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Coronaries linked to memory

27th November 2006

A 21-year study has shown that those who are forgetful are more likely to suffer heart trouble than their sharper contemporaries. 


The study, of more than 6,400 people, showed that those who have poor memories and slower reaction times are more likely to die from a heart attack.  Psychologist Dr Beverly Shipley, who led the research, now wants to establish exactly why the two conditions are linked.


One possible explanation is that a body with good reaction times is generally well wired together.  A further reason for the link may be poor blood flow through the arteries, a symptom of heart disease which would also affect the flow of oxygen to the brain. The study showed that both younger and older adults exhibited the same link between cognition and heart disease. The link remained even after taking into account other factors usually associated with heart disease, such as physical activity, high blood pressure, being overweight and smoking.


The team of researchers at Edinburgh University‚Äôs psychology department also found that those displaying lower than average levels of mental agility had a 10 per cent greater chance of developing heart disease. 


Coronary heart disease is the most common cause of death in the UK accounting for 125,000 mortalities each year.

 

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