ALABAMA : While dementia is now fast emerging to be more common among old people in the United States, medical experts from the University of Alabama in Birmingham have associated psychological decline with unsteady heartbeat, where people who are suffering from the atrial fibrillation indicated signs of mental decline an average of 2 years earlier compared to people who did not suffer the condition.
But, this is not to say that people who are suffering with atrial fibrillation will experience memory problems at all, the study showed.
A heart condition, atrial fibrillation is caused by misfiring electrical-signals in the body.
The study used latest information from the Cardiovascular Health Research conducted in the late 90s, which gauged heart conditions and psychological testing in a period of 7 years.
Medical experts did not include patients who had already suffered a stroke or experienced a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation before the start of the research, leaving them with a batch of around 5,000 patients who are more than 65 years of age.
The results showed that patients who developed the condition in the course of the research performed worse on psychological tests, with the experts suspecting that an unsteady heartbeat causes chronic problems in blood flow in the brain, cutting the volume of nutrients and oxygen available.
The study discovered that cognitive testing scores dropped significantly among patients with atrial fibrillation, to the extent that such drop could show a substantial difference in their day to day activities.