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Heart disease link to memory

30 January 2013

Heart disease link to memory

Researchers have found that older women with heart disease were three times more likely to develop problems with skills such as problem solving, language and judgement compared to healthy women.

The thought is that heart disease affects the health of blood vessels which may also impact the blood flow to the brain.

Lead author, Dr Rosebud Roberts, a health sciences researcher at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, said, “Prevention and management of cardiac disease and vascular risk factors are likely to reduce the risk.”

The study looked at 2,719 people aged between 70 and 89 at 15 month intervals.  Of the 1,450 without mild cognitive impairment, 669 had heart disease and 8.8% went on to develop a
cognitive problem.  Only 4.4% of those who had no heart condition went on to develop this impairment.  This equates to a 77% greater chance of developing a cognitive impairment if already suffering from heart disease.  The majority of this effect was felt by women, resulting in a greater risk in women than men.