Home » News » Hypertension (or Meds) May Reduce Risk of Alzheimer’s
Hypertension (or Meds) May Reduce Risk of Alzheimer’s

Hypertension (or Meds) May Reduce Risk of Alzheimer’s

Emerging research suggests that people with a genetic predisposition to high blood pressure have a lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

However, investigators believe the association may have more to do with anti-hypertension medication than high blood pressure itself.

“It’s likely that this protective effect is coming from antihypertensive drugs,” said co-author Dr. John Kauwe, associate professor of biology at Brigham Young University (BYU).

“These drugs are already FDA approved. We need to take a serious look at them for Alzheimer’s prevention.”

Researchers analyzed genetic data from 17,008 individuals with Alzheimer’s and 37,154 people without the disease. Data came from the Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Consortium and the International Genomics of Alzheimer’s Project.

Study results appear in the journal PLOS Medicine.

Scholars from the University of Cambridge, Aarhus University in Denmark and the University of Washington worked with BYU researchers on the massive study. With the help of BYU’s supercomputer, Kauwe, and undergraduate student Kevin Boehme pieced together 32 data sets for the analysis.

Researchers searched for links between Alzheimer’s disease and a number of health conditions including diabetes, obesity, and high cholesterol but only found a significant association between higher systolic blood pressure and reduced Alzheimer’s risk.

“Our results are the opposite of what people might think,” said fellow co-author Dr. Paul Crane, a University of Washington associate professor of internal medicine.

“It may be that high blood pressure is protective, or it may be that something that people with high blood pressure are exposed to more often, such as antihypertensive medication, is protecting them from Alzheimer’s disease.”

University of Cambridge senior investigator scientist Dr. Robert Scott led the study, which used a statistical technique termed “Mendelian randomization” to find if positive or negative risk factors for Alzheimer’s could be determined.

Factors such as body mass index, insulin resistance, blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes were reviewed. Mendelian randomization uses subjects’ genetics as a proxy for a randomized clinical trial.

“This is to date the most authoritative paper looking at causal relationships between Alzheimer’s disease and these potentially modifiable factors,” Kauwe said. “In terms of the number of samples, it can’t get bigger at this point.”

Source: Brigham Young University

Hypertension (or Meds) May Reduce Risk of Alzheimer’s

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. (2018). Hypertension (or Meds) May Reduce Risk of Alzheimer’s. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 29 Jun 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.