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Heart disease is linked to worse mental processes

23 July 2008

Coronary heart disease is associated with a worse performance in mental processes such as reasoning, vocabulary and verbal fluency, according to a study of 5837 middle-aged Whitehall civil servants. The study also found that the longer ago the heart disease had been diagnosed, the worse was the person’s cognitive performance and this effect was particularly marked in men. The study is published online in Europe’s leading cardiology journal, the European Heart Journal; the authors say it is important because impaired cognition predicts the onset of dementia and death, while coronary heart disease (CHD) remains the leading cause of death in many western countries such as the UK. “It is important to elucidate the link between these two diseases,” said Dr Archana Singh-Manoux, who led the research. “The prevalence of dementia rises with age, doubling every four to five years after the age of 60, so that over a third of people older than 80 are likely to have dementia.”

From the paper
History of coronary heart disease and cognitive performance in midlife: the Whitehall II study
Archana Singh-Manoux, Séverine Sabia, Mohamed Lajnef, Jane E. Ferrie, Hermann Nabi, Annie R. Britton, Michael G. Marmot, and Martin J. Shipley

Published in the European Heart Journal, Advanced Access, 23rd July 2008

Read the press release online