High Blood Pressure in Middle Age Linked to High Chance of Alzheimer’s Biomarker

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Source: Phillip Jeffrey

High stress and bad diet has been anecdotally associated with Alzheimer’s for a long time, but a new study published in the journal Neurology may have found a connection by linking high blood pressure in middle age to higher chance to have biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease.

The study found that a high pulse pressure, or systolic pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading), was associated to biomarkers of Alzheimer’s in a patient’s spinal fluid. The pulse pressure is also considered an indicator of the aging of the vascular system.

The study evaluated 177 people from age 55 to 100 with no symptoms for Alzheimer’s. According to Psych Central, the participants had their pulse pressure taken down, followed by lumbar punctures to obtain spinal fluid.

The researchers noted that those with higher pulse pressure were more likely to be identified with the Alzheimer’s biomarkers amyloid beta, also known as p-tau proteins or tangles, in their cerebral spinal fluid than those with lower pulse pressure.

For every 10 point increase in pulse pressure, the average level of p-tau protein in the cpinal fluid rose by 1.5 picograms per milliliter.

“These results suggest that the forces involved in blood circulation may be related to the development of the hallmark Alzheimer’s disease signs that cause loss of brain cells,” said study author Daniel A. Nation, Ph.D., of the VA San Diego Healthcare System. “This is consistent with findings indicating that high blood pressure in middle age is a better predictor of later problems with memory and thinking skills and loss of brain cells than high blood pressure in old age.”

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