Alzheimer’s Disease and High Blood Pressure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dan Nation
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology at University of Southern California
Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: The main study findings indicate that high blood pressure, specifically pulse pressure (systolic – diastolic pressure), is associated with increased markers of Alzheimer’s disease in the cerebral spinal fluid of healthy middle-aged adults. These results suggest a connection between blood pressure and Alzheimer’s disease prior to the onset of any symptoms of the disease.
MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Answer: The findings suggest a connection between blood pressure and Alzheimer‘s disease during the earliest stages of the disease.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Answer: The findings are only correlational, so causation cannot be inferred, but if the correlation is due to a causal effect of blood pressure on Alzheimer‘s disease then control of blood pressure in midlife could help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

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

Answer: Future studies should determine whether controlling blood pressure, including pulse pressure specifically, at the earliest stage of the disease slows the progressive increase in Alzheimer’s biomarkers or delays the onset of symptoms.

Citation:

Pulse pressure is associated with Alzheimer biomarkers in cognitively normal older adults

Daniel A. Nation, PhD, D. Edland, PhD, Mark W. Bondi, PhD, David P. Salmon, PhD, Lisa Delano-Wood, PhD, Elaine R. Peskind, MD, Joseph F. Quinn, MD and Douglas R. Galasko, MD

Published online before print November 13, 2013, doi: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000436935.47657.78 Neurology