Higher Blood Pressure Variability Predicts Faster Cognitive Decline

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Bo (Bonnie) Qin, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Scholar Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey New Brunswick, NJ 08903

Dr. Bo Qin

Bo (Bonnie) Qin, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Scholar
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
New Brunswick, NJ 08903

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Qin: Preventing or delaying the age-related cognitive decline that typically precedes the onset of dementia is particularly important considering that no effective strategies for dementia treatment have been identified. Vascular conditions such as hypertension are thought to be risk factors for cognitive decline, but important gaps in the literature on this topic remain.

Randomized clinical trials of blood pressure-lowering treatments for reducing the risk of cognitive decline or dementia have largely failed to achieve beneficial effects. However, over the past 6 years, scientific evidence has accumulated that blood pressure variability over monthly or yearly visits may lead to greater risk of stroke and small and larger vessel cerebrovascular diseases. They could lead to subsequent changes related to cognitive dysfunction among older adults. We, therefore, hypothesized that blood pressure variability between visits is associated with a faster rate of cognitive function among older adults.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Dr. Qin: Higher long-term variability in blood pressure readings predicted faster declines of cognitive function among older adults. Controlling blood pressure instability may be a potential strategy in preserving cognitive function among older adults.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Qin: Our study is observational in nature. Our findings, therefore, cannot infer that a causal relationship exists between visit-to-visit variability in blood pressure and cognitive decline. They would require replication in other studies and randomized clinical trials aimed at controlling blood pressure instability to preserve cognitive function among older adults. 

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Dr. Qin: Compared to most of the previous studies which were conducted among participants with the high prevalence of blood pressure-lowering treatments and other medication use, our study was based on a less selective sample and was therefore a more natural study of the impact of long-term blood pressure variability. This is a unique contribution of our study. 

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation: Abstract presented at the May 2016 Hypertension Society Meeting

Session Title: Stamler Award Finalist Session

Abstract 22: Visit-to-Visit Variability in Blood Pressure is Related to Late-Life Cognitive Decline

Bo Qin, Anthony J Viera, Linda S Adair, Brenda L Plassman, Lloyd J Edwards, Barry M Popkin, Michelle A Mendez

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on May 25, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD