Researchers in the US have discovered a link between mildly elevated cardiovascular risks in young adults and brain health later in life.
Those with healthier levels of blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol in their 20s had better brain function 25 years later. Conversely, those with just small signs of deteriorating heart health when young were less likely to score well in cognitive tests in middle-age.
In the study 3,330 18 to 30-year-olds had their blood pressure, fasting blood sugar and cholesterol levels checked every two to five years, and their cumulative cardiovascular health over 25 years.
At the end of the study, published in the journal Circulation, the participants took three tests measuring memory, thinking speed and mental flexibility. Researchers found those with healthier levels of blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol in their 20s had better brain function 25 years later
The study leader concluded that the narrowing of the arteries leading to and in the brain was the most likely explanation for the link between cardiovascular health and cognitive function.
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