People with irregular heartbeat at greater risk of dementia - Alzheimer's Society comment

New research from the American Academy Of Neurology, published today (10 October) in Neurology, has suggested that people living with a type of irregular heartbeat, known as Atrial Fibrillation, are at a greater risk of developing vascular dementia or mixed dementia including vascular dementia.

The research of 2,685 people, undertaken in Sweden, also suggested that those with Atrial Fibrillation who took blood thinning drugs were much less likely to develop vascular and mixed dementia (but not Alzheimer’s) than those who weren’t.

Dr James Pickett, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, said:

'It is well established that what is good for your heart is good for your head and this research adds even more weight to the relationship between heart health, stroke and vascular dementia risk, which are all affected by blood pressure and your circulatory system.

'Within this large, well-executed study people with atrial fibrillation (AF) were overall at a greater risk of developing vascular dementia than people without AF. Those who took blood-thinning drugs, such as Warfarin, reduced their risk of getting vascular dementia by 60% compared to those who didn’t.

'This highlights the need to explore every avenue to help us unearth more vital information on what is now the UK’s biggest killer, which is why we’re funding over £2.5 million of research specifically into the relationship between the heart and dementia.'