Study by Yaffe links early cardiac risks to diminished cognitive function in middle age
Monday, March 31, 2014
Young adults with such cardiac risk factors as high blood pressure and elevated glucose levels have significantly worse cognitive function in middle age, according to a new study by dementia researchers led by senior author Kristine Yaffe, MD.
The findings, published March 31 in Circulation, bolster the view that diseases like Alzheimer’s develop over an individual’s lifespan and may be set in motion early in life. They also offer hope that young adults may be able to lower their risk of developing dementia through diet and exercise, or even by taking medications.
“We already know that reducing [cardiovascular] risk factors in midlife can decrease the risk of dementia in old age,” said Yaffe. “If it turns out that the damage begins before middle age, we may need to expand our focus and work on reducing heart disease risks in earlier stages of life.”