Menu

Higher Blood Pressure Has Links to Brain Lesions in Older Adults

In a longitudinal study, researchers find that elderly people with higher pressure were more likely to show signs of Alzheimer’s disease in brain tissue.

Jul 13, 2018
Sukanya Charuchandra

Older individuals with high blood pressure are more likely to have brain lesions than those without high blood pressure and may also have protein tangles, a sign of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study published in Neurology on July 11.

Coauthor Zoe Arvanitakis, a neurologist at Rush University Medical Center, says these “preliminary data” need further exploration, according to the Associated Press. “We can’t be alarmist,” she says.

According to a statement, the researchers were keen to learn if blood pressure had links to signs of brain aging. They tracked 1,288 people who were over the age of 65 until their deaths, an average of eight years. The scientists measured the blood pressure of the subjects once every year and examined their brains postmortem. 

Of the total number of subjects, two-thirds of the subjects had high blood pressure, while about half had one or more brain infarcts, necrotic regions caused by a loss of blood flow. With higher blood pressure, the risk of brain lesions went up: people with an upper blood pressure of 147 (normal being 120) had a 46 percent higher chance of having one or more lesions. Additionally, those with high pressure were more likely to have protein tangles in their brains. 

While the paper has “good information,” it also raises many questions, Ajay Misra, a neurologist at New York University Winthrop Hospital who was not involved in this research, tells Health Day. For instance, is higher blood pressure better in some situations? The researchers found that elderly subjects with lower blood pressure had a greater risk of stroke. Misra suggests the higher pressure may be required to keep blood vessels of older adults clear. He adds that a one-size-fits-all blood-pressure guideline may not be appropriate.

“The study further supports treatment of blood pressure in late life to prevent cerebrovascular disease,” Joe Verghese, a professor of neurology and medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine who was not involved in his study, tells CNN. “The story regarding Alzheimer risk is less clear,” he adds. However, previous research has shown similar links between blood pressure and dementia, according to CNN. 

November 2018

Intelligent Science

Wrapping our heads around human smarts

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Slice® Safety Cutters for Lab Work

Slice® Safety Cutters for Lab Work

Slice cutting tools—which feature our patent-pending safety blades—meet many lab-specific requirements. Our scalpels and craft knives are well suited for delicate work, and our utility knives are good for general use.

The Lab of the Future: Alinity Poised to Reinvent Clinical Diagnostic Testing and Help Improve Healthcare

The Lab of the Future: Alinity Poised to Reinvent Clinical Diagnostic Testing and Help Improve Healthcare

Every minute counts when waiting for accurate diagnostic test results to guide critical care decisions, making today's clinical lab more important than ever. In fact, nearly 70 percent of critical care decisions are driven by a diagnostic test.

LGC announces new, integrated, global portfolio brand, Biosearch Technologies, representing genomic tools for mission critical customer applications

LGC announces new, integrated, global portfolio brand, Biosearch Technologies, representing genomic tools for mission critical customer applications

LGC’s Genomics division announced it is transforming its branding under LGC, Biosearch Technologies, a unified portfolio brand integrating optimised genomic analysis technologies and tools to accelerate scientific outcomes.