The connection between heart health & brain health

In September 2018, researchers in Australia published a study in Brain Imaging and Behavior, showing a connection between cardiovascular health and dementia.

The researchers measured the cardiovascular risk of 135 middle-age participants in 1992 (mean age was 49.6). Two decades later (mean age was 69.5), they assessed their cognition levels and completed MRI brain scans.

What they found was that participants with higher cardiovascular risk scores in midlife ended up having higher white matter hyperintensity lesions later in life, which the researchers say “is consequently associated with lower executive function performance”.

In their conclusion, the researchers suggest that their findings “offer significant implications for early therapeutic intervention”, suggesting that focusing on “major modifiable cardiovascular risk factors” during a person’s 40s and 50s may help in maintaining cerebrovascular health and reducing dementia as women age.

This is one more study in a growing body of research showing a connection between what we eat and our mental health. Here at Truehope, we’ve been promoting nutrition as mental health treatment for over 20 years.