How is it that heart attacks and dementia are linked? Elizabeth Tracey reports


A Johns Hopkins study of over 30,000 people has shown that people who have heart attacks are at increased risk to develop dementia. Michelle Johannsen, a stroke and cardiovascular expert at Hopkins and study author, says the primary driver is thought to be cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure.

Johannsen: There's also been some hypotheses about how myocardial infarction in general could affect the brain, so maybe it is through some sort of decreased oxygen state to the brain. There's also a big inflammation hypothesis if you have any sort of event that occurs for example myocardial infarction you’re at an increased date of inflammation and we know that increased inflammation is not good for anything and that includes the brain. Also subclinical cerebrovascular insult as a result of myocardial infarction.  :28

Johannsen says whatever the link, controlling known risk factors for stroke and heart attack is your best bet to avoid subsequent dementia. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.