About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

Heart Function Linked to Brain Function in Elderly

by Hannah Joy on November 10, 2017 at 11:53 AM
Font : A-A+

Heart Function Linked to Brain Function in Elderly

Heart function was found to be associated with brain function in the elderly. When the heart pumps less blood, the blood flow to the brain's temporal lobe is lower, where Alzheimer's develops, reveals a new study.

The brain, which accounts for only 2 percent of total body weight, typically receives 12 percent of blood flow from the heart, a level typically maintained by complex, automatic processes, which maintain consistent blood flow to the brain at all times. The research was conducted by a team of Vanderbilt University Medical Center scientists.


Angela Jefferson, Ph.D., director of the Vanderbilt Memory & Alzheimer's Center, and colleagues at Vanderbilt University Medical Center investigated whether lower cardiac index (the amount of blood flowing out of the heart adjusted for body size) correlated with lower blood flow to the brain.

The purpose of the study was to better understand whether reductions in brain blood flow might explain clinical observations in prior research that have linked heart function to cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

"We currently know a lot about how to prevent and medically manage many forms of heart disease, but we do not yet know how to prevent or treat Alzheimer's disease," Jefferson said.

"This research is especially important because it may help us leverage our knowledge about managing heart health to address and treat risk factors for memory loss in older adults before cognitive symptoms develop."

The study, published online in Neurology, involved 314 Vanderbilt Memory & Aging Project participants with an average age of 73.

Thirty-nine percent had mild cognitive impairment, a condition that increases the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease or dementia while the remaining participants had normal cognitive function.

Cardiac index was measured with echocardiography, and blood flow in the brain was measured with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

The magnitude of the association between lower cardiac index and lower cerebral blood flow in the temporal lobe, a brain region critical for memory processing, was estimated to correspond to 15 to 20 years of advancing age.

"One way to put these results into a meaningful context is to define how one year of aging relates to blood flow in the brain," Jefferson said. "Then, we compare the effect of one year of aging to the effect of lower cardiac index. When we do that, we find that the effect of cardiac index on blood flow in the temporal lobes corresponds to 15 to 20 years of age."

The individuals who participated in the research are part of a longitudinal study that will continue to track their health and cognitive abilities.

The study published in Neurology raises questions about whether autoregulation of blood flow in the brain is less effective as people age, Jefferson said, as well as the greater role that vascular health may play in exacerbating Alzheimer's pathology or clinical symptoms of dementia.

"It is now clear from a growing body of research evidence that there is a strong connection between heart health and brain health," said Maria Carrillo, Ph.D., Alzheimer's Association Chief Science Officer.

"We are pleased to have provided the initial seed funding for this intriguing science that is beginning to identify and investigate the mechanisms behind that connection. Those mechanisms, once confirmed, may hold the key to effective treatments and prevention strategies for Alzheimer's disease and other dementias."

Source: Eurekalert

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2021 - Fighting for Rights in the Post-COVID Era
Effect of Blood Group Type on COVID-19 Risk and Severity
Woman with Rare Spinal Cord Defect from Birth Sues Doctor
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Parkinsons Disease Parkinsons Disease Surgical Treatment Heart Brain Diseases Related to Old Age Healthy Heart Brain Facts Ataxia Statins Mitral Valve Prolapse 

Recommended Reading
Binge Drinking in Early 20s can Alter Brain Functioning
Brain functions in young men and women are changed by long-term alcohol use, but that these changes ...
Brain Functional Connectivity May Help Detect Mental Disorders
Resting-state functional connectivity MRI which detects fluctuations in blood supply may provide a ....
Mindfulness Meditation can Improve Brain Function, Energy Levels
Yoga has become popular as a form of physical exercise based upon asanas (physical poses) to ......
Alcohol Consumption Alters Brain Functioning Differently in Young Men and Women
Long-term alcohol use can be risky for young people. Heavy alcohol use alters brain functioning ......
Ataxia affects coordination. Gait becomes unstable and the patient loses balance. The cerebellum or ...
Diseases Related to Old Age
Ageing is referred to the accumulation of changes that brings a person closer to death....
Mitral Valve Prolapse
Mitral Valve Prolapse is a relatively common condition and causes leakage of blood through the valve...
Parkinsons Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease caused by progressive dopamine brain cells loss. ...
Statins are new wonder drugs that are proving to be efficacious, not merely in relieving symptoms bu...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use