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Blood pressure and cognitive function across the eighth decade: A prospective study of the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936

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Original languageEnglish
JournalBMJ Open
Early online date23 Jul 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Jul 2020

Abstract

Objectives
We investigated the associations among blood pressure and cognitive functions across the eighth decade, while accounting for anti-hypertensive medication and lifetime stability in cognitive function.
Design
Prospective cohort study.
Setting
This study used data from the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 (LBC1936) study, which recruited participants living in the Lothian region of Scotland when aged 70 years, most of whom had completed an intelligence test at age 11 years.
Participants
1091 members of the LBC1936 with assessments of cognitive ability in childhood and older adulthood, and blood pressure measurements in older adulthood.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
Participants were followed up at ages 70, 73, 76, and 79, and latent growth curve models and linear mixed models were used to analyse both cognitive functions and blood pressure as primary outcomes.
Results
Blood pressure followed a quadratic trajectory in the eighth decade: on average blood pressure rose in the first waves and subsequently fell. Intercepts and trajectories were not associated between blood pressure and cognitive functions. Women with higher early-life cognitive function generally had lower blood pressure during the eighth decade. Being prescribed anti-hypertensive medication was associated with lower blood pressure, but not with better cognitive function.
Conclusions
Our findings indicate that women with higher early-life cognitive function had lower later-life blood pressure. However, we did not find support for the hypothesis that rises in blood pressure and worse cognitive decline are associated with one another in the eighth decade.

    Research areas

  • hypertension, old age psychiatry, geriatric medicine, epidemiology

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