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Baltimore, MD

Doctors & patients are saying about 'Beat Your A-Fib'...

"If I had [your book] 10 years ago, it would have saved me 8 years of hell.”

Roy Salmon, Patient, A-Fib Free,
Adelaide, Australia

"This book is incredibly complete and easy-to-understand for anybody. I certainly recommend it for patients who want to know more about atrial fibrillation than what they will learn from doctors...."

Pierre Jaïs, M.D. Professor of Cardiology, Haut-Lévêque Hospital, Bordeaux, France

"Dear Steve, I saw a patient this morning with your book [in hand] and highlights throughout. She loves it and finds it very useful to help her in dealing with atrial fibrillation."

Dr. Wilber Su,
Cavanaugh Heart Center, 
Phoenix, AZ

"...masterful. You managed to combine an encyclopedic compilation of information with the simplicity of presentation that enhances the delivery of the information to the reader. This is not an easy thing to do, but you have been very, very successful at it."

Ira David Levin, heart patient, 
Rome, Italy

"Within the pages of Beat Your A-Fib, Dr. Steve Ryan, PhD, provides a comprehensive guide for persons seeking to find a cure for their Atrial Fibrillation."

Walter Kerwin, MD, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA

The Risk of Dementia Caused by A-Fib―20 year Study Results

Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib) has been suggested as a risk factor for dementia since A-Fib can lead to a decrease of blood supply to the brain independent of stroke.

Other long-term studies evaluating the link between A-Fib and dementia have shown inconsistent results.

Study Patients and Method

In a 20-year observational study of participants in the long-term Rotterdam Study, researchers tracked 6,514 dementia-free people. Researchers were monitoring participants for dementia and Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib). 

“The Rotterdam Study” is a long-term study started in 1990 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Cardiovascular disease is just one of several targeted diseases. Since 2008 it has 14,926 participants.

At the start of the study (baseline), 318 participants (4.9%) already had A-Fib.


During the course of the 20-year study, among 6,196 people without established A-Fib:

• 723 participants (11.7%) developed A-Fib, and
• 932 participants (15.0%) developed incident dementia.
• Development of A-Fib was associated with an increased risk of dementia in younger people (<67 years old).
• Dementia risk was strongly associated with younger people (<67 years old) who developed A-Fib but not strongly associated in the elder participants who developed A-Fib.

The authors concluded that the association between A-Fib and dementia was strongest for younger participants (<67 years old) with the longest duration of A-Fib.

They recommended “future studies should investigate whether optimal [ideal] treatment of A-Fib can prevent or postpone dementia.”

What Patients Need To Know

The Bottom Line: The younger you are when you develop A-Fib and/or the longer you have A-Fib, the greater your risk of developing dementia.

The younger you are when you develop A-Fib and/or the longer you have A-Fib, the greater your risk of developing dementia.
The Rotterdam researchers didn’t state explicitly that A-Fib “causes” dementia. Instead they concluded that A-Fib was “strongly associated” with dementia.

Because there may be other factors at play, that’s as far as researchers can go (though they did use regression models to adjust for age, sex, and cardiovascular risk factors).

A-Fib Leads to or Causes Dementia: As patients we have to conclude that, all things being equal, A-Fib leads to and/or causes Dementia.

This makes intuitive sense. In A-Fib we lose 15%-30% of our heart’s ability to pump blood to our brain and to the rest of our body. Hence, the longer we stay in A-Fib, the greater our risk of developing dementia (and a host of other problems).

Contrary to today’s media, your goal should NOT be to just ‘manage your A-Fib’.
Don’t be Misled by Pharmaceutical Ads: We hear it everyday on TV. Ads about ‘living with A-Fib’. Contrary to today’s media, your goal shouldn’t be to just ‘manage your A-Fib’. It’s a Pollyanna fantasy to just ‘Take a pill (anticoagulant) and live happily ever after’. That’s propagated by drug manufacturers who want you to stay a patient and thus a customer for life.

Don’t Settle. Seek your A-Fib cure: To decrease your increased risk of dementia, your goal should be to get your A-Fib fixed and get your heart beating normally again. We can’t say it enough:

Do not settle for a lifetime on meds. Seek your A-Fib cure.

References for this article
De Bruijn, RFAG et al. Association Between Atrial Fibrillation and Dementia in the General Population. JAMA Neurol. 2015 Nov 1;72(11):1288-94. URL: doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2015.2161.

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