A new study found that people who are genetically predisposed to high blood pressure may have a lower risk of Alzheimer disease. However, researchers said that antihypertensive medication is probably responsible for this association. Co-author of the study, John Kauwe, a professor from the Brigham Young University in Provo, and his colleagues, published their findings in the journal PLOS Medicine.
Only in the United States, 5.3 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. This is the most common form of dementia. Experts say that the number of people with this disease, will increase by 40% in the next 10 years. Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th cause of death in the United States. Every year, more than 700.000 people (65 years and older) die from it. Alzheimer’s disease cannot be cured, slowed or prevented.
The researchers from this study, analyzed data from the International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project and the Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Consortium. This included 17.008 people who suffer from Alzheimer’s and 37.154 people without this disease. They used a supercomputer that analyzed the genomes of every person in the study. Researchers were looking for a SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms), a genetic variation that is linked to modifiable risk factors for Alzheimer’s.
Researchers found that people who had a genetic predisposition for high systolic blood pressure, had a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. However, those people used antihypertensive medication, so researchers believe that they may affect on the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Professor Kauwe said that this effect is possible due to antihypertensive drugs. These drugs are already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They should conduct further research in order to determine can these drugs be used for Alzheimer’s prevention.