In older adults, especially men heightened risk of cognitive decline and dementia due to blood pressure variability (BPV) is reported by new findings published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. The ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) dataset was used for this study.
Mike Ernst, Professor, the University of Iowa, and Joanne Ryan, Associate Professor, Monash School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, co-led the new study. Associate Professor Ryan said that dementia would persist as a significant public health priority due to the growing population of older adults over 60 years by 2050. Therefore, it is vital to identify the at-risk population and subject them to preventive therapy.
Previous studies have shown hypertension as a strong predictor of dementia. So, the role of BPV in cognitive decline in older patients was aimed to be examined through this study.
Standardized blood pressure (BP) and cognitive assessments were performed on a large cohort of participants in the ASPREE dataset. Global cognition, verbal fluency, delayed episodic memory, and processing speed and attention were evaluated annually in a series of cognitive tests. During these annual visits, BP was also recorded. In addition, since depression may influence cognitive function, the participants were subjected to a validated depression scale before each cognitive test.
Based on the BPV, the researchers grouped the 16,758 study participants as low, medium, or high BPV.
Among women, the instance of high BPV was more common.
All three groups were noted with similar cognitive scores.
A major risk of cognitive decline and dementia was observed in high BPV patients over time.
The risk of cognitive decline and dementia was higher in men.
Researchers say that the biological mechanism of association between cognitive decline and BPV has not yet been established. Hence further study is necessary to ascertain the mechanism and identify the reasons for sex-specific differences in dementia and BPV.