B3546 - UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship The heart-brain connection in ALSPAC30 cardioaggression and neuroselection - 02/06/2020

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Chloe Park | UCL (UK)
Professor Alun Hughes, Professor Nish Chaturvedi
Title of project: 
UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship: The heart-brain connection in ALSPAC@30: cardioaggression and neuroselection?
Proposal summary: 

As more people live to old age, dementia is on the rise, but there is currently no effective treatment. This comes at enormous personal, societal and economic cost. I and others have previously shown that a decrease in heart function is associated with early cognitive impairment, however the underlying cause is not clear. It is possible that poor heart function may lead to poor blood flow in the brain, which may be the link. Another possible link between the heart and the brain runs in the opposite direction. Instead of heart problems leading to brain problems, it could be that lower cognitive function as a child leads to heart problems later in life. I will investigate the direction of the heart-brain association in 30yr olds from the ALSPAC cohort, that have had data collected since birth, including genetic, cognitive and heart measures. I will collect new detailed data on the heart and the brain during rest and during exercise. The results of this study are important as dementia is a public health priority. The clinical implications of reduced cognition among people with impaired heart function are considerable. By understanding the underlying mechanisms, we can reduce the burden of both of these conditions.

Impact of research: 
Dementia is the greatest global health and social challenge in current times, there is no cure and its impact is devastating, but it does not have to be an inevitable consequence of aging. If we can understand the mechanisms then we can intervene and prevent/delay its effects. I propose that there is a bidirectional association between cognition and cardiovascular disease and by applying sophisticated methodologies and techniques to assess cardiac and brain function and haemodynamics, and by applying a life-course approach, this investigation will significantly advance our understanding of the causal mechanisms underlying both cardiac and cognitive decline. No previous study has assessed the heart-brain connection during dynamic testing in this age group or with a bi-directional, RbG approach before. The results could highlight the potential for early life intervention to preserve both cognitive function and cardiovascular health.
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 26 May, 2020
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 27 May, 2020
Physiology, Cognitive dysfunction and Cardiac dysfunction, Medical imaging, Cardiovascular