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ANCHOR LEAD: When the heart’s arteries become blocking thinking also suffers, Elizabeth Tracey reports.

Coronary artery bypass surgery using a traditional heart-lung bypass machine doesn’t compromise thinking later in life, a Johns Hopkins study has shown.  But people who need bypass surgery already have some cognitive decline, says Olna Selnes, one of the study’s investigators.

SELNES:  We decided to include not just patients with coronary artery disease but also patients without risk factors for coronary artery disease.  What we learned from that comparison is that even before patients have treatment for heart disease their cognitive functioning is not quite as good as normals without any risk factors for coronary artery disease.     :30

Selnes says this finding points the way toward better screening and earlier treatment.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

-- JHMI --

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