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Healthy Heart, Healthy Brain?

Posted by Britt R. on

This might seem like a no-brainer, but in a report released by JAMA Neurology, middle-age people who have healthy hearts, meaning low-risk in conditions like diabetes and hypertension, are less likely to have dementia-related illnesses when they’re older.

Conducted by John Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, the study involved over 15,000 participants, aged 44 to 66, living across the states of North Carolina, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Maryland. Of those studied, 1516 participants had been diagnosed with dementia around 23-25 years after the initial medical exams.

The results of the study varied, but showed a correlation. Participants who had diabetes were 77% more likely to be diagnosed with dementia and those who smoked had an increased risk by 41%. Additionally, the individuals with pre-hypertension were 31% more likely to be diagnosed with dementia, and those with hypertension had 39% increased risk for dementia.

According to the principal study author, Professor Rebecca Gottesman, “The study showed associations, but doesn’t prove that treating risk factors actually decreases risk.” Professor Gottesman further adds, “Our results contribute to a growing body of evidence linking mid-life vascular health to dementia. Our hope is that by addressing these types of factors early, people can reduce the chances that they will suffer from dementia later in life.”

It also should be noted that this study was not a controlled experiment and further studies need to be conducted to conclude if treating heart conditions can actually lower the risk of dementia.

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Source: Medical News Today & Reuters