Thursday, May 30, 2013

High Blood Pressure Linked to Declining Brain Function

WASHINGTON — High blood pressure, particularly in the arteries that supply blood to the head and neck, may be linked with declining cognitive abilities, according to a new study from Australia.

Researchers found that people with high blood pressure in the central arteries — including the aorta, the largest artery in the human body, and the carotid arteries in the neck — performed worse on tests of visual processing, and had slower thinking and poorer recognition abilities.

Typically, blood pressure measurements are taken from the brachial artery in the arm, but looking at the health of the central arteries may be a more sensitive way to assess cognitive abilities, said study researcher Matthew Pase, of the Center for Human Psychopharmacology at Swinburne University in Melbourne. The central arteries directly control bloodflow to the brain.

"If we can estimate the blood pressure in central arteries, we might 

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