Association between Atrial Fibrillation & Smaller Brains?

According to a study out of the Boston University Medical Center and published in the journal Heart Rhythm, people who experience the heart arrhythmia atrial fibrillation may also suffer from a smaller brain, specifically reduced frontal lobe volume. Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is a serious cardiovascular condition that is associated with a significant degree of morbidity and mortality, as it is associated with an increased risk of stroke, heart failure and death. It is also known to be associated with cognitive decline and increased risk of dementia.

Using MRI scanning, the researchers compared the volumes of various areas of the brain including the total cerebral, frontal lobe, temporal lobe, hippocampal volume as well as white matter hyper-intensity volume in patients without prior stroke or dementia.

The results of the study were that even when accounting for age, gender, vascular risk factors as well as APOE4 (a gene independently linked to smaller brain volumes) AF was still associated with smaller frontal lobe volumes.

“We believe that good heart health also contributes to good brain health and given that the incidence of AF is expected to more than double in the next three decades, we are interested in understanding the association between AF and brain anatomy,” said one researcher.

The next step the researchers says is to understand whether these brain structure findings translate into impact on cognitive skills, such as problem solving, memory and language.


raziRazi Berry, Founder and Publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review (ndnr.com) and NaturalPath (thenatpath.com), has spent the last decade as a natural medicine advocate and marketing whiz. She has galvanized and supported the naturopathic community, bringing a higher quality of healthcare to millions of North Americans through her publications. A self-proclaimed health-food junkie and mother of two; she loves all things nature, is obsessed with organic gardening, growing fruit trees (not easy in Phoenix), laughing until she snorts, and homeschooling. She is a little bit crunchy and yes, that is her real name.

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