Identified link between atrial fibrillation and dementia

AF has been known to be associated with an increased risk of stroke, and in turn, stroke is known to aggravate dementia risk. However, an association between AF and dementia without stroke incidence has not been previously established.

Lina Rydn, who holds a doctorate in neuropsychiatric epidemiology at the Sahlgrenska Institute, University of Gothenburg, based her thesis on data from extensive population surveys known as the Group study. Gothenburg cohort H70 (H70).

Rydn’s study included data on 70-year-olds examined in 2000, who were then followed up to age 82 to find out who had developed dementia, and on 70-year-olds who were examined. examined in 2014. The group’s magnetic resonance imaging was later performed to detect structural changes in the brain.

Several possible causes

“There could be a number of reasons why dementia risk is elevated in people with atrial fibrillation, even if they don’t have a stroke. Dementia can be caused by, for example, altered blood flow to the brain. change; silent infarction, which causes lesions in the brain that are visible on brain imaging but do not cause any typical stroke symptoms; or AF that triggers an inflammatory process that increases risk dementia,” says Rydn.

These small infarcts, or nodules as they are called, can be a sign of small cerebrovascular disease.

“The fact that AF also causes small infarcts deeper within the white matter of the brain may mean that AF causes more than just strokes and silent infarcts caused by blood clots traveling from the heart and into the brain. attaches itself to the blood vessels of the brain, but also Rydn says: “The mechanisms that lead to hypoxia may affect the brain during AF. But to understand more specifically how AF affects the brain requires research. more,” Rydn said.

Important for treating dementia risk factors

Current treatment for AF is primarily aimed at easing symptoms and preventing stroke. However, more knowledge is needed about which treatments are best, and when, to reduce dementia risk.

“As there is no definitive cure for dementia today, it is important to detect and treat dementia risk factors in the best way to prevent further deterioration,” says Rydn. onset of the disease in the first place,” says Rydn.

Title: AF in the aging process; Methodological aspects and associations with dementia and cerebrovascular disease,

Source: Eurekalert

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