Thursday, July 20, 2017

How heart health is linked to brain health

You've seen this theme before - exercise is linked to decreased stroke risk. This study looked at heart health, brain size, and what it means - how heart health is linked to brain health later in life:
Those who scored high at the start were more likely to have higher brain volume when they reached middle age. The study authors say that every point lower a person scored on the Life's Simple 7 corresponded with about one year of age-related brain shrinkage.
"Larger brain volume, relative to head size, is associated with better health," explains study author Michael Bancks, a postdoctoral fellow in preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in an email to TIME. "Brain atrophy — smaller brain volume — is associated with death and disability." Prior studies have linked smaller brain size to lower cognitive function scores and an increased risk for health events like stroke in middle age and beyond.
Bancks says that further research following the same men and women will likely continue to yield new insights into the link between the heart and brain. "It will be important to see how cardiovascular health across the lifespan is related to brain structure changes in these individuals as they proceed through middle adulthood and into late adulthood," he says.
You don't have to exercise to extreme - just a reasonable amount of exercise can benefit you.

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