Can having a heart attack impact your brain health? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Having had a heart attack can put you at risk for dementia years later, a Johns Hopkins study led by Michelle Johannsen, a stroke and cardiovascular expert, shows. 

Johannsen: We had expected for a little while that acute myocardial infarction which is a heart attack is associated with either dementia or cognitive decline for reasons that were unclear. So in a population of about 30,000 people that was in six cohort studies across the United states we found that those people that had an heart attack compared to those people that did not have a heart attack when we followed them over time for years after their heart attack we saw that those with a heart attack had cognitive decline, both global cognitive decline and then an executive functioning and memory compared to those people who did not have a heart attack.   :31

Johannsen says it was already known that strokes could compromise cognition, both immediately and over the long term, and now heart attacks are also a risk factor. She notes that avoiding both by controlling risk factors is the best strategy. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.