The condition of your blood vessels may determine a lot about the health of your brain, according to new research.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh found that a variety of factors including smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes — all conditions that affect your blood vessels or vascular risk factors — may also hurt your brain.
Over time, these factors may lead to brain deterioration and increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.
This new study published March 11 looked at the MRI scans of brains from 9,772 people between the ages of 44 and 79.
Specifically, the researchers, who were led by Simon Cox, PhD, a senior research associate at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, examined connections between seven vascular risk factors — smoking, hypertension, pulse pressure, diabetes, [high cholesterol], body mass index (BMI), and waist-hip ratio — and structures of the brain responsible for complex thinking. These areas are known to deteriorate as dementia develops.