Scientists found that patients with a genetic predisposition to high blood pressure are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease later in their lives. The study was conducted by researchers from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and University of Cambridge in England.
The findings were published this week in the journal PLOS Medicine.
Study authors explained that the relationship between high blood pressure and lower risk of developing the most common form of dementia may have something to do with the medication blood pressure patients use.
According to a recent report, more than 5 million Americans are affected by Alzheimer’s disease. But as population ages, that figure may jump 40 percent over the course of the next decade, experts estimate.
The researchers led by Robert Scott of the University of Cambridge wanted to learn whether there were any other risk factors for the neurodegenerative disease.
For that purpose, they studied the genomes of more than 17,000 people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and compared them with the genomes of more than 37,000 people who didn’t have the condition. The DNA of the two study groups was confronted by using a scientific method named Mendelian randomization and a state-of-the-art computer.
Scientists learned that people genetically hardwired to develop high blood pressure are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those that are not.
John Kauwe of the Brigham Young University believes that the observed protective effect may be granted by anti-hypertensive medication.
“These drugs are already FDA approved. We need to take a serious look at them for Alzheimer’s prevention,”
Mr. Kauwe added.
As of now, Alzheimer’s has no cure so it pushes patients on a never-ending spiral of memory loss, cognitive decline and impaired speech. But the new study looks promising to many researchers at least when it comes to prevention.
In a recent review of the study, Dr. Simon Ridley at the Alzheimer’s Research UK institute wrote that high blood pressure drugs may shield high-risk groups from developing Alzheimer’s. Dr. Ridley believes that the research should be further expanded with new studies.
Still, past studies had shown that there is an undeniable link between blood pressure medications and lower Alzheimer’s risk. Last year, Johns Hopkins researchers found that blood pressure medication may halve the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Additionally a 2013 study revealed that senior patients with high blood pressure had more biomarkers of dementia in their spinal fluid. Nevertheless, none of the past studies showed that only people with a genetic predisposition to high blood pressure had lower risk of Alzheimer’s.
Image Source: Doctor Oz
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