Published: 31-05-2023 12:04 | Updated: 14-06-2023 17:13

Ischemic heart disease linked to increased risk of dementia

Photo: CC0 Public Domain

Older people with ischemic heart disease have an increased long-term risk of dementia and accelerated cognitive decline. A recent study published in Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association, suggests that the heart, the brain, and cognitive function are connected in the ageing process and that appropriate prevention and treatment of ischemic heart disease in older people might reduce the burden of dementia.

The researchers regularly followed a cohort of 2568 older people (60 years or more), who were free of dementia at the study entry and were living in an area of central Stockholm, from 2001-2004 through 2013-2016. Heart diseases at the study entry were ascertained via clinical examination and linkage to the Swedish National Inpatient Register. Dementia status and cognitive function during the follow-up period were diagnosed and assessed regularly following the standard approaches.

Portrait of Chengxuan Qiu, Aging Research Center (ARC), in suit, againt neutral background.
Chengxuan Qiu, Aging Research Center (ARC), Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet. Photo: Stefan Zimmerman

“We used statistical methods to link ischemic heart disease at the study entry to an increased risk of dementia and a faster decline in cognitive function during the follow-up period”, says Chengxuan Qiu, at the Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Division of Aging Research Center (ARC) and one of the authors of the study.

Explore cognitive trajectories

Future works should explore cognitive trajectory following the onset of ischemic heart disease and further investigate to what extent medical treatments of ischemic heart disease may affect cognitive decline and dementia onset.

The SNAC-K project on which this study is based is supported by the Swedish Ministry of Health and Social Affairs. This study is supported by additional grants from the Swedish Research Council (VR), FORTE and STINT.


Association of ischemic heart disease with long-term risk of cognitive decline and dementia: A cohort study.
Yume Imahori, Davide Liborio Vetrano, Petter Ljungman, Erika Jonsson Laukka, Jing Wu, Giulia Grande, Debora Rizzuto, Laura Fratiglioni, Chengxuan Qiu. Alzheimer's & dementia : the journal of the Alzheimer's Association, online 23 May 2023, doi: 10.1002/alz.13114.