New research suggests that the way to a healthy brain could be through the heart. In an extensive study of patients aged 60-80, researchers from the Northern Manhattan Study found that memory and mental acuity in patients who lived a heart-healthy lifestyle far surpassed the brain functionality in patients who suffered from cardiac problems. Medicomp wants your brain to function above par; wearing a portable cardiac monitoring system by Medicomp can determine if your heart is performing properly.
The study focused on the American Heart Association’s cardiovascular health measures, which they named Life’s Simple 7. These seven elements include maintaining a normal body weight, eating nutritious foods, not smoking, exercising regularly, and maintaining blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. All these factors lead to a much healthier heart, but could they really make your brain healthier as well?
The researchers conducted a series of tests: memory, judgment, mental quickness, problem-solving, and the ability to plan. The results were more than what they anticipated – all demographic groups (male, female, white, black, Hispanic) had better scores on all mental tests when they followed the Life’s Simple 7 lifestyle. And the higher the score on the Life’s Simple 7 test, the better the brain responded.
To ensure the measures were not short-term, the patients were assessed several years later with the same results: the cardiovascular benefits derived from the Life’s Simple 7 lifestyle continued to increase the brain’s processing speed, memory, and executive function. The last skill, executive function, oversees the ability people have to manage life’s duties, such as balancing a checkbook, preparing taxes, shopping at a grocery store, and driving. It is often executive function loss that robs older people of their independence.
Now that the link between the brain and the heart is realized, further testing is necessary to determine if a specific time, such as early adulthood or middle age, may be more beneficial to increase heart and brain health. At this point, researchers are unsure how a healthy heart influences a healthy brain, but several theories have been presented: vascular damage in the body may correlate to vascular damage in the brain, and when brain tissues no longer have oxygen delivered to them, that section of the brain ceases to function.
Knowing that a healthy lifestyle could boost your ability to live a longer, more full life could be the bridge many people need to cross over to better health. Our past blogs address many factors that you can choose to assist your cardiovascular health. Call 800-23-HEART and ask if portable cardiac monitoring could help you increase your heart – and brain – health.