Objective: To investigate the correlation between cognitive function and the Chinese medicine syndrome characteristics of vascular cognitive impairment (VCI).
Methods: A total of 774 subjects (age from 41 to 87 years old) from Beijing of China accepted neuropsychological assessments and differentiation of Chinese medicine syndromes. The mini-mental state examination (MMSE) and clinic dementia rating (CDR) were used to access the global cognitive function; the Hachinski ischemia scale (HIS) and the Hamilton depression scale (HAMD) were used for differential diagnosis; the ability of daily living (ADL) scale was used to assess the ability of daily living; the clock drawing test was used to access the executive function; the investigation of syndrome manifestations and the syndrome differentiation scale of vascular dementia (SDSVD) were used for diagnosis of syndrome manifestations. According to the diagnostic criteria of vascular cognitive impairment, subjects were subgrouped as normal cognition (NC) group and VCI group, and then the correlation between the cognitive functions and Chinese medicine syndromes was analyzed.
Results: The correlation between cognitive scales and Chinese medical syndrome: in the VCI group, the syndrome of phlegm turbid blocking upper orifices showed negative correlation with the scores of MMSE and CDT (r=–0.525, r=–0.321, P=0.000, P=0.001), and the ADL demonstrated positive correlation to the syndrome (r=0.424, P=0.000). The correlation between cognitive function and Chinese medical syndrome: the phlegm turbid blocking upper orifices was closely correlated with the total orientation, time orientation and place orientation (r=–0.451, r=–0.448, r=–0.392, P=0.001, P=0.000, P=0.004); instant word recall and delayed word recall were closely correlated with the syndrome of phlegm turbid blocking upper orifices (r=–0.355, r=–0.225, P=0.000, P=0.021); calculation/attention, language function and executive function had negative correlation to the syndrome of phlegm turbid blocking upper orifices (r=–0.379, r=–0.448, r=–0.321, P=0.000, P=0.000, P=0.013). The scores of orientation, calculation/attention, delayed word recall and language function in the patients with phlegm turbid blocking upper orifices were significantly lower than the patients with non-phlegm turbid blocking upper orifices (P<0.05).
Conclusion: The syndrome of phlegm turbid blocking upper orifices is significantly correlated to the scores of MMSE and ADL, indicating that the phlegm turbid blocking upper orifices is related to the cognitive function and ability of daily living in the VCI patients. Treatment of the phlegm is important in the cognitive impairment in VCI patients.