Mid-life cardiovascular disease prevention may protect against later dementia

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Study results show atherosclerosis in mid-life can impact areas of the brain impacted by dementia

Employing cardiovascular disease prevention strategies in mid-life may delay or stop the brain alterations that can lead to dementia later in life, according to a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Atherosclerosis, or buildup of fats, cholesterol and other substances in and on artery walls, is the underlying cause of most cardiovascular diseases, which is the leading cause of death around the world. Dementia is also among the top causes of death and disability around the world, with 50 million people currently living with dementia. The presence of atherosclerosis has been linked to cognitive impairment in advanced stages of the disease, but little is known about how they influence each other, especially since both can be asymptomatic for long periods of time earlier in life.

Using 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-positron emission tomography (PET) scans of 547 participants from the Progression of Early Subclinical Atherosclerosis study, researchers sought to determine the association between brain metabolism, subclinical atherosclerosis and cardiovascular risk factors in asymptomatic, middle-aged adults. They found that cardiovascular risk is associated with brain hypometabolism, including the cerebral areas known to be affected in dementia. Hypertension was the modifiable cardiovascular disease risk factor with the strongest association.

According to researchers, these results underscore the need to control cardiovascular disease risk factors early in life to potentially reduce the brain’s later vulnerability to cognitive dysfunction.

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For an embargoed copy of the full study, contact Nicole Napoli at [email protected]

The American College of Cardiology envisions a world where innovation and knowledge optimize cardiovascular care and outcomes. As the professional home for the entire cardiovascular care team, the mission of the College and its 54,000 members is to transform cardiovascular care and to improve heart health. The ACC bestows credentials upon cardiovascular professionals who meet stringent qualifications and leads in the formation of health policy, standards and guidelines. The College also provides professional medical education, disseminates cardiovascular research through its world-renowned JACC Journals, operates national registries to measure and improve care, and offers cardiovascular accreditation to hospitals and institutions. For more, visit acc.org.

The Journal of the American College of Cardiology ranks among the top cardiovascular journals in the world for its scientific impact. JACC is the flagship for a family of journals–JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions, JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging, JACC: Heart Failure, JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology, JACC: Basic to Translational Science, JACC: Case Reports, JACC: CardioOncology and JACC: Asia–that prides themselves in publishing the top peer-reviewed research on all aspects of cardiovascular disease. Learn more at JACC.org.

Media Contact
Nicole Napoli
[email protected]

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