Individuals with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) demonstrate an increase in cognitive decline, including a rise in the typical markers of Alzheimer disease, according to the results of a recent study.

Furthermore, monitoring and controlling for CVD may be critical to maintaining and improving cognitive health later in life.1 The study results showed that a higher CVD risk burden was associated with an increased rate of decline in episodic memory, perceptual speed, and working memory.1

“In the absence of effective treatments for dementia, we need to monitor and control cardiovascular risk burden as a way to maintain patients’ cognitive health as they age,” Weili Xu, PhD, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin, China, said in a statement. “Given the progressive increase in the number of dementia cases worldwide, our findings have both clinical and public health relevance.”2

  1. Song R, Xu H, Dintica CS, et al. Associations between cardiovascular risk, structural brain changes, and cognitive decline. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2020;75(20):2525-2534. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2020.03.053
  2. Maintaining heart health may protect against cognitive decline. ScienceDaily. May 18, 2020. Accessed July 23, 2020.