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According to Archana Singh-Manoux, Inserm research director in charge of the research project and professor emeritus at UCL, these analyses "suggest that the impact of blood pressure on brain health is dependent on the duration of exposure; hence, individuals with high blood pressure at the age of 50 would be more likely to develop dementia than those who develop hypertension at 60 or 70."This could be explained by the fact that high blood pressure causes ministrokes which, although often undetected, are harmful to the brain and may ultimately lead to a decline in function.
"In this study, we were able to evidence different patterns of association according to the age groups studied," clarified Jessica Abell, the lead author of the article, postdoctoral researcher at Inserm and associate researcher at UCL, who adds that "these results could thus help redefine the age groups to be studied in order to assess the impact of hypertension on health." She concludes: "it is important to emphasize that these results originated from an observational study on a population sample, and cannot be directly used as predictive instruments for each individual. Defining the optimum limit value for diagnosing hypertension is currently the focus of the debate."
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Association between systolic blood pressure and dementia in the Whitehall II cohort study: role of age, duration, and threshold used to define hypertension Jessica G. Abell1,2, Mika Kivimäki2, Aline Dugravot1, Adam G. Tabak1,3, Aurore Fayosse1, Martin Shipley2, Séverine Sabia1,2†, and Archana Singh-Manoux1,2*† 1INSERM, U1018, Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health, Universite´ Paris-Saclay, Hôpital Paul Brousse, Bât 15/16, 16 Avenue Paul Vaillant Couturier, 94807 Villejuif Cedex, France; 2Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK; and 3Faculty of Medicine, 1st Department of Medicine, 10 Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary European Heart Journal : http://doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehy288