Intensive blood pressure control may slow age related brain damage

August 13, 2019

In a nationwide study, researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to scan the brains of hundreds of participants in the National Institutes of Health’s Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) and found that intensively controlling a person’s blood pressure was more effective at slowing the accumulation of white matter lesions than standard treatment of high blood pressure.

The results, published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, complement a previous study led by a team of scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Health. That study showed that intensive control of blood pressure significantly reduced the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment. 

Read the entire news release from the NIH here.

“Earlier this year, we published results that showed a reduction in memory loss and early stage dementia with better blood pressure control. These results today show what is actually happening in the brain to preserve memory,” said Jeff Williamson, M.D., professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Health and the principal investigator of the previous study. He, along with colleagues at Wake Forest Baptist, was also involved in the study published today.

“Blood pressure lowering remains the only proven pathway to reducing risk for memory loss and Wake Forest Baptist is honored to have been asked by the National Institutes of Health to lead this research that is helping improve the health of people right here in the Triad as well as across the country.”

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