August 2nd, 2010
Framingham: Cardiac Function Linked to Brain Aging
Brain age is closely associated with cardiac function, according to a new report in Circulation from the Framingham Heart Study. Angela Jefferson and colleagues collected brain MRI, cardiac MRI, neuropsychological, and laboratory data on 1504 participants in the Framingham Offspring Cohort and found a significant association between neuropsychological and brain MRI variables and cardiac index as assessed by MRI. In a multivariate analysis, the Framingham researchers found that cardiac index was positively associated with total brain volume and information processing speed and negatively associated with lateral ventricular volume.
In their conclusion, the authors wrote that “although our analyses are based on an observational design and we are unable to establish a causal relation or temporality for the associations observed, we propose that subtle reductions in cardiac index, as well as cardiac index values in the low end of the normal range, may be implicated in accelerating age-related changes in the brain. However, we cannot rule out the possibility that the findings are due to some epiphenomenon.”