This content was published on March 27, 2023 – 23:06

Editorial Science, 28 March (EFE).- High blood pressure is implicated in dementia and brain damage. One study identified nine areas of the brain that are damaged by high blood pressure and that can contribute to impaired mental processes and the development of dementia.

One study gathered information from MRI scans of more than 30,000 UK Biobank study participants, genetic analyzes and observational data from thousands of patients to study the effect of high blood pressure on cognitive function, and then checked their results in another large group of patients from Italy.

The aim was to see if high blood pressure was actually causing changes in specific parts of the brain, rather than simply being associated with those changes.

The study signed by an international team and published by the European Heart Journal indicates that changes in nine parts of the brain were related to increased blood pressure and worsening cognitive function.

One of them is the putamen, located at the base of the frontal part and responsible for regulating movement and influencing different types of learning.

Other areas affected are specific to the white matter that connect and allow signaling between different parts of the brain, such as the anterior thalamic radiance, the anterior corona radiata, and the anterior end of the internal capsule.

The anterior thalamic radiation is involved in executive functions such as planning simple and complex daily tasks, while the other two regions are involved in decision-making and managing emotions.

Changes in these areas included reductions in brain volume and the amount of cortical surface area, changes in connections between different parts of the brain, and measures of brain activity.

“Certain regions of the brain are at particularly high risk of damage from blood pressure, which may help identify people at risk of cognitive decline in the early stages and potentially target therapies more effectively in the future,” said Joanna Wardlaw, MD. of the University of Edinburgh and one of the signatories.

This could help precision medicine, “so that we can target more intensive therapies to prevent the development of cognitive decline in high-risk patients,” said Tomasz Guzik, also a member of the team and from the same university.

High blood pressure is common, occurring in 30% of people worldwide, with an additional 30% showing the early stages of the disease.

The team notes that one of the limitations of the research is that the UK Biobank study participants are mostly white and middle-aged, so it may not be possible to extrapolate the results to older people. EFE


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