Blood pressure factors into mental ability or cognitive function,particularly high and unusually low blood pressures. The connection,however, is influenced by age, educational level, andblood pressure medications. The researchers based the resultsof the study on 847 patients who completed cognitive functiontests up to 7 times over 11 years.
The findings indicated that high systolic blood pressures wereconnected with cognitive decline in older participants. On theother hand, high or low diastolic pressures correlated with cognitiveimpairments in participants who were older, not well educated,or not taking blood pressure medications. The researchersconcluded that monitoring and treating various pressure readingsmay be key to keeping cognitive function. (The findings werereported in Hypertension, March 2005.)