measured. Results: Neurovascular coupling was associated with Trails B scores (p 50.002) and performance on the 2-Back Task. Higher neurovascular coupling was also associated with significantly higher fractional anisotropy in cerebral white matter hyperintensities (p 5 0.02). Finally, 30 days of cocoa consumption was associated with increased neurovascular coupling (5.6% 6 7.2% vs 22.4% 6 4.8%; p 5 0.001) and improved Trails B times (116 6 78 seconds vs 167 6 110 seconds; p 5 0.007) in those with impaired neurovascular coupling at baseline. Conclusion: There is a strong correlation between neurovascular coupling and cognitive function, and both can be improved by regular cocoa consumption in individuals with baseline impairments. Better neurovascular coupling is also associated with greater white matter structural integrity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)904-909
Number of pages6
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 3 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Neurovascular coupling, cerebral white matter integrity, and response to cocoa in older people'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this