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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Columbia: High Blood Pressure Treatment May Slow Cognitive Decline

High blood pressure appears to accelerate cognitive decline among middle-aged and older adults, but treating high blood pressure may slow this down, according to a preliminary study presented by Columbia University Mailman School of Public researchers at the American Heart Association’s Hypertension 2019 Scientific Sessions.

“The findings are important because high blood pressure and cognitive decline are two of the most common conditions associated with aging, and more people are living longer worldwide,” said Dr. L.H. Lumey, professor of epidemiology at Columbia Mailman and senior author.

The researchers analyzed data on nearly 11,000 adults from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) between 2011-2015. High blood pressure was defined as having a systolic blood pressure of 140 mmHg or higher and a diastolic blood pressure of 90 mmHg or higher, and/or taking antihypertensive treatment.

Participants were interviewed at home about their high blood pressure treatment, education, and noted if they lived in a rural or urban environment. They were also asked to perform cognitive tests. Among the findings:

“This study focused on middle-aged and older adults in China, but we believe our results could apply to populations elsewhere as well,” said presenting author Dr. Shumin Rui, a biostatistician at Columbia Mailman.

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