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Background and Purpose- Little is known about the association between covert vascular brain injury and cognitive impairment in middle-aged populations. We investigated if scores on a cognitive screen were lower in individuals with higher cardiovascular risk, and those with covert vascular brain injury. Methods- Seven thousand five hundred forty-seven adults, aged 35 to 69 years, free of cardiovascular disease underwent a cognitive assessment using the Digital Symbol Substitution test and Montreal Cognitive Assessment, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to detect covert vascular brain injury (high white matter hyperintensities, lacunar, and nonlacunar brain infarctions). Cardiovascular risk factors were quantified using the INTERHEART (A Global Study of Risk Factors for Acute Myocardial Infarction) risk score. Multivariable mixed models tested for independent determinants of reduced cognitive scores. The population attributable risk of risk factors and MRI vascular brain injury on low cognitive scores was calculated. Results- The mean age of participants was 58 (SD, 9) years; 55% were women. Montreal Cognitive Assessment and Digital Symbol Substitution test scores decreased significantly with increasing age (
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