Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Vascular changes linked to dementia, experts say

Date:
July 22, 2011
Source:
American Heart Association
Summary:
High blood pressure is related to the development of age-related vascular cognitive impairment, according to a new American Heart Association/American Stroke Association scientific statement. Maintaining a healthy heart may also maintain a healthy functioning brain. Screening elderly patients for heart and stroke risk factors may also identify those at risk of dementia.

The same artery-clogging process (atherosclerosis) that causes heart disease can also result in age-related vascular cognitive impairments (VCI), according to a new American Heart Association/American Stroke Association scientific statement published online in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Cognitive impairment, also known as dementia, includes difficulty with thinking, reasoning and memory, and can be caused by vascular disease, Alzheimer's disease, a combination of both and other causes.

Atherosclerosis is a build- up of plaque in the arteries associated with elevated blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking and other risk factors. When it restricts or blocks blood flow to the brain, it is called cerebrovascular disease, which can result in vascular cognitive impairment.

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disorder that damages and destroys brain cells. "We have learned that cerebrovascular disease and Alzheimer's disease may work together to cause cognitive impairment and the mixed disorder may be the most common type of dementia in older persons," said Philip B. Gorelick, M.D., M.P.H., co-chair of the writing group for the statement and director of the Center for Stroke Research at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago.

The prevalence of dementia increases with advancing age and affects about 30 percent of people over 80 years of age, costing more than $40,000 per patient annually in the United States, according to the statement authors. . .

Treating risk factors for heart disease and stroke with lifestyle changes and medical management may prevent or slow the development of dementia in some people, Gorelick said. Physical activity, healthy diet, healthy body weight, tobacco avoidance as well as blood pressure and cholesterol management could significantly help many people maintain their mental abilities as they age.

"Generally speaking, what is good for the heart is good for the brain," Gorelick said. "Although it is not definitely proven yet, treatment or prevention of major risk factors for stroke and heart disease may prove to also preserve cognitive function with age."

Understanding common causes of late-life cognitive impairment and dementia has advanced and many of the traditional risk factors for stroke also are risk markers for Alzheimer's disease and vascular cognitive impairment. For example:

• Reducing high blood pressure is recommended to reduce the risk of vascular cognitive impairment. High blood pressure in mid-life may be an important risk factor for cognitive decline later in life. • Controlling high cholesterol and abnormal blood sugar may also help reduce the risk of vascular cognitive impairment, although more study is needed to confirm the role of these interventions. • Smoking cessation could lessen the risk of vascular cognitive impairment. • Increasing physical exercise, consuming a moderate level of alcohol (i.e., up to 2 drinks for men and 1 drink for non-pregnant women) for those who currently consume alcohol; and maintaining a healthy weight may also lessen the risk of VCI, but more study is needed to confirm usefulness. • Taking B vitamins or anti-oxidant supplements, however, does not prevent vascular cognitive impairment, heart disease or stroke.

Identifying people at risk for cognitive impairment is a promising strategy for preventing or postponing dementia and for public health cost savings, the writers said. "We encourage clinicians to use screening tools to detect cognitive impairment in their older patients and continue to treat vascular risks according to nationally- or regionally-accepted guidelines." Vascular cognitive impairment is most obvious after a stroke, but there could be cognitive repercussions from small strokes, microbleeds or areas of diminished blood flow in the brain that cause no obvious neurological symptoms, according to the statement.

In many cases, the risk factors for vascular cognitive impairment are the same as for stroke, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, abnormalities in heart rhythm and diabetes. The American Academy of Neurology and the Alzheimer's Association have endorsed the statement.

Other members of the writing group include: Angelo Scuteri, co-chair, M.D., Ph.D.; David Bennett, M.D.; Sandra E. Black, M.D.; Charles DeCarli, M.D.; Helena C. Chui, M.D.; Steven M. Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D.; Randall T. Higashida, M.D.; Costantino Iadecola, M.D.; Lenore J. Launer, M.D.; Stephane Laurent, M.D.; Oscar L. Lopez, M.D.; David Nyenhuis, Ph.D.; Ronald C. Petersen, M.D., Ph.D.; Julie A. Schneider, M.D.; Christophe Tzourio, M.D., Ph.D.; Donna K. Arnett, Ph.D.; Ruth Lindquist, Ph.D., R.N.; Peter M. Nilsson, M.D., Ph.D.; Gustavo C. Roman, M.D.; Frank W. Sellke, M.D.; and Sudha Seshadri, M.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Heart Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Philip B. Gorelick, Angelo Scuteri, Sandra E. Black, Charles Decarli, Steven M. Greenberg, Costantino Iadecola, Lenore J. Launer, Stephane Laurent, Oscar L. Lopez, David Nyenhuis, Ronald C. Petersen, Julie A. Schneider, Christophe Tzourio, Donna K. Arnett, David A. Bennett, Helena C. Chui, Randall T. Higashida, Ruth Lindquist, Peter M. Nilsson, Gustavo C. Roman, Frank W. Sellke, and Sudha Seshadri, on behalf of the American Heart Association Stroke Council, Council on Epidemiology and Prevention, Council on Cardiovascular Nursing, Council on Cardiovascular Radiology and Intervention, and Council on Cardiovascular Surgery and Anesthesia. Vascular Contributions to Cognitive Impairment and Dementia: A Statement for Healthcare Professionals From the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke, 2011; DOI: 10.1161/STR.0b013e3182299496

Cite This Page:

American Heart Association. "Vascular changes linked to dementia, experts say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110721163023.htm>.
American Heart Association. (2011, July 22). Vascular changes linked to dementia, experts say. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110721163023.htm
American Heart Association. "Vascular changes linked to dementia, experts say." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110721163023.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Calling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a potential threat to global security, President Barack Obama is ordering 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the stricken region amid worries that the outbreak is spiraling out of control. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Nearly $1.0 billion dollars is needed to fight the Ebola outbreak raging in west Africa, the United Nations say, warning that 20,000 could be infected by year end. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is ordering U.S. military personnel to West Africa to deal with the Ebola outbreak, which is he calls a potential threat to global security. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins