There are a number of factors that determine the health of the blood vessels and they include high blood pressure, smoking, pulse pressures, diabetes and obesity. A research published in the European Heart Journal said that all these factors are linked to unhealthy brains. The study by the researchers had examined the association between seven vascular risk factors and differences in the structures of parts of brains.
Strong links are seen with the areas of the brain known to be responsible for the more complex thinking skills that deteriorate during the development of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Dr. Simon Cox had led the research, who is a senior research associate at the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh (UK). It had examined MRI scans of 9,772 people who were aged between 44 and 79 who were enrolled in the UK Biobank Study – which is one of the largest groups of people from the general population for the data available on brain imaging as well as general health and medical information.
Everything has been scanned by a single scanner at Cheadle Manchester and it was observed that most of the participants were from north-west of England. The researchers here looked for association between the brain structure and one or more vascular risk factors that included high blood pressure, diabetes, high pulse pressure, high cholesterol levels and obesity as measured by body mass index and waist-hip ratio.
All these have been linked to complications with the blood supply with the brain and potentially leads to reduced blood pressure flow as well as abnormal changes seen in Alzheimer’s disease which is also a sign of unhealthy brains. It was also found that with exception of high cholesterol levels, all the other vascular risk factors were linked to greater brain shrinkage, less grey matter which is a tissue found mainly on the surface of the brain, less healthy white matter which is a tissue in deeper parts of the brain.
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