Participants underwent cognitive testing three times during a 10-year period and linear regression analyses were done to assess the association of cardiovascular risk and cognitive function.
A 10% increase in cardiovascular risk on the Framingham risk profile was associated with a decrease of 2.8% on tests of memory for men and a 7.1% decrease in memory scores for women, according to a press release.
In sex-specific, cross sectional age-adjusted models, 10% increments in cardiovascular risk on the Framingham scale were associated with poor performance in all cognitive domains in both men and women (P<0.001 for all).
In models adjusted for age, ethnicity, marital status, and education, a 10% higher cardiovascular risk was associated with poorer cognitive test scores in all domains except reasoning for men, and fluency in women.
Higher cardiovascular risk also was associated with more rapid decline in cognitive ability.
"This study provides people with risk factors for heart attacks even more reasons to manage these conditions," said Richard B. Lipton, MD, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, who was not involved in the study.
"Both the heart and brain receive their blood supply through arteries that have the same vulnerabilities to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking," Lipton said in an e-mail to MedPage Today.
"What's bad for the heart is bad for the brain, and what protects the heart will also often protect the brain," he commented.
As to why cardiovascular risk factors may affect cognition, Kaffashian explained that there may be multiple complex mechanisms -- some of which remain unclear.
"For example, hypertension and high cholesterol levels may increase the risk of dementia by inducing atherosclerosis and impairing blood flow, but may also directly induce the neurodegeneration of Alzheimer's disease," she said.
And smokers may be increasing their risk of cognitive decline because of high levels of oxidative stress, also seen in Alzheimer's disease, she explained.
Research has shown that people who go on to develop dementia have subtle neurologic deficits present as long as two decades before symptoms are manifested.
"The findings of this study are important because middle-aged individuals can improve their cardiovascular health in order to prevent or delay cognitive decline or dementia," Kaffashian said.
|< Anterior||Siguiente >|