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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU: ‘Ideal Cardiovascular Health Index’ Protective Against Dementia

Cardiovascular health recommendations proposed by the American Heart Association (AHA) may help to protect against dementia as well as stroke and cognitive decline, according to a new study co-authored by researchers from Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH).

The study, published in the journal Stroke, examined whether adherence to the AHA’s so-called “ideal cardiovascular health index” was associated with a lower risk of dementia, cognitive decline, and brain atrophy among participants in the Framingham Heart Study Offspring cohort. The index focuses on modifiable health behaviors such as smoking, body mass index (BMI), physical activity, and diet.

The researchers found that adherence to the guidelines “protects against all forms of vascular brain injury, including AD (Alzheimer disease).” They said the concept of ideal CVH “should thus be further promoted to protect the brain, as well as the heart, from vascular risk factors.” In particular, they added, middle-aged people should be targeted.

“Further promoting ideal CVH, particularly to middle-aged adults, may improve neurological outcomes for our aging citizens,” they said.

To read more about the study, go to: