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UAB Research Shows Lower Blood Pressure Reduces Dementia Risk

Virginia Wadley Bradley

A new study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham could help patients ward off dementia.

UAB School of Medicine researchers took part in a project examining what the benefits would be if a patient dramatically lowered his or her blood pressure. The so-called SPRINT MIND trial examined whether a lower blood pressure reading would also reduce the risk of cognitive impairment or dementia.

Researchers found that reducing systolic pressure below 120 did reduce that risk. The systolic reading is the first of two numbers when you get your blood pressure taken.

Dr. Virginia Wadley Bradley co-led the UAB committee that oversaw the trial. She says these findings hold despite the age of the patient.

“It’s exciting – it’s something that we can control. We knew before that hypertension in mid-life was associated with a greater risk of dementia in late life. But we showed this across the life span, so even with people 75 and older, this was beneficial.”

Dr. Wadley Bradley says UAB has been involved in this trial since 2010 with a diverse group of 2,000 participants at UAB clinics, 30% African-American and 10% Hispanic.

Researchers presented preliminary findings at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference last week.

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