advertisement
08 January 2013

BP drugs may reduce dementia risk

People taking the blood pressure drugs called beta blockers may be less likely to have changes in the brain that can be signs of Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia.

0

People taking the blood pressure drugs called beta blockers may be less likely to have changes in the brain that can be signs of Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 65th Annual Meeting in San Diego, March 16 to 23, 2013.

The study involved 774 elderly Japanese-American men who took part in the Honolulu-Asia Ageing Study. Autopsies were performed on the men after their death. Of the 774 men, 610 had high blood pressure or were being treated with medication for high blood pressure.

 Among those who had been treated (about 350), 15% received only a beta blocker medication, 18% received a beta blocker plus one or more other medications, and the rest of the participants received other blood pressure drugs.

How the study was done

The study found that all types of blood pressure treatments were clearly better than no treatment. However, men who had received beta blockers as their only blood pressure medication had fewer abnormalities in their brains compared to those who had not been treated for their hypertension, or who had received other blood pressure medications.

The brains of participants who had received beta blockers plus other medications showed an intermediate reduction in numbers of brain abnormalities.

These included two distinct types of brain lesion: those indicating Alzheimer's disease, and lesions called microinfarcts, usually attributed to tiny, multiple, unrecognised strokes. Study participants who had taken beta blockers alone or in combination with another blood pressure medication had significantly less shrinkage in their brains.

Alzheimer's expected to grow significantly

"With the number of people with Alzheimer's disease expected to grow significantly as our population ages, it is increasingly important to identify factors that could delay or prevent the disease," said study author Lon White, MD, of the Pacific Health Research and Education Institute in Honolulu. "These results are exciting, especially since beta blockers are a common treatment for high blood pressure." Earlier research has shown that high blood pressure in midlife is a strong risk factor for dementia.

(EurekAlert, January 2013)

Read more: 

Hypertension in young adults often undiagnosed

Mindful meditation tied to healthy brain changes

Meditation changes emotion in brain

 
advertisement

Get a quote

advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Live healthier

Cure your cough »

Diagnosing a chronic cough The most abused over-the-counter drug in SA Five of the weirdest things to cause a cough

Why are you coughing?

A cough can be a symptom of a wide variety of different health conditions, ranging from a foreign body to infective diseases and even cancer.

Watch out! »

How to make a prosthetic eye Woman loses eyesight after mud run Eye care during pregnancy

9 health warnings you can pick up from your eyes

The eyes are not only for seeing - they can reveal secrets to underlying health issues. Take a careful look and see if you have any of these symptoms, and if you do, head off to the doctor straight away.