Does improving cardiovascular health reduce risk of dementia?

September 12, 2017 by Jim Dryden

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are recruiting volunteers for a national study that is exploring whether strategies to improve cardiovascular health also reduce the risk of dementia in those at risk for Alzheimer's disease.

The multicenter study is evaluating aerobic exercise, intensive medical management of blood and cholesterol, and a combination of those approaches in people ages 60 to 85 who are at for Alzheimer's because they have a parent or sibling diagnosed with dementia.

The two-year study seeks to learn whether managing might have the added benefit of preventing or delaying the onset of Alzheimer's symptoms in .

"There is a greater risk for Alzheimer's in people with high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol," said Ellen F. Binder, MD, the principal investigator at the study's Washington University clinical site and a professor of medicine in the Division of Geriatrics and Nutritional Science. "These are risk factors we normally associate with cardiovascular disease and stroke, but they can change the brain's vasculature and structure, and that can increase the risk of dementia."

Study volunteers will receive baseline screening tests to determine whether their blood pressure and cholesterol levels are high enough to qualify for the study.

"We are recruiting individuals who need better control of their blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors and, as a result, are at risk for Alzheimer's disease," Binder said.

Those who qualify for the study will be randomly assigned to one of four groups: one that receives medications to treat and cholesterol; one group that receives either a YMCA or Jewish Community Center membership to work with exercise trainers; one that receives both medication and a gym membership; and a control group that receives a home-based exercise program and will continue to have their and cholesterol managed by their .

Older adults with other age-related health problems, such as diabetes or arthritis, may be eligible to participate, provided they are not using insulin and are able to exercise despite any arthritis pain.

Binder explained that the study interventions already are known to improve overall health, regardless of whether they have any effects on Alzheimer's risk.

"The interventions we are studying have proven benefits," Binder said. "Exercise and medication lower risk of heart attack and stroke. We don't know yet whether there may be additional benefits that prevent cognitive decline."

For more information or to volunteer for the study, visit the study's website at www.rrADtrial.org or contact Monica Sewell by calling 314-286-2716 or e-mailing sewellm@wustl.edu.

Explore further: Report links a healthy heart to a healthy brain

Related Stories

Report links a healthy heart to a healthy brain

September 8, 2017
An expert committee of researchers in the US has highlighted the strong link between cardiovascular risk factors and brain health, following a review of existing evidence.

Who really needs blood pressure, cholesterol meds?

April 6, 2017
(HealthDay)—High blood pressure and high cholesterol are known risk factors for heart attacks and strokes, but it's unclear who needs medication to help manage these conditions, a new report suggests.

Tests to predict heart problems may be more useful predictor of memory loss than dementia tests

April 1, 2013
Risk prediction tools that estimate future risk of heart disease and stroke may be more useful predictors of future decline in cognitive abilities, or memory and thinking, than a dementia risk score, according to a new study ...

Outlining the risk factors to help prevent dementia

October 16, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—Research shows that managing and treating vascular disease risk factors are not only beneficial to preventing heart disease and stroke, but also common forms of dementia.

Are you at risk for metabolic syndrome?

June 15, 2017
(HealthDay)—Scientists have identified a group of specific factors that increase your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, all of which are severe health threats.

African-Americans with healthier lifestyles had lower risk of high blood pressure

June 26, 2017
Among African Americans, small health improvements were associated with lower risk of developing high blood pressure, according to new research in the American Heart Association's journal Hypertension. African Americans who ...

Recommended for you

Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?

November 17, 2017
The buildup of plaque in the heart's arteries is an unfortunate part of aging. But by studying the genetic makeup of people who maintain clear arteries into old age, researchers led by UNC's Jonathan Schisler, PhD, have identified ...

New model estimates odds of events that trigger sudden cardiac death

November 16, 2017
A new computational model of heart tissue allows researchers to estimate the probability of rare heartbeat irregularities that can cause sudden cardiac death. The model, developed by Mark Walker and colleagues from Johns ...

Raising 'good' cholesterol fails to protect against heart disease

November 16, 2017
Raising so-called 'good' cholesterol by blocking a key protein involved in its metabolism does not protect against heart disease or stroke, according to a large genetic study of 150,000 Chinese adults published in the journal ...

Popular e-cigarette liquid flavorings may change, damage heart muscle cells

November 16, 2017
Chemicals used to make some popular e-cigarette liquid flavorings—including cinnamon, clove, citrus and floral—may cause changes or damage to heart muscle cells, new research indicates.

Possible use for botulinum toxin to treat atrial fibrillation

November 16, 2017
From temporarily softening wrinkles to easing migraines, botulinum toxin has become a versatile medical remedy because of its ability to block nerve signals that can become bothersome or risky.

Proteome of the human heart mapped for the first time

November 15, 2017
A healthy heart beats about two billion times during a lifetime, thanks to the interplay of more than 10,000 proteins. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) and the German Heart Centre at the Technical ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

homecarenewport
not rated yet Sep 13, 2017
I appreciate your ideas that this information can be helpful for those who are suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Thanks for sharing!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.