Blood flow from the heart in old age leads to effect on memory

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Blood flow from heart effect on memory

Blood flow from heart effect on memory

New research has revealed that reduced blood flow from heart in old age also leads to poorer circulation in the temporal lobes of the brain.

A study led by researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, says that older adults with a lower cardiac index, or the blood flow pumped from the heart, is tied to reduced cerebral blood flow in a region of the brain key to our memory.

Study co-author Dr. Angela Jefferson and her team previous research revealed a correlation with cognitive impairment diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.

“Our prior research findings shown reductions in cardiac function related to abnormal brain changes in older adults, including cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.”

Link between cardiac index and cerebral blood flow

Following those findings, the current study investigates the link between cardiac index and cerebral blood flow to better understand possible mechanisms underlying our prior clinical observations.

The researchers analyzed the data of 314 participants age 73 years old. Around 59 percent of them male, and 39 percent of them diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

To measure the participants’ cardiac index, the team used echocardiograms, which image the heart and its blood pumping capacity through ultrasounds. They then used MRI to assess cerebral blood flow.

Following these tests, researchers ascertained that a low cardiac index tied to reduce cerebral blood flow. This was especially true for the temporal lobes, which plays a key role in memory creation and storage.

In the left temporal lobe, the blood flow reduce 2.4 milliliters on an average of 100 grams of tissue per minute, for each unit decrease in cardiac index. In the right temporal lobe, an average reduction of 2.5 milliliters of blood for 100 grams of tissue per minute.

However, the primary finding was that lower cardiac index related to lower cerebral blood flow in the temporal lobes. The brain’s memory center and the area where Alzheimer’s disease first develops in the brain. The magnitude of these associations corresponded to 15 to 20 years of advanced aging.

Managing blood pressure and diabetes, maintaining a healthy weight, and regular physical activity are a few of the things older adults can do to maintain good heart health, which may have very important implications for preserving good brain health,” she recommended.

Source: [Vanderbilt University]