People with low scores on a test of thinking skills required to reason, solve problems and plan may be at higher risk of heart attacks or strokes, new research has found. “These results show that heart and brain function are more closely related than appearances would suggest,” said study author Behnam Sabayan from Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden, the Netherlands.   “While these results might not have immediate clinical translation, they emphasize that assessment of cognitive function should be part of the evaluation of future cardiovascular risk,” Sabayan noted.  The study involved 3,926 people with an average age of 75 and without a history of heart attacks or strokes.   The people were also free of dementia. Four tests were used to evaluate the participants’ high-level thinking skills at the beginning of the study.  The participants were then placed in groups of “low,” “medium” and “high” based on the results.

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