Cardiometabolic Diseases Accelerate Cognitive Decline, Dementia

WEDNESDAY, June 22, 2022 — Cardiometabolic disease (CMD) multimorbidity accelerates cognitive decline and conversion to dementia, according to a study published online June 16 in Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

Abigail Dove, from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, and colleagues analyzed the combined effects of CMDs (type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke) on cognitive outcomes. The analysis included 2,577 dementia-free participants (aged 60 years and older) followed for 12 years.

The researchers found that CMD multimorbidity was associated with cognitive decline with no dementia (hazard ratio, 1.73) and its progression to dementia (hazard ratio, 1.86). The onset of cognitive decline without dementia and the onset of dementia were accelerated by 2.3 years and 1.8 years, respectively, with CMD multimorbidity. Cognitive decline was found to accelerate in a dose-dependent manner with an increasing number of CMDs.

“This is good news. The study shows that the risk only increases once someone has at least two of the diseases, so it’s possible that dementia can be averted by preventing the development of a second disease,” Dove said in a statement. “We should therefore focus on cardiometabolic disease prevention already in middle age, since the risk of cognitive failure and dementia appears higher among those who develop a cardiometabolic disease earlier in life.”

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