WEDNESDAY, Feb. 1 — Heart failure is associated with a loss of gray matter in the brain and a decline in mental processes, according to a new study.
They conducted memory and other mental performance tests on 35 heart failure patients, 56 patients with ischemic heart disease (which sometimes but not always accompanies heart failure), and 64 healthy people. MRI exams were used to assess gray matter volume in different parts of the brain.
In heart failure, the heart muscle is unable to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body, while ischemic heart disease affects the supply of blood to the heart.
Heart failure patients had worse immediate and long-term memory and reaction speeds than healthy people. The brain scans showed that heart failure was associated with losses of gray matter in areas believed to be important for memory, reasoning and planning.