Weak heart function may increase Alzheimer's risk
A weaker heart could mean trouble for your brain function in old age, according to a new study at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. The research, published in the journal Circulation, found that people with decreased heart function were two to three times more likely to develop memory loss.
Researchers analyzed data from the Framingham Heart Study, an ongoing study that attempts to identify the main risk factors for heart disease. They looked at the cardiac index, a means of measuring heart function to see how much blood is pumped through the body, and compared it to the development of dementia in 1,000 people. They were followed for up to 11 years.
Of those analyzed, 32 people developed dementia, with 26 developing Alzheimer’s. Their analysis showed that people who had a low cardiac index or their heart did not pump enough blood to the rest of the body, had a higher risk of developing dementia when compared to people who had a normal cardiac index. This was separate from people who had heart conditions – in fact, people with no heart conditions, but a low cardiac index were three times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
These findings show that the amount of blood the heart gets may be a clear factor in dementia and could help in the development of new ways to treat and diagnose the condition.