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Irregular heartbeat could be 'catalyst' for dementia

Irregular heartbeat could be 'catalyst' for dementia
18th May 2009

People who have an irregular heartbeat may have an increased chance of getting dementia or Alzheimer's disease, according to new research.

The Intermountain Medical Centre in Utah revealed that in a study of 37,025 people, it was clearly shown that atrial fibrillation was linked to a bigger risk of getting a neurodegenerative condition in later life.

Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm problem in the world and is caused by chaotic heartbeats, leading to the chance of clotting and having a stroke.

Dr Susanne Sorensen, head of research at the Alzheimer's Society, said of the results: "Knowing what puts people at risk of the two most commons forms of dementia could help us identify these individuals and investigate whether it is possible to develop targeted interventions that may reduce the risk."

She added that research into dementia still remains "desperately underfunded" but can be defeated with the right investment.

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