Recent studies have found, abnormal heart rhythms affect the decline in thinking abilities (cognitive) quickly. This occurrence is called atrial fibrillation, previously known as the sign of the presence of blood clots, stroke risk, the risk of heart failure, the risk of complications associated with other heart. As quoted from the Times of India.
Researchers say that the study participants who had a cardiac arrhythmia have a score lower on cognitive tests. The results came after considering other factors that cause cognitive decline accelerated.
“This means that people with atrial fibrillation, on average, achieve significant cognitive impairment conditions or Alzheimer’s at earlier age than people who are not experiencing atrial fibrillation,” said Evan Thacker, Ph.D., author of the study at the Department of Epidemiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Public Health.
The study involved about 5,000 people aged 65 years and above and perform cognitive tests every year, for seven years. Approximately 11 percent of the participants were known to have atrial fibrillation. The highest value of the test is 100 points.
The 80-year-old participants who suffered from atrial fibrillation, the average has decreased 10 points on a cognitive test for five years. While the participants who did not have atrial fibrillation, decreased cognitive score only six points in five years. The average decline is different for each age.
Researchers say these linkages can occur due to small blood clots that form in the heart and the brain. This may be no symptoms but can damage the brain over time. The next reason is,
“The low output of blood to the brain through an irregular heart rate, can cause damage to the cerebellum that are formed from time to time,” said Thacker.
The study was published in the online edition of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.