The study was done by U.S. researchers including Sudha Seshadri, MD, and Claudia Satizabal, PhD, of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio). It was conducted on 1,211 participants in the Framingham Heart Study and involved collaborators from Boston University.
The study highlighted on the following:
- Participants with a high genetic risk score based on common genetic variants, including having an allele called apolipoprotein E (APOE) e4, were at a 2.6-fold higher risk of developing dementia than subjects who had a low risk score and did not carry the APOE e4 allele.
- Having favorable cardiovascular health, as defined by an index of the American Heart Association, was associated with a 0.45-fold lower risk of dementia compared to having unfavorable cardiovascular health, the study also showed.
“The connection between heart health and brain health becomes clearer with each finding,” Dr. Seshadri, senior investigator in the Framingham Heart Study, said. She is the professor of neurology in the Long School of Medicine, UT Health San Antonio, and founding director of the university’s Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases.
“We hope that the results of this study will send the public a message, and that message is to exercise, reduce stress and eat a healthy diet. Then, regardless of your genes, you have the potential to lower your risk of dementia,” Dr. Seshadri said.
“It is imperative to start today. It seems, from our findings, that having favorable cardiovascular health mitigates the risk of dementia in persons with high genetic risk,” Dr. Satizabal, assistant professor of population health sciences and Biggs Institute investigator, said.