Hypertension and Dementia

Published Online: Friday, November 1, 2002

A number of recent studies have uncovered some intriguing links between high blood pressure and mental function later in life.

?A growing body of evidence suggests that a history of hypertension may be a risk factor for Alzheimer?s disease,? said Alzheimer?s Association Vice President of Medical and Scientific Affairs William Thies, PhD. ?This is an evolving story, but vascular disease and dementia appear to be related.? Dr. Thies was speaking at the 8th International Conference on Alz-heimer?s Disease and Related Disorders held in Stockholm in July where the results of at least 4 hypertension-related studies were presented.

A study by Michael D. Murray, a scientist and pharmacist at the Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis, continues the theme. Appearing in the October issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, the 5-year study finds that older blacks who keep their high blood pressure in check by taking medication may be able to avoid losing some of their mental edge as they age. The study found that older blacks who took medication to control their blood pressure reduced their risk of cognitive impairment by 38%.



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