Saturday, December 01, 2007

An arterial spin on blood flow to brain

A new technique called arterial spin MRI somehow labels red cells in a way that allows researchers to track the rate of blood flow to various regions of the brain. As a result, they've discovered that persons with Alzheimer's Disease (AD) aren't sending normal amounts of oxygenated blood to areas in charge of memory function. And hypertension plus AD reduces blood flow even more to the parts of the brain where memories are formed and stored.

Previous studies have indicated that controlling blood pressure, particularly with a class of drugs such as Norvasc that dilate blood vessels, decreased risk of developing AD later in life. Dr. Cyrus Raji of the University of Pittsburgh noted: "We cannot say that hypertension triggers Alzheimer's disease, but there does appear to be a relationship to Alzheimer's disease pathology."

Hypertension is already linked to another kind of dementia that results from multiple strokes. Controlling blood pressure clearly is good for the brain.

1 comment:

JeanMac said...

I was disturbed to read a similar article a few years ago - W had HBP for years and they couldn't get it under control. New doc took over practice and bingo! BP is now under control. This was all happening during the "I think it's stress" era before diagnosis.
Perhaps didn't "cause" it but - - -