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Some Blood Pressure Meds Decrease Dementia

Researchers have found that angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)—a particular class of anti-hypertensive medicines—are associated with a striking decrease in the occurrence and progression of dementia.

Scientists from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) report the finding as the first study that clearly shows the association.

Using data from the Decision Support System Database of the U.S. Department of Health System Veterans Affairs (with information on more than 5 million people), researchers looked at records from patients using ARBs, and compared them with subjects who had a similar health status, but were taking different medications.

They found patients taking ARBs had about a 35-40 percent lower chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

The researchers also examined patients who were already suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, and found those subjects had up to a 45 percent lower chance of developing delirium, being admitted to nursing homes or dying.

Patients who appeared to benefit particularly well from use of ARBs were those who had experienced strokes before or during the course of their illness.

According to the researchers these results suggest that ARBs might protect against developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. “For those who already have dementia, use of ARBs might delay deterioration of brain function and help keep patients out of nursing homes,” said lead presenter Benjamin Wolozin, MD, PhD, a professor of pharmacology at BUSM.

“The study is particularly interesting because we compared the effects of ARBs to other medications used for treating blood pressure or cardiovascular disease. This suggests that ARBs are more effective than other blood pressure and cardiovascular medications for preventing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia,” he added.

Although the researchers are unsure why ARBs might be so beneficial, they believe one possibility suggested by prior studies on animal models is that ARBs help prevent nerve cell injury from blood vessel damage or help promote nerve cell recovery after blood vessel damage. Damage to blood vessels is thought to reduce brain capacity and promote dementia, so reducing this damage might prevent the occurrence or progression of dementia.

Source: Boston University

Some Blood Pressure Meds Decrease Dementia

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Some Blood Pressure Meds Decrease Dementia. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 11, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2008/07/28/some-blood-pressure-meds-decrease-dementia/2661.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.