Patients with pre-existing CVD and poor CV health metrics had an increased risk for cognitive decline, according to a study published in The American Journal of Cardiology.
Miri Lutski, PhD, of the department of epidemiology and preventive medicine in the School of Public Health at Tel Aviv University in Israel and the Israel Center for Disease Control of the Ministry of Health in Ramat Gan, Israel, and researchers analyzed data from 200 men (mean age at baseline, 57 years) from the Bezafibrate Infarction Prevention study. Food diaries were completed to collect information on diets.
Neurovascular and cognitive functions were assessed from 2004 to 2008 (mean age, 72 years), which was an average of 15 years after recruitment. Cognitive function was reassessed between 2011 and 2013 (mean age, 77 years). The mean time between both assessments was 4.8 years.
The three health factors that were assessed were LDL, BP and fasting plasma glucose. The four health behaviors included obesity, smoking, adherence to a Mediterranean diet and physical activity. These two sets of factors were used to calculate CV health metrics.
A computerized cognitive test was used to assess cognitive function. The incidence of dementia and stroke were reviewed during follow-up.
When calculating CV health metric points, 34% of patients were in the bottom group with a score of 7 or less, 42.5% were in the middle group with a score of 8 to 9 and 23.5% were in the top group with a score of 10 or greater.
Compared with other score groups, patients in the top group had a slower decline in the overall cognitive performance composite z score (0.23 ± 0.09; P = .009). These patients also had slower declines in tests of visual (0.49 ± 0.17; P = .004) and executive spatial functions (0.23 ± 0.11; P = .047) vs. the other groups.
“Currently, there is no effective treatment for dementia, which emphasizes the importance of prevention,” Lutski and colleagues wrote. “Brain changes begin years before patients show symptoms, which suggest a window of opportunity to prevent or delay the onset of these conditions. Modifiable lifestyle behaviors and the control or the avoidance of cardiovascular risk factors represent some of the most promising strategies for the prevention of cognitive decline and dementia.” – by Darlene Dobkowski
The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.