A Healthy Heart May Protect an Aging Brain
Study found seniors who met more heart-healthy goals showed less decline in thinking skills
By Don Rauf
WEDNESDAY, March 16, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- New research adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that keeping your heart fit may help your mind stay sharp as well.
In the study, seniors who met more of seven goals for heart-healthy living showed faster thinking speeds initially and less decline in memory and thinking skills six years later.
"The results of our study highlight the need for patients and physicians to monitor and address heart health factors and strive for ideal levels, as these factors not only influence cardiovascular health but also brain health," said lead researcher Hannah Gardener, an assistant scientist in neurology at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine.
In the study, published in the March 16 issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association, Gardener and her colleagues followed more than 1,000 individuals who were an average age of 72. Roughly two-thirds were Hispanic, 19 percent were black and 16 percent were white.
The researchers evaluated the patients to see how closely they met the goals of Life's Simple Seven, a template for heart-healthy living created by the American Heart Association.
The seven goals are to:
None of the study volunteers met all seven goals, and only 1 percent met six goals. Four percent met five of the goals, another 14 percent met four, 30 percent met three, 33 percent met two and 15 percent met only one. Three percent of the volunteers met none of the seven goals for heart-healthy living.