Getting to the heart of dementia

It’s hard to imagine a heart disease test could predict your risk of dementia better than an actual dementia test. But according to recent research, this is one fact you can file under “strange-but-true.”

Although it’s not really that strange. Scientists have known about the strong connection between a failing heart and a failing memory for years now. This latest study simply drives the point home.

Researchers looked at British subjects from the Whitehall II cohort study, all with an average age of around 55 years old. They compared Framingham heart disease and stroke risk scores–a popular test to gauge 10-year heart risk–with Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging and Dementia (CAIDE) risk scores. (This latter test estimates dementia risk based on a number of midlife risk factors.)

Subjects took cognitive tests that covered factors like memory, vocabulary, and reasoning skills three different times over the 10-year follow-up.

At decade’s end, high heart disease and stroke risk scores translated to cognitive decline in almost every area.

Ultimately, heart test results were stronger predictors of later mental decline.

So what’s the bottom line? The secret to a sharp mind lies, quite literally, in your heart.

But not just in your heart. There’s a whole lot more to your cardiovascular system than that. Like the blood vessels and capillaries responsible for carrying oxygen and nutrients to all of your body parts… including your brain.

This is called microcirculation. And it’s a pet topic of mine that I’ve discussed in great detail before (refer back to the November 2011 issue of my Logical Health Alternatives newsletter for more.)

Unfortunately, with all of the attention on the “big” parts of your circulatory system (the heart and arteries), microcirculation often gets overlooked. But this system is absolutely critical to good health. Which is why I recommend everyone supplement with French Maritime pine bark extract. Pine bark extract has been proven to help support optimal microcirculation. And when your microcirculation is in good working order, your entire body reaps the rewards.

“Predicting cognitive decline: A dementia risk score vs the Framingham vascular risk scores.” Neurology. 2013 Apr 2;80(14):1300-6. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e31828ab370.