Sometimes we find interesting links in certain areas in medicine where we did not believe that there would be one. A recent study suggested that those who have a genetic predisposition to high blood pressure might have a reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
That sounds like a strange correlation, but the authors of the study suggest that it might not be about high blood pressure, but rather about the anti-hypertension medication that these individuals are getting. According to an associate professor of biology at Brigham Young University, the anti-hypertensive drugs are causing the protective effect.
This has already led to the authors suggesting that these drugs should be looked into for Alzheimer’s prevention in the future. Given that the drugs are already FDA approved, this could well be an interesting breakthrough.
More On The Study
The study was done by analyzing genetic data from 37,154 people without Alzheimer’s disease, and 17,008 people who did have Alzheimer’s disease. The information came from the International Genomics of Alzheimer’s Project and the Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Consortium. The University of Washington, the University of Cambridge, BYU, and the Aarhus University in Denmark conducted this massive study.
The research team looked for a number of links between health conditions and Alzheimer’s disease – including high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes. The only significant association found was between increased systolic blood pressure and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s.
While those findings might seem opposite to what most people think would be normal, high blood pressure is in fact not protective – but rather the benefit comes from something that people with high blood pressure are often exposed to. The protection from Alzheimer’s disease could come from antihypertensive medication.
A Long Way To Go
This is one of the first studies that revealed a causal relationship between potentially modifiable factors and Alzheimer’s disease. While it certainly does not mean that Alzheimer’s disease is cured or that it will not take a long time to find something that actually proves its worth, it does suggest that there might be a way to overcome this disease if we continue the research.