Background: Vascular risk factors (VRFs) may be associated with cognitive decline in early Parkinson’s disease (PD) but results are inconclusive. The identification of modifiable risk factors is relevant for prevention and treatment. Methods: Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients of the PACOS cohort who underwent a baseline and follow-up neuropsychological evaluation were enrolled in the study. PD with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and dementia (PDD) were diagnosed according to the MDS criteria. A Baseline 1.5 T brain MRI was used to calculate the white matter lesions (WMLs) burden using the Wahlund visual scale. Laboratory data, presence of hypertension, diabetes and use of anti-hypertensive drugs were collected and the Framingham Risk (FR) score was calculated. VRFs predicting PD-MCI and PDD were evaluated using Cox proportional hazard regression model. Results: Out of 139 enrolled patients, 84 (60.4%) were classified as normal cognition (NC) and 55 (39.6%) as MCI at baseline. At follow-up 28 (33.3%) PD-NC developed MCI and 4 (4.8%) PDD (follow-up time 23.5 ± 10.3 months). Out of 55 PD-MCI patients at baseline, 14 (25.4%) converted to PDD. At multivariate analysis among PD-NC a systolic blood pressure (SBP) > 140 mmHg was the stronger predictor of MCI (adjHR 4.04; 95% CI 1.41–11.3) while the presence of MCI at baseline (adj HR 7.55; 95% CI 1.76–32.3) and a severe WMLs burden (adj HR 2.80; 95% CI 0.86–9.04) were the strongest predictors of PDD, even if this latter association has a trend towards significance. Conclusion: Hypertension represents the most important modifiable risk factor for PD-MCI in the PACOS cohort, increasing the risk of about four times.
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