People who scored low on a test of thinking skills that required them to reason, solve problems and plan were found to be at higher risk of heart attacks or strokes, revealed a new research.
Study author Behnam Sabayan from Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden, the Netherlands, said, "These results show that heart and brain function are more closely related than appearances would suggest. While these results might not have immediate clinical translation, they emphasize that assessment of cognitive function should be part of the evaluation of future cardiovascular risk."
For the study, researchers analyzed 3,926 people with an average age of 75 years who were free of dementia and did not have a history of heart attacks or strokes. Four tests were used to evaluate the study participants' high-level thinking skills at the beginning of the study. The participants were then divided in groups of 'low', 'medium' and 'high' based on the results. The study subjects were then followed for an average of three years to see who developed heart attacks or strokes.
During the follow-up period, there were 375 heart attacks and 155 strokes. People in the lowest group of thinking skills were 85% more likely to have a heart attack than those in the highest group. A total of 176 of the 1,309 people with low scores had heart attacks, as compared with 93 of the 1,308 people with high scores.
The study appears online in Neurology.