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Hypertension may predict dementia in older adults with certain cognitive deficits
Date:2/8/2010

High blood pressure appears to predict the progression to dementia in older adults with impaired executive functions (ability to organize thoughts and make decisions) but not in those with memory dysfunction, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

"Although midlife hypertension has been confirmed as a risk factor for the development of dementia in late life, there have been conflicting findings about the role of late-life hypertension," the authors write as background information in the article. Individuals with mild cognitive (thinking, learning and memory) impairmentthe state between aging-related brain changes and fully developed dementiamay experience deficits in different domains. For instance, some have impairments only in memory function and are more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, whereas those whose impairment follows a stroke or other vascular (blood vesselrelated) event often experience executive dysfunction.

"Because hypertension is a major risk factor for vascular brain diseases and vascular cognitive impairment, we postulated that the cognitive domain of dysfunction may be the crucial factor that determines the association between hypertension and cognitive deterioration," the authors write. To test this hypothesis, Shahram Oveisgharan, M.D., of University of Western Ontario, Canada, and Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran, and Vladimir Hachinski, M.D., F.R.C.P.C., D.Sc.(Lond)., also of University of Western Ontario, studied 990 older adults (average age 83) with cognitive impairment but no dementia.

Over a five-year follow-up period, dementia developed at approximately the same rate among participants with and without hypertension (59.5 percent of individuals with high blood pressure vs. 64.2 percent of those without). A similar pattern was observed among those with memory dysfunction alone and with both memory and executi
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Contact: Kathy Wallis
kathy.wallis@schulich.uwo.ca
519-661-2111 x81136
JAMA and Archives Journals
Source:Eurekalert

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