“Blood Pressure” by Bernard Goldbach is licensed under CC BY 2.0

For Brain Health It’s Never Too Early to Monitor Blood Pressure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lenore J. Launer

Dr. Launer

Lenore J. Launer, Ph.D.
Chief, Laboratory of Epidemiology and Population Sciences
Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Aging.

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

Response: Identifying early risk factors and early changes in the brain will have a major impact on future clinical and public health priorities related to the looming epidemic of dementia. Several studies based on older populations suggest mid-life is an important period to start prevention measures. To date control of blood pressure levels has been the most robust and promising candidate to target for prevention of future cognitive impairment. Although several studies have looked at levels of blood pressure and risk for cognitive impairment, it was not known whether trajectories from young adulthood to middle age studies provided additional information about risk. To investigate possible biomarkers of future risk, we chose to examine the association of the mean arterial blood pressure trajectories to indicators of pathology seen on MRI and that are associated with cognition.

We highlight the results of the mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) measure, which is an integrated measure of systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

MedicalResearch.com:   What are the main findings?

Response: We found in this cohort of 853 Black and White men and women aged 18 to 30 years at baseline and followed for 30 years, that people starting with higher levels of MAP, and those who started at lower levels of MAP and have a rise in MAP over the 30 years, had significant indicators of microstructural changes in the white matter and lower blood flow in the gray matter of the brain. 

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

Response: The message from this study is it is never too early to continually monitor blood pressure and to act if levels are high or continue to increase. 

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

Response: There is no doubt that controlling blood pressure has multiple health benefits. However more research is needed to better understand the early blood pressure – brain marker links that will provide information on developing effective prevention strategies or possibly new medications.

No disclosures


Hu Y, Halstead MR, Bryan RN, et al. Association of Early Adulthood 25-Year Blood Pressure Trajectories With Cerebral Lesions and Brain Structure in Midlife. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(3):e221175. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.1175

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Last Updated on March 12, 2022 by Marie Benz