Although high blood pressure is a negative health condition that is to be avoided, having genes that increase the risk of hypertension may actually help to lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, a new study indicates that anti-hypertensive medication may also play a role in lowering that risk.
Researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark, Cambridge University in England and the University of Washington looked at data involving more than 54,000 people who were part of the International Genomics of Alzheimer’s Project. Of that total, 17,008 people had Alzheimer’s disease and 37,154 were older people without the neurocognitive disorder.
Prior studies have indicated that several factors are thought to influence Alzheimer’s risk, including type 2 diabetes, body mass index, cholesterol, and blood pressure. The researchers looked at whether genetic variants linked to these conditions were also connected to a greater Alzheimer’s risk.
Their analysis did find that people with certain generic variants were less susceptible to developing Alzheimer’s, and 24 of the variants were related to a greater risk of high blood pressure, the researchers reported in the journal PLOS Medicine.
The researchers, however, were unable to determine exactly why people with these genetic variants were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s, so the findings are more correlative than causational. They added that additional investigation is needed.
However, the researchers noted that since people with high blood pressure typically take anti-hypertensive medications to manage the condition, studies should be conducted to see if these drugs may reduce Alzheimer’s risk.
Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks, according to the National Institute on Aging. In most people with Alzheimer’s, symptoms first…
Genes that increase the risk of high blood pressure could also lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, according to new research.
The study, conducted by scientists from Aarhus University in Denmark, the University of Cambridge and the University of Washington, could potentially lead to new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers examined the data of more than 54,000 people. 17,008 had Alzheimer’s disease, and 37,154 were older people without Alzheimer’s. The researchers then analysed genes that have historically been linked with a higher risk of Alzheimer’s, such as type 2 diabetes, BMI, cholesterol and blood pressure.