Lowering BP Helps Mental Problems
According to a recent study, lowering blood pressure(BP) can slow or even stop the progression ofbrain abnormalities that can increase the risk ofdementia and stroke. The study, reported in Circulation:Journal of the American Heart Association,was the first to use magnetic resonance imaging(MRI) to assess the impact of reducing BP on thedevelopment of "white matter hyperintensities" (WMHs)—abnormalities of white matter deep in thebrain that are visible as bright areas on an MRI.
The study included 192 patients, average age 60years, who had had a stroke or mini-stroke withinthe previous 5 years and had no problems taking anangiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor. Eachpatient received a brain MRI at the start of the studyand again after about 36 months. When the secondMRIs were taken, the group that received the BPmedication showed a 43% reduction in risk of newWMHs, compared with the placebo group.