HealthDay News — Better Life’s Simple 7 scores, a new scale based on modifiable health behaviors and factors developed by the American Heart Association, correlated with lower incidence of cognitive impairment, according researchers.

Evan L. Thacker, PhD, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study to examine the association between Life’s Simple 7 scores and incidence of cognitive impairment. The findings were published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Data were included from 17,761 participants in the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke, aged 45 years and older, with normal global cognitive status at baseline. Life’s Simple 7 score was calculated based on smoking, diet, physical activity, body mass index, blood pressure, total cholesterol, and fasting glucose.

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A three-test measure of verbal learning, memory, and fluency was used to identify incident cognitive impairment at a mean of four years after baseline.

The researchers found that the odds ratios of incident cognitive impairment were 0.65 and 0.63 for patients with Life’s Simple 7 scores in the middle tertile (7 to 8 points) and highest tertile (9 to 14 points), respectively, relative to the lowest tertile (0 to 6 points).

A similar correlation was observed for blacks and whites, and outside and within the Southeastern stroke belt region of the United States.

“We did not observe a dose-response pattern; people with intermediate and high levels of CVH had similar incidence of cognitive impairment,” the researchers wrote. “This suggests that even when high CVH is not achieved, intermediate levels of CVH are preferable to low CVH.”


  1. Thacker EL, et al. J Am Heart Assoc. 2014; doi: 10.1161/​JAHA.113.000635.