Newswise — Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, who as Director of Mount Sinai Heart and Physician-in-Chief of The Mount Sinai Hospital is one of the world’s leading cardiologists, is undertaking a three year study, known as TANSNIP-H2H, to investigate the relationship between levels of dementia and cardiovascular risk factors.

“We hypothesize that patients with dementia will show higher levels of atherosclerosis affecting the microvasculature of the brain and cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure, obesity, and other heart complications,” said Dr. Fuster. “To test this theory, we will recruit 200 eligible participants, ages 60-85, through the Center for Cognitive Health (CCH) and the Cardiac Imaging Program at The Mount Sinai Hospital and, using state-of-the art imaging tests, evaluate the degree of abnormal cerebral microvasculature, large vessel atherosclerosis and cardiovascular risk factors.”

A growing body of literature suggests that there is a greater risk of developing dementia when a person has atherosclerosis and cardiovascular risk factors, such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. Atherosclerosis, affecting the large vessels, refers to the buildup of fats, cholesterol and other substances (known as plaques) in and on the artery walls, which can restrict blood flow and can trigger a blood clot. Dementia is a progressive disorder that attacks the brain’s nerve cells resulting in loss of memory, thinking, and language skills, as well as changes in behavior.

An estimated 24 million people have dementia worldwide, and this figure is expected to rise. Dementia has an enormous financial and emotional cost and affects approximately five million people in the United States—about one-third to one-half of those over 85 years old.

This is the second study in a series of four known as the TANSNIP (Trans-Atlantic Network to Study Stepwise Noninvasive imaging as a Tool for Cardiovascular Prognosis and Prevention) Program. The four TANSNIP studies are designed to understand atherosclerosis in different populations, at different levels of risk, and in different settings. The other TANSNIP studies include the TANSNIP-PESA workplace lifestyle intervention, which takes place in Spain with bank employees; TANSNIP-BioImage, which explores atherosclerosis progression in middle-aged people in Chicago and Florida; and TANSNIP-Genomics, which examines genomics, proteomics and metabolomics across the populations of the other three TANSNIP studies.

The TANSNIP Program is funded by a $5 million grant from AstraZeneca.

About the Mount Sinai Health SystemThe Mount Sinai Health System is an integrated health system committed to providing distinguished care, conducting transformative research, and advancing biomedical education. Structured around seven hospital campuses and a single medical school, the Health System has an extensive ambulatory network and a range of inpatient and outpatient services—from community-based facilities to tertiary and quaternary care. The System includes approximately 6,100 primary and specialty care physicians; 12 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 140 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. Physicians are affiliated with the renowned Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is ranked among the highest in the nation in National Institutes of Health funding per investigator. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked as one of the nation’s top 10 hospitals in Geriatrics, Cardiology/Heart Surgery, and Gastroenterology, and is in the top 25 in five other specialties in the 2015-2016 “Best Hospitals” issue of U.S. News & World Report. Mount Sinai’s Kravis Children’s Hospital also is ranked in seven out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked 11th nationally for Ophthalmology, while Mount Sinai Beth Israel is ranked regionally.

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