Scientists at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research have conducted a study which suggests that individuals at high risk of developing cardiovascular diseases may also experience earlier memory decline than their healthier counterparts.
For the study, researchers examined more than 4,700 patients over a 10-year period. They found that men with a 10 percent higher risk of heart disease scored 2.8 percent lower on memory tests, while women with the same risk factors had scores that were 7.1 percent lower.
Cardiovascular risk factors included cholesterol levels, blood pressure rates, smoking status, gender, age and whether the participant had diabetes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that cardiovascular disease may be prevented with a healthy diet, exercise, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol intake.
Results of the study suggest that by improving heart health, individuals may also be effective in improving their mind.
“The study further demonstrates how these heart disease risk factors can contribute to cognitive decline over a 10-year period,” said the study’s lead author, Sara Kaffashian, M.Sc., a researcher with the French institute.