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Irregular heartbeat linked to higher risk for dementia, faster cognitive decline




Atrial fibrillation was linked to an increased risk for dementia and faster cognitive decline, according to findings recently published in Neurology.

“Growing evidence has suggested that [atrial fibrillation] may have an important role in cognitive dysfunction,” Mozhu Ding, MSc, from the Aging Research Center in Sweden and colleagues wrote.

“However, so far, there is only one retrospective register-based study from Sweden that suggested a lower risk of dementia associated with anticoagulant treatment in patients with atrial fibrillation. Evidence regarding the cognitive benefit of antithrombotic drugs from longitudinal population-based studies is still lacking.”

Researchers performed atrial fibrillation assessments and Mini-Mental State Examinations on 2,685 patients (mean age, 73.1 years). Of those, 243 had atrial fibrillation at baseline. During a 9-year follow-up period, 279 developed atrial fibrillation and 399 developed dementia. Ding and colleagues found that as a time-varying variable, atrial fibrillation was significantly linked with increased risk for vascular and mixed dementia (HR = 1.88; 95% CI, 1.09-3.23), all-cause dementia (HR = 1.4; 95% CI, 1.11-1.77) and a faster annual Mini-Mental State Examination decline (beta coefficient = –0.24; 95% CI, –0.31 to –0.16). Anticoagulant use was linked to a 60% lower risk for dementia (HR = 0.4; 95% CI, 0.18–0.92) among patients with either incident or prevalent fibrillation.

Man Having Heartbeat Checked 


Atrial fibrillation was linked to an increased risk for dementia and faster cognitive decline, according to findings recently published in Neurology.

Photo source:Adobe

“Assuming that there was a cause-and-effect relationship between using blood thinners and the reduced risk of dementia, we estimated that about 54% of the dementia cases would have been hypothetically prevented if all of the people with atrial fibrillation had been taking blood thinners,” study co-author Chengxuan Qiu, PhD, of the Karolinska Institute and Stockholm University in Sweden said in a press release. “Additional efforts should be made to increase the use of blood thinners among older people with atrial fibrillation.” – by Janel Miller

Disclosures:
Ding reports receiving a scholarship from the China Scholarship Council (201507930005) and grants from Konung Gustaf V:s och Drottning Victorias Frimurarestiftelse, Lindh´es Foundation (LA2015-0440), Gamla Tj¨anarinnor (2017-00519), and National Graduate School on Ageing and Health. Qiu reports support from the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (2014-01382) and the Swedish Research Council (2015-02531 and 2017-05819). Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.



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