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Cardiac disease linked to mild cognitive impairment


Cardiac disease is associated with increased risk of mild cognitive impairment such as problems with language, thinking and judgment, according to a study.

The study by researchers with the Mayo Clinic found the connection was significant in women with heart disease more so than in men.

Known as nonamnestic because it does not include memory loss, this type of mild cognitive impairment may be a precursor to vascular and other non-Alzheimer’s dementias, the researchers noted. Mild cognitive impairment is an important stage for early detection and intervention in dementia, said Rosebud Roberts, MB, ChB, the study’s lead author and a health sciences researcher at the Mayo Clinic.

“Prevention and management of cardiac disease and vascular risk factors are likely to reduce the risk,” Roberts said in a news release.

The researchers evaluated 2,719 people ages 70 to 89 at the beginning of the study and every 15 months after. Of the 1,450 without mild cognitive impairment at the beginning, 669 had heart disease and 59 (8.8%) developed nonamenestic mild cognitive impairment. In comparison 34 (4.4%) of 781 who did not have heart disease developed nonamenestic mild cognitive impairment.

The association varied by sex, with cardiac disease and mild cognitive impairment appearing together more often among women than men.

The study is scheduled for publication in JAMA Neurology (formerly the Archives of Neurology). The study abstract is available at


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