New research shows heart disease causes brain issues that may lead to dementia

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A new study published in eLife, showed a direct link between heart disease and brain dysfunction that can lead to dementia. In addition, researchers found that heart disease and a predisposition to Alzheimer’s Disease trebles the amount of a key Alzheimer’s protein.

The research was led by Osman Shabir, PhD, and conducted at the University of Sheffield’s Neuroscience and Healthy Lifespan Institutes. Using mice preparations that modeled Alzheimer’s disease and atherosclerosis, scientists found that heart disease worsens brain function. They found brain dysfunction caused by heart disease lessens blood flow for brain activity, which can lead to dementia.

In addition, the amount of beta-amyloid, a protein associated with Alzheimer’s, increases in patients who have both heart disease and a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s Disease, according to the study. A buildup of beta-amyloid can trigger Alzheimer’s and causes an increased amount of IL1, an inflammatory gene in the brain. Results also showed that injuries to the brain can negatively affect blood flow regulation.

In a future study, the team plans to study the effects that an arthritis drug that targets IL1 has on the brain dysfunction caused by heart disease.

The integrative community should take note of this study as it provides evidence of a link between heart disease and dementia. The study expands current research on the conditions that could pave the way for new treatment options.