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Hypertension Accelerates Brain Shrinkage

Hypertension Accelerates Brain Shrinkage

By Marietta Gross

Scoop Report: The normal aging process of the brain is being accelerated by high blood pressure, according to a long term survey by the Max-Planck-Institute in Berlin, Germany. Seventy two healthy adults aged between 20 and 77 underwent a magnetic resonance tomography every five years. “Hypertension is obviously even more dangerous than previously assumed. Perhaps it increases the risk for Alzheimer's Disease”, explains study author Ulman Lindenberger.

According to the study, the human brain starts to shrink around middle age. Women are at the same risk as men and the brain volume made no difference. But the process was individually variable.

Scientists have found brain shrinkage does have gender differences associated with hypertension, and results suggest this is independent from treatment. Patients with high blood pressure showed an extreme shrinkage of memory relevant regions such as the hippocampus. The longer the patients had been suffering from high blood pressure, the more intensive the effect of shrinkage was.

Currently, Lindenberger and his colleagues are examining the connection between changes in the brain and coinstantaneous changes in psychological performance tests.

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