A study, reported in the Journalof the American MedicalAssociation (December 15,2004), suggested that controllingblood pressure and cholesterolmay help stop or slow theprogression of mixed dementia.The disorder is a combinationof vascular dementia,caused in part by problemswith blood flow to the brain, andAlzheimer's disease.
The study was conductedby the University of MichiganHealth System, the VA AnnArbor Healthcare System, andthe Group Health Cooperativefor Health Studies in Seattle,Wash. The researchers examinedprevious research aboutmixed dementia. "Having riskfactors like high blood pressureand high cholesterol doesdamage to small blood vesselsin the brain and cancause death of brain cells overtime," said study author KennethLanga, MD, an investigatorat the VAAnn Arbor HealthcareSystem.
While more research is warranted,the researchers concludedthat attempts to controlhigh blood pressure and cholesterolmay be better thanmemory drugs in protectingbrain function in individualswith mixed dementia.