Heart and stroke risk tests can predict dementia risk


Heart and stroke risk tests can predict dementia risk

Evaluating a person's future risk of heart disease and stroke may be a better predictor of mental decline than a dementia risk test.

The finding came from new research published in the journal Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

"This is the first study that compares these risk scores with a dementia risk score to study decline in cognitive abilities 10 years later," said Sara Kaffashian, PhD, with the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in Paris, France.

The study consisted of 7,830 men and women with an average age of 55. Each volunteer's risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, and dementia was calculated at the start of the investigation.

The stroke risk score included factors such as:

  • age
  • blood pressure
  • treatment for high blood pressure
  • smoking
  • diabetes
  • presence of cardiac arrhythmia - abnormal heart beat
  • history of heart disease
The heart disease risk score included:
  • age
  • blood pressure
  • treatment for high blood pressure
  • total cholesterol
  • high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
  • diabetes
  • smoking
The dementia risk score included:
  • age
  • education
  • body mass index
  • blood pressure
  • total cholesterol
  • exercise
  • whether the APOE-4 gene was present - a gene linked to dementia
Over 10 years, memory and thinking abilities were measured three times. Results showed that all three risk tests were able to predict cognitive decline over the decade.

However, heart disease risk scores had a stronger association with cognitive decline than dementia risk scores. A previous study showed that heart disease risk factors are linked to faster cognitive decline among Alzheimer's patients.

Both heart disease and stroke risk were linked to decline in all cognitive tests except memory. A previous report by researchers from the University of California indicated that older adults at risk for stroke have a notably increased risk for certain types of cognitive decline.

Dementia risk was not associated with declines in memory or verbal abilities, according to the authors.

Kaffashian concluded:

"Although the dementia and cardiovascular risk scores all predict cognitive decline starting in late middle age, cardiovascular risk scores may have an advantage over the dementia risk score for use in prevention and for targeting changeable risk factors since they are already used by many physicians.

The findings also emphasize the importance of risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, in not only increasing risk of heart disease and stroke, but also having a negative impact on cognitive abilities."

New blood test for Coronary heart disease approved by the FDA (Video Medical And Professional 2020).

Section Issues On Medicine: Disease