A new study seems to have found a surprising link between blood pressure and Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers at Utah’s Brigham Young University discovered that people who are genetically predisposed to have high blood pressure may have a lower likelihood for Alzheimer’s disease.
However, the research team — which includes university biology associate professor John Kauwe — were quick to offer a possible explanation for this. “It’s likely that this protective effect is coming from antihypertensive drugs,” Kauwe said in a news release. Study co-author Paul Crane highlighted the unexpected result. “Our results are the opposite of what people might think… It may be that high blood pressure is protective, or it may be that something that people with high blood pressure are exposed to more often, such as antihypertensive medication, is protecting them from Alzheimer’s disease,” Crane expressed.
The results arose from data from the Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Consortium and the International Genomics of Alzheimer’s Project, tallying over 17,000 people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and more than 37,000 individuals with no indication of the disease.
“These drugs are already FDA approved. We need to take a serious look at them for Alzheimer’s prevention,” Kauwe added. After all, this is “to date the most authoritative paper looking at causal relationships between Alzheimer’s disease and these potentially modifiable factors,” Kauwe said.