Study suggests Beta Blockers might reduce the risk of dementia
Published 7 January 2013
A study released in San Diego toady has found that Beta Blockers might reduce the risk of dementia.
People with high blood pressure, who had been taking the blood pressure drugs beta blockers may be less likely to experience changes in the brain that can be signs of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. This is in comparison to those taking other medication to manage their blood pressure.
The study involved 774 elderly Japanese-American men, of whom 610 had high blood pressure or were being treated with medication for high blood pressure. Among those who had been treated, about 350 people, 15 per cent only received beta blocker medication, 18 per cent received a beta blocker plus other medications and the rest of the participants received other blood pressure drugs. Autopsies were performed on the men after their death.
The study found that the men who had received beta blockers as their only blood pressure medication had fewer abnormalities in their brains compared to the other participants. The brains of participants who had received beta blockers plus other medications showed an intermediate reduction in numbers of brain abnormalities.
Alzheimer’s Society comment:
'We know high blood pressure increases your chances of developing dementia. Understanding the relationships between different blood pressure drugs and Alzheimer's is not only useful for risk reduction but also Alzheimer's treatment development which Alzheimer's Society is driving forward. However, this is a small study and more research is needed on a larger scale to find out why Beta Blockers might have this effect.
'One in three people over 65 will develop dementia. While drugs to manage the condition might be far off, there are things people can do now, including getting your blood pressure checked regularly. Eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, getting your cholesterol checked and not smoking can all make a difference.'
Research Reference: Beta Blocker Treatment of Hypertensive Older Persons Ameliorates the Brain Lesions of Dementia Measured at Autopsy: the Honolulu-Asia Aging Study; Lon White, MD et al; The study will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s www.aan.com 65th Annual Meeting in San Diego, March 16 to 23, 2013.
News RSS feed
Visit Talking Point and take part in the discussions