Stopping Dementia with Blood Pressure Meds?
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- People taking the blood pressure drugs called beta blockers may be less likely to have changes in the brain that can be signs of Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia.
774 elderly Japanese-American men participated in a Honolulu-Asia Aging Study. After the men died, researchers performed autopsies and discovered that out of the 774 men, 610 had high blood pressure or were being treated with medication for high blood pressure. Among those who had been treated (about 350), 15 percent received only a beta blocker medication, 18 percent received a beta blocker plus one or more other medications, and the rest of the participants received other blood pressure drugs.
The study found that all types of blood pressure treatments were clearly better than no treatment. However, men who had received beta blockers as their only blood pressure medication had fewer abnormalities in their brains compared to those who had not been treated for their hypertension, or who had received other blood pressure medications.
Study participants who had taken beta blockers alone or in combination with another blood pressure medication had significantly less shrinkage in their brains.
"With the number of people with Alzheimer's disease expected to grow significantly as our population ages, it is increasingly important to identify factors that could delay or prevent the disease," said study author Lon White, MD, of the Pacific Health Research and Education Institute in Honolulu. "These results are exciting, especially since beta blockers are a common treatment for high blood pressure."
SOURCE: American Academy of Neurology's 65th Annual Meeting, January, 2013