Good heart health at age 50 linked to lower dementia risk later in life: Findings support policies to improve midlife cardiovascular health to promote later brain health Good cardiovascular health at age 50 is associated with a lower risk of dementia later in life, finds a study of British adults published by The BMJ today. The researchers say their findings support public health policies to improve cardiovascular health in middle age to promote later brain health. Dementia is a progressive disease that can start to develop 15-20 years before any symptoms appear, so identifying factors that might prevent its onset is important. The American Heart Association’s “Life Simple 7” cardiovascular health score, initially designed for cardiovascular disease, has been put forward as a potential tool for preventing dementia. Designed for “primordial” prevention, where the aim is to prevent the development of risk factors themselves in order to affect risk of disease, it is the sum of four behavioural (smoking, diet, physical activity, body mass index) and three biological (fasting glucose, blood cholesterol, blood pressure) metrics, categorised into poor (scores 0-6), intermediate (7-11), and optimal (12-14) cardiovascular health. But the evidence remains inconsistent.