HealthDay News — For women, higher scores on the American Heart Association (AHA) Life’s Simple 7 in midlife are associated with a lower risk for dementia, according to a study scheduled for presentation at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, to be held from April 22 to 27 in Boston.
Pamela Rist, Sc.D., from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues examined midlife risk factors for dementia in a study population including women enrolled in the Women’s Health Study with available risk factor information needed to calculate the AHA Life’s Simple 7 at baseline in 1992 to 1994 (mean age, 54.2 years) and in 2004. Women received 1 point for each of the AHA Life’s Simple 7 for which they had ideal cardiovascular health.
A total of 13,720 women were eligible for the analyses, and there were 1,771 dementia cases (12.9 percent). The researchers found that the average AHA Life’s Simple 7 scores were 4.3 and 4.2 at baseline and after 10 years of follow-up, respectively. A higher AHA Life’s Simple 7 score at baseline was associated with a reduced risk for dementia (odds ratio per 1 unit change in score, 0.94; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.90 to 0.98). A similar effect was seen for the AHA Life’s Simple 7 score measured after 10 years (odds ratio, 0.95; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.91 to 1.00).
“Since we now know that dementia can begin in the brain decades before diagnosis, it’s important that we learn more about how your habits in middle age can affect your risk of dementia in old age,” Rist said in a statement. “The good news is that making healthy lifestyle choices in middle age may lead to a decreased risk of dementia later in life.”