Cardiovascular health and genes are both vital in determining the risk of dementia, according to new research in Neurology.
In the new study, conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Texas, more than 1,200 participants as part of the Framingham Heart Study were examined. The primary objective was to “determine the joint role of ideal cardiovascular health (CVH) and genetic risk on risk of dementia.”
“We used multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression models to examine the association between CVH, genetic risk, and incident all-cause dementia with up to 10 years of follow-up (mean of 8.4 years, 96 incident dementia cases) adjusting for age, sex, and education,” the findings read.
Based on the findings, the participants with a high genetic risk score were at a 2.6-fold higher risk of cognitive decline, particularly dementia, in comparison with those with lower risk scores.
Additionally, the cardiovascular health of the participants, as characterized in the American Heart Association, was linked to a 0.45-fold reduced risk of dementia, when compared to those exhibiting poor cardiovascular health.
“We observed that both genetic risk and CVH contribute additively to dementia risk,” the findings concluded.
“The connection between heart health and brain health becomes clearer with each finding,” said Sudha Seshadri, co-author of the study.
“We hope that the results of this study will send the public a message, and that message is to exercise, reduce stress and eat a healthy diet. Then, regardless of your genes, you have the potential to lower your risk of dementia.”