WEDNESDAY, Dec. 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) — An elevated resting heart rate (RHR) is associated with incident dementia in older adults, according to a study published online Dec. 3 in Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

Yume Imahori, Ph.D., from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and colleagues investigated the relationship between RHR and cognitive decline among 2,147 older participants (60 years and older) who were free of dementia at baseline and regularly followed from 2001-2004 to 2013-2016.

The researchers found that RHR ≥80 beats per minute was associated with an increased risk for dementia (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.55) versus 60 to 69 beats per minute. When excluding participants with prevalent and incident cardiovascular disease (CVD), the association remained significant. A similar association was seen for RHR ≥80 beats per minute and Mini-Mental State Examination score.

“Higher RHR is associated with increased risk for dementia and faster cognitive decline independent of CVDs in a general population of elderly people,” the authors write. “Further research is needed to confirm our results and to explore the mechanisms at play in this association. Eventually, such evidence would lead to novel preventive strategies in the field of cognitive aging.”

One author disclosed financial ties to the insurance industry.

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