A new study held by the American Heart Association proves that keeping a healthy life and a healthy heart helps in the protection of the brain. The study found that heart health is directly related to brain health.
The American Heart Association held the study based on what is called Life’s Simple Seven, a list of 7 healthy results that lead to a vigorous life. The simple seven includes managing blood pressure, controlling cholesterol, reducing blood sugar, being an active person, good feeding habits, maintaining a good weight and being a non-smoker.
Researchers tracked around 1,000 senior adults between the average age of 72 years old, mainly located in Northern Manhattan, New York City. Between the data of the subjects the authors found that 65 percent of the subjects were Hispanic descent, 19 percent were black and 16 percent white.
The participants were evaluated on Episodic Memory, Semantic Memory, Executive Function and Processing Speed. Researchers analyzed how the participants reached each of Life’s Simple Seven.
Not one of the participants managed to reach all of the seven goals, resulting in only 1 percent managed to meet six goals, 4 percent met five goals, 14 percent met four goals, 30 percent meet three goals, 33 percent met two of the goals, 15 percent only one goal and a three percent didn’t meet any of the goals.
While evaluating the senior patients the researchers found that the participants, at the beginning of the study who had reached more goals had an increasing brain processing speed.
The same tests were conducted in another 722 participants after the course of six years. Researchers continue to find that patients who met more of the goals possessed fewer dips in their brain processing speed. Also, patients had less deterioration in their memory and executive function (focusing, organizing, time management).
Hannah Gardener is a neurology assistant scientist at the School of Medicine at the University of Miami and is also the lead researcher of the study. Gardener affirms that maintaining normal levels in Life’s Simple Seven, not only improves heart health but also affects brain health.
“The results suggest that vascular damage and metabolic processes may be important in cognitive performance and decline late in life,” said the lead researcher in the study’s publication in the Journal of the American Heart Association.