Lower Your Blood Pressure, Keep Your Mind Sharp?

iStock

Numerous studies have shown a link between hypertension (high blood pressure) and dementia risk. However, this association is not yet fully understood, and target blood pressure levels are somewhat controversial.

Results of a randomized clinical trial — the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial Memory and Cognition in Decreased Hypertension (SPRINT MIND) study — suggest that intensive treatment to lower systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) to less than 120 mm Hg, rather than the standard treatment goal of 140 mm Hg, cut dementia risk, but not significantly.

But a study conducted at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, showed that intensive blood pressure control (below 120 mm Hg) in older adults significantly lowered the risk of mild cognitive impairment, a precursor to dementia.

Why the differences? According to the researchers, SPRINT MIND results may have been affected by study flaws such as early termination of the trial. Because the study proved so successful in cutting cardiovascular disease risk, it was stopped early; therefore, the true benefits of intense blood pressure control on dementia risk could not be determined.

Sourced from: JAMA