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BRAIN-AF - Treating the heart, Helping the brain

Did you know there is a connection between the heart and brain health?

The BRAIN-AF study is the first study aimed at demonstrating the efficacy and safety of anticoagulant therapy (blood-thinning medication) in reducing strokes and cognitive deficits in young patients (62 years old and younger) with atrial fibrillation and at low risk of stroke.

Atrial fibrillation is a heart rhythm disorder that affects approximately 700,000 people in Canada, 25% of whom are under the age of 65. It increases the risk of stroke and cognitive disorders (loss of memory, attention, organization, etc.).

To reduce these risks, Canadian guidelines recommend anticoagulant therapy for people with atrial fibrillation over the age 65 or who are at moderate to high risk of stroke. However, again according to Canadian guidelines, no treatment is recommended for patients with atrial fibrillation who are at low risk of stroke.

The study therefore aims to see how to treat the heart and at the same time help the brain in younger patients with atrial fibrillation.

To participate in this study, you must:

  • Have a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation;
  • Be between 30 and 62 years old;
  • Absence of arterial hypertension; diabetes, stroke or heart failure;

Would you like to participate in the study? Would you like to have more information?

Contact us: brainaf@icm-mhi.org 
Website: www.brain-af.ca

Atrial fibrillation and cognitive decline

Cardiovascular and cognitive diseases are two problems that are receiving particular interest and attention here and around the world. Several studies suggest a link between silent cerebral ischemia, a decline in cognitive functions and atrial fibrillation.

«According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 47.5 million people with dementia worldwide. In Canada, approximately 750,000 people currently suffer from dementia and this figure is expected to double by 2031. It would therefore be a great victory if we manage to prevent some of the cases of dementia, in particular those related to the presence of atrial fibrillation, thanks to the BRAIN-AF study» states Dr. Lena Rivard, cardiologist and principal investigator of the study in question.

With the BRAIN-AF study, we hypothesize that by starting low-dose anticoagulant therapy in patients with atrial fibrillation at low risk of stroke, we will reduce the risk of cognitive decline, stroke or transient ischemic attacks. The interest of this research lies in particular in the fact that it will contribute to a better understanding of the effects of cardiovascular diseases on the decline of cognitive functions. In an nutshell, the study aims to see how to treat the heart and at the same time help the brain.

Principal Investigator and Executive Committee

Lena Rivard, MD, MSc

Denis Roy, MD, Paul Khairy, MD, PhD, Jason Andrade, MD, Simon Kouz, MD, Louis Bherer, PhD, and Jean-Claude Tardif, MD

Publications and information

For publications, press releases and news about this research, visit the News and Resources section on our official website.