The researchers also identified three specific risk factors significantly linked to memory loss - high systolic blood pressure, diabetes, and left ventricular hypertrophy.
Diabetes was associated with about at 56 percent increase in the rate of cognitive decline while left ventricular hypertrophy was associated with about a 60 percent increase in the rate of decline.
Howard said that a 31 mm Hg-higher level of blood pressure was associated with a 29 percent increase in the rate of cognitive decline.
"Others have shown the Framingham Stroke Risk Function is related to cognitive decline. I believe we are the first to say it's because of these particular components," Howard said.
He called this conclusion a logical assumption, but said a clinical trial is required to confirm it.