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Neurocardiology refers to physiologic and pathophysiological interplays of the nervous and cardiovascular systems. Over the past years, there is increasing evidence about brain-heart interaction with major potential implications for treatment of cardiovascular diseases.
This colloquium will provide an update about basic mechanisms and cardiovascular therapeutic implications of neurocardiology, with emphasis on disorders involving primary or secondary abnormalities of catecholamine systems. A major focus will be the translation from mechanism to treatment in a variety of neuro-cardiovascular disorders.
A lot of issues have not been solved and this Academy Colloquium may constitute an optimal platform to discuss major questions. Issues such as heartrate variability play a dominant role in understanding the (patho)physiological interaction between the nervous system and the heart. Cerebrovascular accidents (CVA, stroke) are frequently caused by cardiac arrhythmias. In particular atrial fibrillation may result in cognitive disorders preceding the occurrence of transient ischemic attacks or CVA’s. Even in the absence of manifest stroke, atrial fibrillation is a risk factor for cognitive impairment and hippocampal atrophy. Therefore, cognition and measures of structural brain integrity should be considered in the evaluation of novel treatments for atrial fibrillation.
On the other hand, cerebrovascular dysfunction may lead to electrocardiographical disorders and cardiac rhythm disturbances. Coronary artery bypass surgery has major effects on neuron-cognitive functioning. However, the literature still remains undecided on the role of intra-operative emboli and cognitive decline after surgery. Researchers should focus on the composition, size and location instead of the absolute number of intra-operative emboli; growing awareness of neuro-cognitive decline in chronic vascular disease patients must challenge both clinicians and investigators. Exercise stimuli may prevent or slow down the cognitive decline in elderly patients with heart failure. In particular, the therapeutic implications in the direct interrelation between the nervous system, the brain and the heart will be a dominant focus of the colloquium.
On Wednesday 30 May 2012, a masterclass led by prof. Peter Sleight and prof. Günter Breithardt is organised for PhD Students.
Prof. dr. E.E. van der Wall en prof. dr. W.H. van Gilst (ICIN)