Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023 (HealthDay News) — People who had a heart attack or stroke in middle age may develop memory and thinking problems early in life, new research finds. understood.
The study was published in the journal online on January 25. neurology, It focuses on people who develop early cardiovascular disease. This refers to heart disease, stroke, or leg artery disease that occurs before age 60.
Researchers found that these people generally performed worse on tests of memory and thinking skills compared to people of the same age without cardiovascular disease. was already clear.
Dr. Xiaqing Jiang, a principal investigator at the University of California, San Francisco, says it’s not clear what effect it will ultimately have on their brain health.
However, the findings underscore the fact that everyone, including young adults, should strive for a heart-healthy lifestyle.
The link between heart health and brain health has long been known. However, most research has focused on older people, and heart disease and stroke are often linked to cognitive impairment (mild problems with memory and other mental skills) and increased risk of full-blown dementia. I have.
There are multiple reasons why cardiovascular disease can contribute to these disorders, Jiang said, including reduced blood flow to the brain.
However, little is known about whether early cardiovascular disease can dull people’s mental alertness and when such problems become apparent.
The new findings are based on more than 3,100 Americans whose health status was followed for 30 years from young adulthood. During that time, 5% developed premature cardiovascular disease (mainly heart disease or stroke) at an average age of 48 years.
Overall, Jiang’s team found that these study participants performed worse than their counterparts without cardiovascular disease on a battery of cognitive tests taken in their 50s.
Strokes that can damage brain tissue can impair mental abilities. But in this study, that wasn’t the whole story: Early cardiovascular disease (almost always heart disease) was still associated with lower cognitive scores when Jiang’s team excluded participants who had had a stroke. I got
This association was also substantiated when the researchers looked at other factors that could affect both cardiovascular health and cognitive performance, including education level, alcohol and smoking, and depression.
This is not conclusive evidence that premature cardiovascular disease caused lower test scores, Jiang said.
However, the group with early cardiovascular disease showed a faster rate of decline between the two test series conducted five years apart, while 13% showed “accelerated cognitive decline.” 5% of the comparison group.
Dr. Ronald Petersen, professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said:
Petersen, who is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, was not involved in the study. Like Jiang, he “emphasizes the importance of paying attention to cardiovascular health early in life.
Many factors influence age-related cognitive health and dementia risk, says Petersen. However, it is generally believed that habits that are good for the heart are good for the brain.
This includes maintaining healthy blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels. quit smoking; exercise regularly; follow a traditional Mediterranean-like diet high in “good” fats like fish, vegetables and olive oil.
Regarding young people who have already developed cardiovascular disease, Petersen emphasized, “This does not mean that you are doomed.”
If anything, the relationship between heart and brain health can provide “additional motivation” to change lifestyles.
For more information
The American Academy of Neurology has more information on brain health.
Source: Xiaqing Jiang, MD, PhD, MPH, Postdoctoral Fellow, Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco. Ronald Petersen, MD, PhD, Professor, Neurology, Director, Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. neurology, Online January 25, 2023