by Dr. Trupti Shirole on  February 7, 2016 at 4:15 PM Research News
Experts Set to Explore Link Between Dementia and Atherosclerosis in Elderly Patients
A growing body of literature suggests that there is a greater risk of developing dementia when a person has atherosclerosis and cardiovascular risk factors, such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. Atherosclerosis, affecting the large vessels, refers to the buildup of fats, cholesterol and other substances (known as plaques) in and on the artery walls, which can restrict blood flow and can trigger a blood clot. Dementia is a progressive disorder that attacks the brain's nerve cells resulting in loss of memory, thinking, and language skills, as well as changes in behavior.

An estimated 24 million people have dementia worldwide, and this figure is expected to rise. Dementia has an enormous financial and emotional cost and affects approximately five million people in the United States-about one-third to one-half of those over 85 years old.

Valentin Fuster, who as Director of Mount Sinai Heart and Physician-in-Chief of The Mount Sinai Hospital is one of the world's leading cardiologists, is undertaking a three year study, known as TANSNIP-H2H, to investigate the relationship between levels of dementia and cardiovascular risk factors.

Dr. Fuster said, "We hypothesize that patients with dementia will show higher levels of atherosclerosis affecting the microvasculature of the brain and cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure, obesity, and other heart complications. To test this theory, we will recruit 200 eligible participants, ages 60-85, through the Center for Cognitive Health (CCH) and the Cardiac Imaging Program at The Mount Sinai Hospital and, using state-of-the art imaging tests, evaluate the degree of abnormal cerebral microvasculature, large vessel atherosclerosis and cardiovascular risk factors."

This is the second study in a series of four known as the TANSNIP (Trans-Atlantic Network to Study Stepwise Noninvasive imaging as a Tool for Cardiovascular Prognosis and Prevention) Program. The four TANSNIP studies are designed to understand atherosclerosis in different populations, at different levels of risk, and in different settings. The other TANSNIP studies include the TANSNIP-PESA workplace lifestyle intervention, which takes place in Spain with bank employees; TANSNIP-BioImage, which explores atherosclerosis progression in middle-aged people in Chicago and Florida; and TANSNIP-Genomics, which examines genomics, proteomics and metabolomics across the populations of the other three TANSNIP studies.

Source: Newswise

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