(HealthDay News) — Hypertension and increasing blood pressure (BP) in early adulthood are associated with lower mean regional brain volumes and poorer white matter integrity in late life, according to a study published online in JAMA Network Open.
Kristen M. George, PhD, from the University of California Davis, and colleagues examined whether hypertension and blood pressure change in early adulthood are associated with late-life brain health. The analysis included 427 participants who were a median age of 28.9 years at the first checkup, 40.3 years at the last checkup, and 74.8 years at neuroimaging.
The researchers found that compared with participants who had normotension, those with hypertension and those who transitioned to hypertension had smaller cerebral volumes, with similar differences seen in cerebral gray matter volume, frontal cortex volume, and parietal cortex volume. Hypertension was also associated with smaller hippocampal volume, greater lateral and third ventricular volumes, larger free water volume, and lower fractional anisotropy versus those with normotension. A 5-mm Hg increase in systolic BP was associated with smaller temporal cortex volume, while a 5-mm Hg increase in diastolic BP was associated with smaller parietal cortex volume. In men (compared with women), the negative association of hypertension and BP change with regional brain volumes was stronger.
“Treatment for dementia is extremely limited, so identifying modifiable risk and protective factors over the life course is key to reducing disease burden,” George said in a statement.