Heart Health and Cognitive Function in Middle-Aged Black Women

Heart Health and Cognitive Function in Middle-Aged Black Women
Heart Health and Cognitive Function in Middle-Aged Black Women. Credit | Getty images

United States: Middle-aged Black women who have better heart health may also have brighter minds, according to recent research. Researchers discovered that over the course of two decades, the cognitive abilities of black women with poorer heart health decreased by 10 percent. Though on the other hand, black women with a good heart health showed a little decline in their mental processing.

Lead researcher Imke Janssen, a family and preventive medicine professor at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, advised taking good care of her heart as it will increase her cognitive function. “Maintaining independent living and preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in later life are dependent on women in their 40s having better cardiovascular health.”

This study included 363 Black and 402 white women who started testing in 1997, when they were between the ages of 42 and 52, it also includes that researchers have assessed the heart health among middle aged black and white women and compared it to cognitive tests the women took every one to two years for 20 years. Weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and lifestyle variables including healthy diet, exercising, getting enough sleep, and quitting smoking were among the heart health metrics.

Particularly when it came to processing speed—the speed at which the mind can reliably identify incoming visual and linguistic information—black women with good heart health showed advantages. Researchers discovered, however, that there was no correlation between white women’s cardiac health and brain function. This is the new study which was published recently in a Journal of the American Heart Association.

The findings contradict earlier research, according to Janssen, which indicated that heart health was more closely related to brain health in White individuals than in Black ones.
According to Janssen, in a journal press release, “We think these differences are due to the younger age of our participants, who began cognitive testing in their mid-40s, whereas previous studies started with adults about 10 to 20 years older.”
According to Janssen, “the next step is a clinical trial to confirm whether optimizing heart health in Black women at midlife may maximize independence, slow cognitive aging, and reduce racial disparities in dementia risk.”