Several studies have indicated that mild systemic inflammation is associated with the risk of cognitive impairment. However, not every cognitive domain has been evaluated to have a correlation with peripheral inflammation in healthy individuals. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the association between C-reactive protein (CRP) as a marker of peripheral inflammation with various domains of cognition in healthy adults.
This study consisted of 216 healthy native German adults (138 males and 78 females, mean age: 39.12 ± 20.19 years) from “Leipzig Study for Mind-Body-Emotion Interactions” (LEMON) database. After the initial assessment and conducting the cognitive battery, a blood sample was collected and CRP level was evaluated. Patients were categorized into three groups based on their CRP level. Subsequently, demographic and cognitive features were compared across three groups and to confirm the association between CRP level and cognitive performance, general linear models (GLM) were applied.
All California Verbal Learning Task (CVLT)-evaluated aspects of memory performance were inversely associated with CRP level, some of which remained significant after the adjustment for age, gender, education, smoking status and body mass index. Moreover, GLM analysis indicated that mean reaction time of the Test of Attentional Performance-Alertness (TAP-A) test (with and without signal) was also significantly associated with CRP level.
The current study indicated that healthy subjects with higher levels of CRP exhibit poorer performance in verbal learning memory and general wakefulness domains of cognition.

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