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Study Links Heart to Brain Aging

By , black-rose-bielefeld.de GuideAugust 12, 2010

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Here's one more great reason to keep your heart healthy - researchers have found that brains appear older in people whose hearts pumped less blood. According to the new study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, having a low cardiac index, or the amount of blood pumped in relation to body size, was linked to lower brain volume as seen with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Human Brain
Photo by Miranda Knox

Brain volume tends to shrink as people grow older, and people suffering from Alzheimer's and other types of dementia show even more severe brain shrinkage. This study found that a group of participants with the lowest cardiac index had nearly two additional years of brain aging than a group of participants with the highest cardiac indexes.

"The results are interesting in that they suggest cardiac index and brain health are related," said lead author Angela L. Jefferson, Ph.D., associate professor of neurology at the Boston University School of Medicine. "There are several theories for why reduced cardiac index might affect brain health. For instance, a lower volume of blood pumping from the heart might reduce blood flow to the brain, providing less oxygen and fewer nutrients needed for brain cells. It is too early to dole out health advice based on this one finding but it does suggest that heart and brain health go hand in hand."

Read more about this study: Brain May Age Faster in People Whose Hearts Pump Less Blood - Science Daily

Jefferson, A. L and others. Cardiac Index Is Associated With Brain Aging. The Framingham Heart Study. Circulation, Aug 2010 DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.905091

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