According to a largescale new study, having multiple conditions that affect the heart are linked to a greater risk of dementia than having a high genetic risk.

The study is among the largest ever to examine the link between several heart-related conditions and dementia, and one of the few to look at the complex issue of multiple health conditions.

Published in The Lancet Healthy Longevity, the study looked at data from more than 200,000 people, aged 60 or above. The team identified those who had been diagnosed with the cardiometabolic conditions diabetes, stroke, or a heart attack, or any combination of the three, and those who went on to develop dementia.

Within this study population, the researchers found that the more of these three conditions a person had, the higher their risk of dementia. People who had all three conditions were three times more likely to develop dementia than people who had a high genetic risk.

The participants were divided into three categories of genetic risk from high to low, based on a comprehensive risk score reflecting multiple genetic risk traits. A widespread damage across the brain for those with more than one cardiometabolic condition was found. Therefore, it was concluded that by contrast, high genetic risk was linked to deterioration but only in specific parts of the brain.

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