Vascular Risk Factors Could Hurt Brain Health


Vascular risk factors could hurt brain health, a new research claims. These factors may affect the health of our brains.

The worldwide population is aging at rapid pace. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that nearly 900 million people across the world were aged 60 and above in 2015. Now the number is expected to reach 2 billion by 2050.

In a new study, the researchers analyzed the link of vascular risk factors such as obesity, smoking, and hypertension with brain health.

Led by Dr. Simon Cox, a senior research associate at the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, this research is published in the European Heart Journal.

The researchers involved 9,772 people who were between 44 and 79 years old and scans their brain. They analyzed the association between the participants’ brain structure and vascular risk factors such as diabetes, pulse pressure, body mass index (BMI), high cholesterol, smoking, and hypertension.

They found that higher vascular risk was associated to worse brain structure, even in healthy adults. The researchers also found that smoking, hypertension, and diabetes was highly linked to changes in brain structure.

Dr. Simon Cox said, “Lifestyle factors are much easier to change than things like your genetic code — both of which seem to affect susceptibility to worse brain and cognitive aging. Because we found the associations were just as strong in mid-life as they were in later life, it suggests that addressing these factors early might mitigate future negative effects.”