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Gene linked to higher stroke and heart attack risk

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Email High blood pressure, particularly in the arteries that supply blood to the head and neck, may be linked with declining cognitive abilities, according to a new study from Australia. Researchers found that people with high blood pressure in the central arteries including the aorta, the largest artery in the human body, and the carotid arteries in the neck performed worse on tests of visual processing, and had slower thinking and poorer recognition abilities.

Typically, blood pressure measurements are taken from the brachial artery in the arm, but looking at the health of the central arteries may be a more sensitive way to assess cognitive latest news on blood pressure, said study researcher Matthew Pase, of the Center for Human Psychopharmacology at Swinburne University in Melbourne.

The central arteries directly control bloodflow to the brain. How it all works A beating heart pumps blood in spurts, but the central arteries are flexible, expanding and contracting to maintain steady bloodflow to the brain. As people age, the central arteries stiffen, and with less elasticity, the brain receives more high-pressure blood, which may damage cognition, Pase said.

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The researchers examined Australians between ages 20 and The participants were mostly Caucasians, and all were nonsmokers with no history of stroke or dementiaPase said.

Study participants performed tasks to measure various types of cognitionsuch as visual processing, working memory, recognition abilities and processing speed.

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The researchers also took blood pressure measurements from the arm and central arteries. Blood pressure and cognition The researchers found that high brachial blood pressure was linked to worse performance on the visual processing test, but high central blood pressure correlated latest news on blood pressure worse performance across several tests, including visual processing, recognition and processing speed.

High blood pressure linked to declining brain function

To expand upon these findings, Pase said he wants to look at whether reducing central blood pressure which can be done by quitting smoking, doing regular exercise or limiting salt intake might protect people against mental deterioration. The researchers will detail their results in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science.

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