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Aging (Milano). 2001 Jun;13(3):231-9.

Heart disease and vascular risk factors in the cognitively impaired elderly: implications for Alzheimer's dementia.

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Institute of Physiological Chemistry I, Heinrich-Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany.


The term "cardiogenic dementia" was introduced a few decades ago to indicate an alteration of consciousness and cognition due to heart disease. Although this term is now disused, the relationship between cardiovascular disease and cognitive impairment is currently of great interest, not only for its potential therapeutic implications. but also for the recently recognized important role that vascular factors appear to play in Alzheimer's disease. The aims of this review are therefore 1) to show data supporting the role of cardiac disease--namely congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction and atrial fibrillation--and other vascular risk factors--i.e., hypertension and diabetes--in the development or worsening of cognitive impairment; 2) to highlight recent observations on the relationship between presence and severity of congestive heart failure/ myocardial infarction/atrial fibrillation and Alzheimer's disease: and 3) to uncover the type of studies needed in this field in order to facilitate a more precise algorithm of dementia prevention as well as intervention in demented patients with cardiovascular disease.

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