PET scans peer into the heart of dementia

October 17, 2013

What’s bad for your heart is often bad for your brain. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and unhealthy “hardening” of the arteries increase your risk of mental decline or dementia later in life. A study published online today in Neurology opens a window into how cardiovascular disease affects the brain and may even lead to some important insights into Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Virginia found that elderly people with the stiffest arteries were most likely to show the kinds of damage to brain tissue often seen in people with dementia.