The Hachinski Ischemic Scale and cognition: The influence of ethnicity

Leigh A. Johnson, Blair Cushing, Geoffrey Rohlfing, Melissa Edwards, Hedieh Davenloo, Darrin D'Agostino, James R. Hall, Sid E. O'Bryant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objective: cardiovascular burden is considered a risk factor for the development of cognitive dysfunction and dementia. While this link is well established in the literature, implementing this work in primary care settings remains a challenge. The goal of this study is to examine the utility of the Hachinski Ischemic Scale (HIS) in identifying cognitive dysfunction and diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in an ethnically diverse sample. Methods: data were analysed on 517 participants (211 Mexican Americans and 306 non-Hispanic Whites) recruited from Project FRONTIER, a study of rural health. Neuropsychological measures were utilised to assess for cognitive functioning. Results: among non-Hispanic Whites, HIS scores were significantly related to poorer performance on tasks of global cognition [B (SE) = -0.13 (0.06), P = 0.02], immediate memory [B (SE) = -0.85 (0.26), P < 0.001], attention [B (SE) = -1.6 (0.36), P < 0.001] and executive functioning [B (SE) = 0.46 (0.12), P < 0.001], and significantly predicted diagnosis of MCI [odds ratio (OR) = 1.4; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.2-1.6]. For Mexican Americans, HIS scores were significantly related to immediate memory [B (SE) = -0.78 (0.28), P = 0.01], attention [B (SE) = -0.74 (0.36), P = 0.04] and executive functioning [B (SE) = 0.37 (0.14), P = 0.01]; however, HIS scores were not significantly related to diagnosis of MCI in Mexican Americans (OR = 1.2, 95% CI = 0.96-1.4, P = 0.116). Conclusion: HIS scores were related to cognitive functioning; however, these results differed by ethnicity. It is possible that these findings indicate that vascular factors may increase risk for MCI among non-Hispanic Whites but not for Mexican Americans. These findings are consistent with past research that suggests risk factors for MCI may differ by ethnicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-369
Number of pages6
JournalAge and Ageing
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Cognition
  • Ethnic differences
  • Hachinski Ischemic Scale
  • Mexican American
  • Older people


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