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Hypertension linked to dementia in older women
Date:1/12/2010

January 12, 2010 (BRONX, NY) Older women with hypertension are at increased risk for developing brain lesions that cause dementia later in life, according to data from the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS). The findings were published in the December 2009 online issue of the Journal of Clinical Hypertension.

The research was conducted as part of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), the largest multi-site longitudinal study looking at health risks among postmenopausal women. WHIMS, which involves a subgroup of the women enrolled in WHI, looks at the influence of hormone therapy on thinking and memory. All the women in WHIMS were 65 or older.

Upon enrolling in the trial and annually during their participation in it, the women had their blood pressure measured and underwent tests to measure their cognitive ability. Some of the WHIMS participants 1,403 of them also underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 14 U.S. academic centers in 2005 and 2006. All of these women were free of dementia when they enrolled. Examination of the data on these 1,403 women was led by Lewis H. Kuller, M.D., Dr.P.H., of the University of Pittsburgh, in conjunction with researchers at other WHI centers, including Dr. Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology and population health and the Dorothy and William Manealoff Foundation & Molly Rosen Chair in Social Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Wassertheil-Smoller is also the principal investigator of Einstein's WHI and WHIMS studies.

The MRI studies revealed that women who, on entry to the WHIMS trial, had elevated blood pressure (defined as systolic blood pressure ≥140 mmHg, or diastolic blood pressure ≥ 90 mmHg, or being on antihypertensive drug therapy), had significantly higher amounts of white matter lesions (WMLs) when they underwent MRIs eight years later. Normal blood pressure is defined as a systolic blood pressure of 120 or l
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Contact: Deirdre Branley
sciencenews@einstein.yu.edu
718-430-3101
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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