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Cognitive Decline Linked to Blood Pressure Variability

In patients age 80 and older, variability in pressure is associated with lower cognitive function

THURSDAY, May 18 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly adults with greater blood pressure variability are more likely to have lower cognitive function scores than other patients the same age, Japanese researchers reported Wednesday at the 21st Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society of Hypertension held in New York City.

Kenichi Sakakura, M.D., of the Public Kiwa Clinic in Kumano, Mie, Japan, and colleagues measured 24-hour blood pressure in 101 adults 80 years of age and older. In addition, the research team used the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) to assess cognitive function.

The mean 24-hour systolic blood pressure was 138.1 mmHg and mean diastolic was 75.9 mmHg. Based on MMSE scores, 55.4 percent of patients had cognitive dysfunction. They found that MMSE scores decreased across the tertiles of standard deviation of systolic blood pressure readings, indicating lower cognitive functioning.

Sakakura said that this study adds to the evidence that hypertension can have negative effects on mental functioning. Why there is cognitive decline in these patients is not clear, he said. The findings confirm an independent relationship between exaggerated blood pressure variability and cognitive dysfunction in the elderly, the authors report.

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