Heart and cardiovascular problems are critical medical issues because everything the human body needs blood, and the oxygen that blood carries, to properly function. New research out of Vanderbilt University Medical Center has linked stiffening aortas to reduced blood flow through the brain’s cerebral blood vessels. It is thought this may play a role in Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementia disorders. Hypertension and other blood flow disorders are already known to increase dementia risk, but this study was able to conclusively connect arterial stiffness with cerebral blood flow.
The study looked at elderly adults, focusing on those who had a genetic marker known to be a risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s. Medical conditions that increase blood pressure cause changes in how blood flows through the brain. The Vanderbilt study looked at how the changes in blood pressure due to aorta changes affected the brains of study participants. The data from the study is creating a call for even more aggressive campaigns, and medical measures, to work with at-risk patients for dementia and Alzheimer’s to manage their blood pressure better. Lower blood pressure reduces the chances of developing cognitive disorders. The study used MRI scans to compare how lack of flexibility in the aorta affected blood pressure through the cerebral blood vessels. Those in the study who had the genetic marker showed a much higher sensitivity to changes in their aorta, and the resulting impacts on blood pressure, than those who didn’t carry the same gene.
New data about cerebral blood vessels should bolster understanding of cognitive decline #HealthStatus
- 1The medical periodical “Circulation” recently included the results from a study having to do with arterial stiffness.
- 2The study showed that such stiffness, which is a relevant factor in hypertension, may also play a relevant role in cognitive decline.
- 3The study supports findings that show that significantly lowering the blood pressure in older adults leads to a lowered risk of cognitive impairment.
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