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High, Increasing BP in Midlife Tied to Brain Changes in Late Life

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 21, 2019 -- There appears to be a correlation for high and increasing blood pressure (BP) from early adulthood and into midlife with white matter hyperintensity volume (WMHV) and smaller brain volumes at age 69 to 71 years, according to a study published online Aug. 21 in The Lancet Neurology.

Christopher A. Lane, Ph.D., from University College London, and colleagues enrolled participants aged 69 to 71 years who received magnetic resonance imaging and positron-emission tomography imaging and cognitive assessments. BP measurements had been assessed earlier, at ages 36, 43, 53, 60 to 64, and 69 years. A total of 465 participants were included in imaging analyses.

The researchers observed positive associations for higher systolic BP (SBP) and diastolic BP (DBP) at age 53 years and greater increases in SBP and DBP between ages 43 and 53 years with WMHV at age 69 to 71 years. Higher DBP at 43 years of age and greater increases in DBP between 36 and 43 years of age correlated with smaller whole-brain volume at 69 to 71 years. Smaller hippocampal volumes at 69 to 71 years of age were seen in association with greater increases in SBP between ages 36 and 43 years.

"Associations between blood pressure and increased risk for dementia are likely to be mediated through effects on cerebral small vessel disease and brain volumes and not amyloid accumulation," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to biopharmaceutical companies, including Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, which partially funded the study.

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Posted: August 2019

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