Cardiac Complications Damages the Brain, Study Says

Study reveals that a weak heart also damages the brain. If a heart doesn’t function properly, the brain also got affected. If the heart supplies blood into the body, the brain doesn’t receive an adequate amount of oxygen. It was unclear how weak heart damages brain structure.

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences with the help of their colleagues from the Leipzig Heart Clinic have recently figured out that a weak heart also damages the grey matter in the brain.

The findings of the study are published in the journal, Circulation Research.

Around 1.8 billion Germans suffer from cardiac insufficiency. It doesn’t only affect the patient’s performances such as exhaustion, stress and breathing problem. It also affects the brain.

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Grey matter is composed of neuronal cell bodies. The long ends of neurons from the white matter. The majority of the grey matter composes the cerebral cortex which is highly convoluted, three to five millimeter layer which sheathes the brain. The grey matter includes areas of the brain which are involved in the muscle control and sensory perception. The higher mental functions are processed here, ranging from language to creativity.

Researchers have recently figured out that the density of the brain’s grey matter decreases due to weal heart. In the case of heart failure, the damage to the brain is particularly extensive.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 6.5 million adults in the United States have heart failures. Heart failure following heart damage causes decreased blood flow because of reduced pumping efficiency of the heart muscles. It leads to reduced oxygen supply to other body parts including the brain. Heart failure leads to neurological symptoms such as nausea, fatigue and dizziness. It is crucial to treat cardiac insufficiency which means addressing the root causes such as diabetes, smoking or obesity.

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The leader of the research group Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, Matthias Schroeter said the weaker the human heart, the lower the density of the brain’s grey matter. He said the hippocampus, the whole frontal and parietal medial cortex, as well as the precuneus inside the cortex, get affected. These parts of the brain are involved in memory and attention. He added that the decrease in the amount of grey matter in these parts elevates the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Schroeter said that in case of cardiac arrest, it is important to know that it can also damage the brain structure. Previous studies had shared what counteracts the breakdown, for instance, social activities and sports.

The researchers investigated the relationship between heart functioning and the grey matter. They examined 80 patients at the Leipzig Heart Clinic with Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans. They observed the amount of blood which is pumped by each heartbeat and the certain hormone concentration in the blood vessels, which is the marker for heart insufficiency. Researchers observed a significant correlation between the levels of cardiac insufficiency and the decline in grey matter.


Amna Rana

Amna Rana, a writing enthusiast and a microbiologist. Her areas of interest are medical and health care. She writes about diseases, treatments, alternative therapies, lifestyles and the latest news. You can find her on Linkedin Amna Rana.

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