HealthDay News — Adherence to the Life Simple 7 ideal cardiovascular health recommendations in midlife is associated with reduced incidence of dementia later in life, according to a study published online Aug. 7 in The BMJ.

Séverine Sabia, Ph.D., from the Université de Paris, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study involving 7,899 participants with data on the cardiovascular health score at age 50 years. The cardiovascular health score included four behavioral and three biological metrics and was categorized into poor (score, 0 to 6), intermediate (score, 7 to 11), and optimal (score, 12 to 14) cardiovascular health. The authors examined the correlation between cardiovascular health score and incidence of dementia.

The researchers recorded 347 incident cases of dementia over a median follow-up of 24.7 years. The incidence rate of dementia was 3.2 (95 percent confidence interval [CI], 2.5 to 4.0) per 1,000 person years for those with poor cardiovascular health, and absolute rate differences were −1.5 (95 percent CI, −2.3 to −0.7) and −1.9 (95 percent CI, −2.8 to −1.1) per 1,000 person-years for the intermediate and optimal cardiovascular health groups. The risk of dementia was lower with higher cardiovascular health score (hazard ratio, 0.89 [95 percent CI, 0.85 to 0.95] per 1-point increment in cardiovascular health score). The correlations with dementia were similar for the behavioral and biological subscales (hazard ratios, 0.87 [95 percent CI, 0.81 to 0.93] and 0.91 [95 percent CI, 0.83 to 1.00] per 1-point increment in subscores).

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“Cardiovascular risk factors are modifiable, making them strategically important prevention targets,” the authors write. “This study supports public health policies to improve cardiovascular health as early as age 50 to promote cognitive health.”

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