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Study links hypertension in young adulthood to cognitive decline in middle age

Study links hypertension in young adulthood to cognitive decline in middle age
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People who experienced relatively high blood pressure during young adulthood will be prone to significant declines in cognitive function in middle age, Northwestern University-Tel Aviv University study suggested.

People who experienced relatively high blood pressure during young adulthood will be prone to significant declines in cognitive function in middle age, Northwestern University-Tel Aviv University study suggested.

The research was led by Prof. Farzaneh A. Sorond and Dr. Simin Mahinrad of Northwestern University's Department of Neurology and Prof. Jeffrey Hausdorff of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine, TAU's Sagol School of Neuroscience and Tel Aviv Medical Center's Center for the Study of Movement, Cognition, and Mobility at the Neurological Institute.

The study was published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation in March. "We find that the deleterious effects of elevated blood pressure on brain structure and function begin in early adulthood.

This demonstrates the need for preventive measures of high blood pressure even at this early age," explained Prof. Hausdorff.

"We know that poor gait and cognitive function among older adults are associated with and predict multiple adverse health outcomes like cognitive decline, dementia, falls and death.

Our study shows that the time to treat high blood pressure and to minimize future changes in gait and cognition is much earlier -- decades earlier -- than previously thought," Hausdorff added.

Also, the study points out that gait impairment may be an earlier hallmark of hypertensive brain injury than cognitive deficits.

The research was conducted by assessing the blood pressure, gait and cognition of 191 participants from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study, a community-based cohort of young individuals followed over 30 years.

The research came to the conclusion that blood pressure has significant implications even in young adults and has placed vital importance to assess and modify for future cognitive function and mobility.

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