High blood pressure may make it difficult for the elderly to think clearly

Dec 15, 2008

Adding another reason for people to watch their blood pressure, a new study from North Carolina State University shows that increased blood pressure in older adults is directly related to decreased cognitive functioning, particularly among seniors with already high blood pressure. This means that stressful situations may make it more difficult for some seniors to think clearly.

Dr. Jason Allaire, an assistant professor of psychology at NC State who co-authored the study, explains that study subjects whose average systolic blood pressure was 130 or higher saw a significant decrease in cognitive function when their blood pressure spiked. However, Allaire notes, study subjects whose average blood pressure was low or normal saw no change in their cognitive functioning – even when their blood pressure shot up.

Specifically, Allaire says, the study shows a link between blood pressure spikes in seniors with high blood pressure and a decrease in their inductive reasoning. "Inductive reasoning is important," Allaire says, "because it is essentially the ability to work flexibly with unfamiliar information and find solutions."

Allaire says the findings may indicate that mental stress is partially responsible for the increase in blood pressure – and the corresponding breakdown in cognitive functioning. However, Allaire notes that normal fluctuations in blood pressure likely play a role as well.

The study, which is published in the current issue of Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, examined blood pressure and cognitive functioning test data collected from a cohort of adults aged 60-87 twice daily for 60 days. The lead author is Alyssa A. Gamaldo, a Ph.D. candidate in psychology at NC State. A second co-author is Sarah R. Weatherbee, who is also a Ph.D. candidate in psychology at NC State.

Source: North Carolina State University

Explore further: Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Look after your brain

Feb 20, 2011

As the average life span becomes longer, dementia becomes more common. Swedish scientist Laura Fratiglioni has shown that everyone can minimize his or her risk of being affected. Factors from blood pressure and weight to ...

Metabolic syndrome linked to memory loss in older people

Feb 02, 2011

Older people with larger waistlines, high blood pressure and other risk factors that make up metabolic syndrome may be at a higher risk for memory loss, according to a study published in the February 2, 2011, online issue ...

Sorting when early memory loss signals big threat

Aug 09, 2010

(AP) -- Doctors can't tell if Leif Utoft Bollesen's mild memory loss will remain an annoyance or worsen, but experimental checks of the Minnesota man's aging brain may offer clues.

Recommended for you

Two expats die of MERS in Saudi commercial hub

10 hours ago

Two foreigners died of MERS in the Saudi city of Jeddah, the health ministry said Saturday, as fears rise over the spreading respiratory virus in the kingdom's commercial hub.

UAE reports 12 new cases of MERS

10 hours ago

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates have announced 12 new cases of infection by the MERS coronavirus, but insisted the patients would be cured within two weeks.

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

22 hours ago

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

SongDog
not rated yet Dec 16, 2008
Yeah, anoxia will do that. Where's the news?

More news stories

Low tolerance for pain? The reason may be in your genes

Researchers may have identified key genes linked to why some people have a higher tolerance for pain than others, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 66th Annual ...

How to keep your fitness goals on track

(HealthDay)—The New Year's resolutions many made to get fit have stalled by now. And one expert thinks that's because many people set their goals too high.

Cancer stem cells linked to drug resistance

Most drugs used to treat lung, breast and pancreatic cancers also promote drug-resistance and ultimately spur tumor growth. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.

Easter morning delivery for space station

Space station astronauts got a special Easter treat: a cargo ship full of supplies. The shipment arrived Sunday morning via the SpaceX company's Dragon cargo capsule.