Joint effect of mid- and late-life blood pressure on the brain: The AGES-Reykjavik Study

Majon Muller, Sigurdur Sigurdsson, Olafur Kjartansson, Thor Aspelund, Oscar L. Lopez, Palmi V. Jonnson, Tamara B. Harris, Mark Van Buchem, Vilmundur Gudnason, Lenore J. Launer

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71 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: We hypothesized that in participants with a history of hypertension, lower late-life blood pressure (BP) will be associated with more brain pathology. Methods: Participants are 4,057 older men and women without dementia with midlife (mean age 50 ± 6 years) and late-life (mean age 76 ± 5 years) vascular screening, cognitive function, and brain structures onMRI ascertained as part of the Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility (AGES)- Reykjavik Study. Results: The association of late-life BP to brain measures depended on midlife hypertension history. Higher late-life systolic and diastolic BP (DBP) was associated with an increased risk of white matter lesions and cerebral microbleeds, and this was most pronounced in participants without a history of midlife hypertension. In contrast, in participants with a history of midlife hypertension, lower late-life DBP was associated with smaller total brain and gray matter volumes. This finding was reflected back in cognitive performance; in participants with midlife hypertension, lower DBP was associated with lower memory scores. Conclusion: In this large population-based cohort, late-life BP differentially affects brain pathology and cognitive performance, depending on the history of midlife hypertension. Our study suggests history of hypertension is critical to understand how late-life BP affects brain structure and function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2187-2195
Number of pages9
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2014

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