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We know the close link between the heart and the brain, which manifests itself in particular with the broken heart syndrome. Researchers have also discovered that in the event of a heart attack, the brain suddenly ages several years, which can accelerate cognitive decline.

We know that the heart and the brain are intimately linked. This is what causes broken heart syndrome (or tako-tsubo): the heart freezes when the brain is no longer able to regulate stress or a strong emotion.

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This link has once again been underlined by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, in the United States, who have discovered that the infarction accelerates the aging of the brain during the years following the heart attack.

A brain that ages between 6 and 13 years

To reach this finding, the researchers analyzed 6 different large studies conducted on more than 30,000 adults between 1971 and 2019, to determine whether people who had had heart attacks showed changes in cognition compared to people who did not. didn’t have a heart attack.

While they found no significant cognitive decline in the patients immediately after the first heart attack, cognitive tests of the participants showed an accelerated decline in the years following the infarction. This decline was equivalent to about 6 to 13 years of cognitive aging.

“Our study shows that preserving cardiovascular health may be a strategy for also preserving brain health in older adults,” the study authors explained. “We now need to determine what specifically causes cognitive decline over time.”

Source :Association Between Acute Myocardial Infarction and Cognition, Jama neurologyMay 2023

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