Change of heart? It may affect your thinking and memory functions

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In a new study from the University of California, San Francisco, researchers found subtle changes in the structure and the diastolic function of a person’s heart between early adulthood and middle age may be linked to a decline in thinking and memory skills.

The diastolic function of the heart is when it rests between beats and the chambers fill with blood.

In the study, the team followed young adults for 25 years into middle age and found declines in thinking and memory skills independent of other risk factors.

The study looked at 2,653 people with an average age of 30. Participants had echocardiograms, ultrasound images of the heart, at the start of the study and again 20 and 25 years later.

Researchers found over 25 years, there was an average increase in the weight of the left ventricle of 0.27 grams per square meter per year (g/m2), with an average weight of 81 g/min the first year and 86 g/m2 in the last year.

There was also an average increase in left atrial volume of 0.42 milliliters of blood per square meter (mL/m2) with an average volume of 16 mL/m2 in the first year and 26 mL/m2  in the last year.

In the last year of the study, participants were given six cognitive tests to measure thinking and memory skills.

The researchers found that a greater than average increase from early to middle adulthood in the weight of a person’s left ventricle was linked to lower midlife cognition on most tests.

Participants with a greater than average midlife increase in left ventricle weight had lower scores in cognitive tests than those without a greater than average increase in weight.

The team says as early as young adulthood, even before the occurrence of cardiovascular disease, there may be heart abnormalities that could be risk markers for lower thinking and memory skills in middle age.

In the future, a single echocardiogram may help identify people at higher risk of cognitive impairment.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about drug that could help lower obesity, fatty liver, improve your heart health, and COVID-19 infection, more likely than vaccines, to cause heart inflammation.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about plastics linked to heart disease and high cholesterol, and results showing eating this nut daily may lower bad cholesterol, reduce heart disease risk.

The study is published in Neurology. One author of the study is Laure Rouch, PharmD, Ph.D.

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