People with cardiovascular risk factors also exhibit a low metabolism in brain regions, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC). The study claims that early intervention to prevent cardiovascular diseases can also help in the prevention of dementia and Alzheimers.
“Although everybody knows about the importance of caring for ourselves and controlling cardiovascular risk factors in order to avoid a heart attack, the association of these same risk factors with cognitive decline may increase awareness of the need to acquire healthy habits from the earliest stages of life,” says Dr Valentín Fuster, the lead author of the study.
The study was conducted by Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares (CNIC) in partnership with Santander Bank and neuroimaging experts.
The study was conducted on more than 4000, asymptomatic middle-aged participants. Their average age was 50 years with no symptoms of dementia but already had evidence of atherosclerosis in their arteries.
Dr Fuster talking about the link between cardiovascular health and brain health says, “We found that the same risk factors that damage the heart and the large arteries, and especially hypertension, are closely linked to the decline in brain metabolism years before the appearance of symptoms.”
The study can act as a catalyst in helping to implement early intervention strategies to reduce the incidence of cognitive decline in old age – which would be similar to preventive strategies for cardiovascular diseases. Dementia, Alzheimer’s (diseases that impact brain cognitive function in old age) till now had no treatment or preventive guide.