Association between osteocalcin and cognitive performance in healthy older adults

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cognitive deterioration and reductions of bone health coincide with increasing age. We examine the relationship between bone composition and plasma markers of bone remodelling with measures of cognitive performance in healthy adults.


this cross-sectional study included 225 old (52% women, mean age: 74.4 ± 3.3 years) and 134 young (52% women, mean age: 23.4 ± 2.7 years) adult participants from the MyoAge project. Whole body bone mineral density was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Blood analyses included a panel of bone-related peptides (dickkopf-1, osteoprotegerin, osteocalcin (OC), osteopontin, sclerostin, parathyroid hormone and fibroblast growth factor 23), as well as serum calcium and 25-hydroxy vitamin D assays. A selection of cognitive domains (working memory capacity, episodic memory, executive functioning and global cognition) was assessed with a standardised neuropsychological test battery.


adjusting for covariates and multiple testing revealed that plasma OC levels were positively associated with measures of executive functioning (β = 0.444, P < 0.001) and global cognition (β = 0.381, P = 0.001) in the older women.


these correlative results demonstrate a positive association between OC, a factor known to regulate bone remodelling, with cognitive performance in older non-demented women. Further work should address possible mechanistic interpretations in humans.

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