Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Heart risk and cognitive decline
Researchers from the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research have added more weight to the growing body of evidence that a healthy heart is linked to keeping one's mental faculties as one grows older. The researchers studied 4,827 men and women who had an average age of 55 when the study started. At the start of the study the participants were given a Framingham heart-risk score based on their age, sex, cholesterol, blood pressure and whether they smoked or had diabetes. The participants then took cognitive tests measuring their reasoning, memory, fluency and vocabulary three times over the next ten years. The people with a higher cardiovascular risk at the start of the study were more likely to have lower cognitive function and a faster overall rate of cognitive decline. A 10% higher cardiovascular risk was associated with a 2.8% lower score in the memory test for men and a 7.1% fall in women.