Nov. 20, 2007 -- How flexible are your arteries? It might make a difference in how sharp your mind stays with age.
A new study links stiffer arteries to lower memory and concentration test scores as adults age.
To make your arteries more flexible, go for a healthy lifestyle, suggest the researchers. They included Shari Waldstein, PhD, of the University of Maryland in Baltimore County.
Waldstein's team studied more than 1,700 Baltimore adults.
Participants got their arterial stiffness checked and took mental skills tests. They repeated the mental skills tests at least once over the next 14 years.
Those with stiffer arteries at the study's start showed greater cognitive decline -- specifically, a bigger drop in memory and concentration test scores -- than people with more flexible arteries.
But Waldstein and colleagues can't rule out the possibility that unmeasured factors may have affected the results.
The findings appear in the advance online edition of Hypertension.