Heart failure linked with grey matter loss

February 5th, 2012 - 2:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Feb 5 (IANS) Heart failure may also linked to loss of cerebral grey matter and impaired cognitive functions — which involves all aspects of perception, thinking, reasoning and remembering, a study reveals.

A cross-sectional study of 155 adults consisting of 64 controls (who had no heart disease), 35 with heart failure and 56 with ischaemic heart disease was used to show evidence of cognitive impairment and cerebral grey matter (GM) loss.

Osvaldo Almeida, professor of geriatric psychiatry at the University of Western Australia, said magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allowed the examination of the impact of both heart failure and ischaemic heart disease (reduced blood supply) on cerebral grey matter, the European Heart Journal reported.

MRI was used to assess differences in the volume of GM in different parts of the brain. “It showed that people with heart failure display more widespread and extensive brain changes than adults with ischaemic heart disease,” a university statement quoted Almeida as saying.

“It could be possible that patients with heart failure have trouble following complex management strategies, and therefore, treatment messages should be simple and clear,” said Prof. Almeida.

According to Almeida, the findings show that heart failure could also affect emotions and mental activity.

“Health professionals and patients need to be aware that problems caused by heart disease are not limited to the heart,” added Almeida.

The paper states that depression and cognitive impairment are the most frequent mental health problems among people with heart failure.

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