Heart Beat: 06/08
Researchers are hopeful that improved cardiovascular health may help stave off the onset of dementia, based on the results of a study linking Alzheimer’s disease to the kind of small blood vessel damage associated with hypertension and diabetes. Autopsy data on 221 men and women, who were part of a 12-year neurological and psychological study of 3,400 people (who were tested every two years from age 65 until death), shows that about 33 percent of the dementia risk was associated with brain damage from small blood vessel disease. Researchers say that, while Alzheimer’s treatments are still basically investigational, medical therapy and lifestyle modifications can help control blood pressure and diabetes. The study was presented at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology conference in April.