According to a recent study by the French National Institute of Health &
Medical Research in Paris, middle-aged men and women with cardiovascular problems,
like high cholesterol and hypertension, may not only be at risk for coronary
heart disease (CHD) but are also at an increased risk of developing early
cognitive and memory problems (dementia).
5000 people with an average age of 55-years were part of
the study. They had to undergo 3-cognitive tests over a period of 10-years.
These tests measured the reasoning, memory, fluency and vocabulary of the
participants. The Framingham risk score which is based on age, sex, cholesterol
level, blood pressure, blood sugar levels and smoking history was used to
predict the 10-year risk of a cardiovascular event.
According to a press release, 10% increase in cardiovascular risk on the
Framingham risk profile was associated with a decrease of 2.8% in memory tests
among men and 7.1% decrease in memory scores for women. While explaining the
reason behind these findings, scientists mentioned that atherosclerosis and
impaired blood supply due to cardiovascular diseases might be the reason for
this cognitive decline.
Study author Sara Kaffashian said, "Our findings contribute to the
mounting evidence for the role of cardiovascular risk factors, such as high
cholesterol and blood pressure, contributing to cognitive problems, starting in
middle age. The study further demonstrates how these heart disease risk factors
can contribute to cognitive decline over a 10-year period. The findings of this
study are important because middle-aged individuals can improve their
cardiovascular health in order to prevent or delay cognitive decline or