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Incident atrial fibrillation appears to heighten dementia risk
People with a recent diagnosis of atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common irregular heart rhythm, have a modestly higher risk of developing dementia than people without the condition, according to new research. The research involved nearly 197,000 patient records from Kaiser Permanente health systems in California. Half of the patients had been recently diagnosed with atrial fibrillation; their counterparts in the control group were selected for similar age and health profiles but did not have AF. Both patient groups’ medical records were reviewed for three years, on average, to identify subsequent diagnoses of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Overall, people with newly diagnosed atrial fibrillation had a 13% higher risk of developing dementia.