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Improved Cognition Seen With Healthier Cardiovascular Phenotype

Better cognitive performance linked to larger LV/RV volumes, higher LV/RV stroke volumes, greater LV mass

THURSDAY, May 27, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Individuals with cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) measures representing a healthier cardiovascular phenotype have better cognitive performance, according to a study published online May 14 in the European Heart Journal: Cardiovascular Imaging.

Zahra Raisi-Estabragh, M.D., from the Queen Mary University of London, and colleagues studied 29,763 participants with CMR and cognitive testing, specifically fluid intelligence (FI) and reaction time (RT). The association of each CMR measure was examined with FI and RT in models adjusted for multiple confounding variables.

The researchers found that in fully adjusted models, better cognitive performance (higher FI, lower RT) was associated with larger left ventricular (LV)/right ventricular (RV) volumes, higher LV/RV stroke volumes, greater LV mass, and greater aortic distensibility in this predominantly healthy cohort. Some evidence of nonlinearity was seen in the relationship between FI and LV end-systolic volume; at very high volume, there was reversal of the direction of association. For men and women, and at different ages, the associations were consistent.

“We already knew that patients with heart disease were more likely to have dementia, and vice versa, but we’ve now shown that these links between heart and brain health are also present in healthy people,” Raisi-Estabragh said in a statement. “We demonstrated for the first time, in a very large group of healthy people, that individuals with healthier heart structure and function have better cognitive performance.”

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