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Decreased Heart Function May Be Risk Factor for Alzheimer’s Disease

Cardiac index is a measure of heart health that looks at cardiac output, which is the amount of blood that leaves the heart and is pumped through the body. A recent study suggests that a low cardiac index may be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.


For their study, researchers used data from the Framingham Heart Study, which started in 1948 and had the objective of identifying risk factors for heart disease. The data they examined included 1,039 participants in the Framingham’s Offspring Cohort, which included 11 years of follow up conducted to compare cardiac index with development of dementia.


During the study, 32 of the participants developed dementia, 26 of which were Alzheimer’s disease.


The researchers found that the participants with a low cardiac index were two to three times more likely to develop memory loss during the follow-up period than those with a. normal cardiac index.


Researchers from the Vanderbilt Memory & Alzheimer’s Center conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on February 5, 2015, in the journal Circulation.


The researchers stressed that anyone can choose to live a heart-healthy lifestyle at any time, making the cardiac risk a “modifiable risk” for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Previous studies suggest that, in addition to exercising and eating a healthy diet, certain supplements may also contribute to better heart health. These include omega-3s, vitamin E in the form of tocotreniols, and vitamin D.

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