High blood pressure linked to reduced Alzheimer's risk

29 June 2015

New research has suggested that people who have a genetic predisposition to high blood pressure have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

However, the study authors say it could have more to do with anti-hypertension medication than high blood pressure itself.

Published in the journal PLOS Medicine, the research analysed genetic data from 17,008 individuals with Alzheimer's and 37,154 people without the disease. 

Led by University of Cambridge senior investigator scientist Robert Scott, the study used "Mendelian randomisation" to find if the risk factors (BMI, insulin resistance, blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes) for Alzheimer's had a causal impact. 

The team were looking for links between the disease and a number of health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and high cholesterol. However, they only found a significant association between higher blood pressure and reduced Alzheimer's risk.
Co-author Paul Crane, a University of Washington associate professor of internal medicine, said the results may be surprising.

"It may be that high blood pressure is protective, or it may be that something that people with high blood pressure are exposed to more often, such as antihypertensive medication, is protecting them from Alzheimer's disease."

Posted by Edward Bartel

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