Poor Heart Health Tied to Higher Dementia Risk

A new study led by Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., suggests that having a healthy heart may protect against Alzheimer’s disease. In the journal Circulation, the researchers report how they found people with decreased heart function were two to three times more likely to develop significant memory loss over a decade of study.

For their study, Angela Jefferson, director of the Vanderbilt Memory and Alzheimer’s Center in Nashville, Tenn., and colleagues analyzed data from the Framingham Heart Study — an ongoing study that began in 1948 with the main aim of identifying risk factors for heart disease.

The analysis compared a measure of heart function – called the cardiac index – with the development of dementia in 1,000 participants from Framingham’s Offspring Cohort who were followed for up to 11 years.

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