21 October 2013

Antihypertensive drugs protect against dementia

American researchers working under the guidance of Dr. Sevil Yasar from Johns Hopkins University conducted a retrospective analysis of the information collected as part of the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory Study (GEMS) program, a six–year work (2000-2006) aimed at studying the potential ability of ginkgo biloba to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. It was conducted as a double-blind randomized clinical trial, which involved 3,069 people aged 75-96 years who did not suffer from dementia.

Despite the fact that as a result of the work carried out, the ability of ginkgo biloba-based drugs to reduce the likelihood of developing dementia was not revealed, scientists received data on which antihypertensive drugs the participants took. Large-scale studies conducted earlier have shown that high blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for developing dementia, including those associated with Alzheimer's disease. Therefore, it has been suggested that drugs used to control blood pressure can prevent neurodegeneration.

According to Dr. Yasar, her group set out to find out which drugs protect the brain from the development of dementia associated with Alzheimer's disease, and which do not have such an effect.

To do this, the authors analyzed data on 2,248 study participants who took antihypertensive drugs. 351 of them reported taking diuretics, 140 – taking angiotensin-II receptor blockers, 324 – taking angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, 333 – calcium channel blockers and 456 – beta blockers. The average age of the participants was 78.7 years, 47% of them were female.

The results showed that taking diuretics, angiotensin-II receptor blockers and angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors at least 2 times reduces the risk of developing dementia associated with Alzheimer's disease in people with normal cognitive function. Moreover, taking diuretics had a similar effect in the group of patients with moderate cognitive impairment.

At the same time, beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers had no effect on the risk of developing senile dementia.

Yasar notes that the analysis had a number of limitations, mainly due to the fact that the purpose of collecting the processed data was not to evaluate the effect of drugs and it is impossible to say 100% reliably how well the participants followed the drug protocol. Also, the authors did not have data on the drugs that the participants took before the start of the study.

However, the pronounced tendency to reduce the risk of developing dementia associated with Alzheimer's disease when taking certain classes of antihypertensive drugs indicates the need for further research, including using brain tissue imaging methods, which will allow a better understanding of the biological basis of the revealed pattern. Such studies can help identify new pharmacological targets for preventive interventions aimed at slowing the decline of cognitive function and delaying the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Article by S. Yasar et al. Antihypertensive drugs decrease risk of Alzheimer's disease: Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory Study published in the journal Neurology.

Evgeniya Ryabtseva
Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru based on Johns Hopkins Medicine:
Blood Pressure Drugs Shown to Decrease Risk of Alzheimer's Disease Dementia.


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