Heart failure is associated with loss of brain cells and a decline in mental processes
“It showed that people with heart failure display more widespread and extensive brain changes than adults with ischaemic heart disease.”—Prof Almeida. Image: iStock
Australian researchers have found evidence that heart failure is associated with a decline in people's mental processes and a loss of grey matter in the brain. These changes can make it more difficult for heart failure (HF) patients to remember and carry out instructions such as taking the correct medication at the right times.
The authors of the study, which is published online today in the European Heart Journal, say: "Our results are consistent with the observation that people with HF have trouble adhering to complex self-care advice, and suggest that simpler approaches to self-management may be required".
Professor Osvaldo Almeida, who is Professor and Winthrop Chair of Geriatric Psychiatry at the University of Western Australia and Director of Research at the Western Australia Institute for Health and Ageing in Perth, and his colleagues carried out cognitive tests on 35 patients with HF, 56 patients with ischaemic heart disease (IHD), which can often but not always accompany HF, and 64 healthy people without HF or IHD. They also used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to assess differences in the volume of grey matter in different parts of the brain.
Results showed that patients with HF had worse immediate and long-term memory and reaction speeds (psychomotor speed) than the healthy controls. Heart failure was also associated with changes in brain regions that are important for mentally demanding cognitive and emotional processing.
"What we found in this study is that both IHD and HF are associated with a loss of cells in certain brain regions that are important for the modulation of emotions and mental activity such a loss is more pronounced in people with HF, but can also be seen in people with IHD without HF," explained Prof Almeida. "Similarly, people with IHD and HF show subtle deficits in cognitive abilities compared with controls without either IHD or HF, and again those deficits are more pronounced in people with HF. Our study was not sufficiently large to show with certainty that the cognitive performance of participants with HF was worse than that of participants with IHD, although both showed deficits compared with controls."
The regions of the brain that showed loss of grey matter are believed to be important for memory, reasoning and planning. "There is evidence that they optimise performance in complex tasks that require 'mental effort'. Consequently, loss of brain cells in these regions may affect a person's performance in a number of different areas, such as memory, behaviour modification, inhibition, both emotional and cognitive, and organisation," said Prof Almeida.
"Our findings indicate that diseases that affect the heart affect the brain as well, and that the changes in organ function and blood circulation associated with HF seem to compound these effects in the brain. For these reasons, primary and secondary prevention are essential to minimise the impact of heart disease on brain structure and function. They are also consistent with the possibility that patients with HF may have trouble following complex management strategies, and, therefore, treatment messages should be simple and clear. Health professionals and patients need to be aware that problems caused by heart disease are not limited to the heart."
The authors write: "As far as we are aware, this is the first study that included an additional IHD control group that shares common risk factors with HF, which allowed us to show that the cognitive losses may be a non-specific consequence of increasing cardiovascular disease burden. Moreover, our analyses revealed that these subtle deficits . . . cannot be explained by impaired left ventricular ejection fraction, prevalent comorbid conditions, or biochemical markers.
"The acquisition of structural brain images allowed us to examine the impact of both HF and IHD on cerebral GM [grey matter] and to show that the people with HF display more widespread and extensive brain changes than adults with IHD."
Prof Almeida and his colleagues say that larger and longer studies are need to clarify the physiological pathways by which HF could lead to loss of brain cells and worse mental processes, and to see whether the changes are progressive; for instance, they are investigating whether grey matter loss increases and the cognitive problems become worse over time. They also want to examine whether HF patients could benefit from cognitive rehabilitation or stimulation.
More information: "Cognitive and brain changes associated with ischaemic heart disease and heart failure". European Heart Journal. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehr467
Provided by European Society of Cardiology
- Heart failure linked to cognitive impairment Feb 05, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Sexual health of men with chronic heart failure significantly improves with CRT Jun 02, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- ESC pilot registry in heart failure reflects improvement in chronic disease Aug 30, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Hospitalization for heart failure among Medicare patients has declined substantially Oct 18, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Comparison of medications for heart failure finds difference in risk of death Jan 11, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Calculating on-axis elements of a solenoid
10 hours ago I wanted to mention that this solenoid has many winds over many layers. The thickness of the windings is 2.4 inches coming off of the engineering...
latitude & longitude & air pressure
12 hours ago Hi there, I have a peculiar question. Imagine that you are in a earth position, obtained by google, that gives you the latitude and longitude....
Differences of Classical Mechanics when learned with Calc vs algebra?
15 hours ago what are the differences? Every example I find usually has a derivative or integral or some kind of calculus defined concept that seems to make it...
what is the distance traveled
19 hours ago A rough sketch of experiment. Image: http://i43.tinypic.com/14t4sk5.png the red dots represent a side view of path traveled, F is downward force...
Image of a Convex Lens Cut in Half Horizontally
23 hours ago Hello everyone, A friend of mine came up with this question in class and I really do not have a good answer. Suppose you have a convex lens...
Ray tracing through optical system of thick lenses
23 hours ago Can you advise me a free software that allow to draw rays passed throught system of thick lenses (preferable in 3D)?
- More from Physics Forums - Classical Physics
More news stories
Costs to treat stroke are projected to more than double and the number of people having strokes may increase 20 percent by 2030, according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
Cardiology 20 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Blood thinners are the preferred treatment option to prevent heart attacks, blood clots and stroke, but they are not without risk, and not just because of their side effects. These high-risk drugs, known as anticoagulants, ...
Cardiology 22 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Results from a large observational study reported at EuroPCR 2013 today question whether bivalirudin is superior to heparin in the absence of GPIIb/IIIa blockade, showing similar 30-day mortality in patients with non-ST segment ...
Cardiology 22 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
The DESolve bioresorbable coronary scaffold system achieves good efficacy and safety with low rates of late lumen loss and major coronary adverse events at six months, show first results from the pivotal DESolve Nx trial ...
Cardiology 22 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
The Orsiro stent, which is a novel stent platform eluting sirolimus from a biodegradable polymer, demonstrated non-inferiority to the Xience Prime everolimus-eluting stent for the primary angiographic endpoint of in-stent ...
Cardiology May 21, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have identified a promising target for treating glioblastoma, one that appears to avoid many of the obstacles that typically frustrate efforts ...
34 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—The first symptoms of major depression may be behavioral, but the common mental illness is based in biology—and not limited to the brain.
28 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—Scientists at Emory Vaccine Center have shown that an immune regulatory molecule called IL-21 is needed for long-lasting antibody responses in mice against viral infections.
22 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Human breastmilk responds quickly to protect the child when there is an infection in mothers or babies, according to new international research led by The University of Western Australia.
34 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
More than half of patients diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) are now surviving the disease thanks to improved diagnosis and treatment, according to a new report1 from Cancer Research UK.
9 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
To coincide with the broadcast of Jabbed: Love, Fear and Vaccines (SBS ONE, Sunday 26 May at 8.30pm) the first ever national survey on Australian attitudes to vaccination reveals surprising statistics including half of Australians ...
16 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0