Midlife heart health shows a link with future risk of dementia

Factors that harm your heart may be bad for your brain.


Image: © Nik01ay/Thinkstock

During middle age, factors that leave you prone to a heart attack or stroke — high blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking — may raise your risk of developing dementia a quarter-century later, new research suggests. All three things affect your vascular (blood vessel) health.

The recent study, which adds to the growing evidence linking heart health to brain health, has elements that make findings especially reliable, says Dr. Gad Marshall, a Harvard Medical School assistant professor of neurology. "For understanding the vascular risks for dementia, this study is as close to definitive as we can get," he says.

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