Bad memory link to heart attack
Being forgetful is bad for your heart. Those who have poor memories and slower reaction times are more likely to die from a heart attack, according to a 21-year study. Psychologist Beverly Shipley, who carried out the research, said the next step was to discover exactly why there was a link. She suggested that one possible explanation was that reaction time is an indicator of a body with better “system integrity”— how well it is wired together. She said one surprising outcome of the study was that both young and old adults showed the same link between cognition and heart trouble. Even in the case of young people, memory problems could be used to identify those not normally thought to be at risk of heart disease.
Shipley, member of Edinburgh University’s psychology department, studied more than 6,400 individuals. She found those who had slower reaction times, poorer memory and poor visual-spatial awareness had a higher chance of dying from cardiovascular or respiratory disease. The link remained even after taking into account other factors usually associated with heart disease, like physical activity, blood pressure, obesity and smoking.
Participants were aged between 18 and 99 and were first tested in 1984/85. The study was completed in 2005.
Researchers found lower than average level of mental agility led to at least a 10% greater chance of heart disease. They also found a higher death rate from heart problems among those with poor mental agility. DAILY MAIL
New scan technique spots child killer
London: A medical scan can spot which young people risk sudden death because of a weak heart. The scan shows up heart scar tissue, giving doctors an important warning sign of dilated cardiomyopathy or DCM, which can otherwise go undetected. In DCM, the heart becomes weakened and enlarged, and cannot pump blood efficiently. It is the most common form of heart muscle disease at any age and many of those who die are children.
The technique, developed by cardiologists at Royal Brompton Hospital, involves injecting a dye called gadolinium into the patient’s vein and then scanning them with MRI. The dye stays around in the scar tissue more than in the surrounding tissue because scar tissue has a lower blood supply than normal tissue. And gadolinium’s special magnetic properties makes the scar tissue appear brightly on the scan and very easy to detect.
The Royal Brompton team tested the technique on 101 patients with and without scar tissue and followed them for two years to determine the effect of scar tissue on the patients’ health outcomes.
By detecting the scar tissue, the researchers found they were better able to determine the risk of hospitalisation or death. This enabled them to ensure patients received timely care.