Getting to the heart of Alzheimer's

What effect does blood pressure have on an individual’s susceptibility to Alzheimer’s?
by OMRF Modified: March 5, 2014 at 11:59 am •  Published: March 4, 2014

In studies involving cholesterol-lowering statin drugs such as Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor and Vytorin, researchers also have seen a link between decreased blood pressure and reduced rates of Alzheimer's. In an examination of the brains of elderly participants in a study about dementia, scientists found that in those who had taken statin drugs, their brains displayed fewer small brain lesions and fewer of the tangles and? plaques associated with Alzheimer's.

Although scientists still have not established the cause of most cases of Alzheimer's disease, these findings certainly point to the conclusion that what's good for your heart is good for your mind. And there is no doubt that keeping your blood pressure at manageable levels is key to your long-term cardiovascular health.

There have been anecdotal reports of statin drugs causing side effects such as memory loss and fuzzy thinking. But when Pfizer conducted an extensive clinical trial of its best-selling cholesterol drug Lipitor, it found no link between the drug and memory loss.

If your doctor has prescribed a cholesterol-lowering medication of any kind, I would recommend that you continue to take it. As always, be sure to monitor any side effects and to talk to your physician. So long as you're not experiencing problems, controlling your blood pressure will help your heart — and, most likely, your brain too.

Prescott, a physician and medical researcher, is president of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. Cohen is a marathoner and OMRF's senior vice president and general counsel.

Founded in 1946, the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation is one of the nation’s oldest and most respected nonprofit biomedical research institutes. Located in Oklahoma City, OMRF fosters a worldwide reputation for excellence by following an...
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