Can the blood pressure predict cognitive task performance in a healthy population sample?

Martin P.J. van Boxtel*, Carlo Gaillard, Peter J. Houx, Frank Buntinx, Peter de Leeuw, Jelle Jolles

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objectives To study the relation between the blood pressure and the neurocognitive function within the full adult age range in a large population sample,Design A cross-sectional study of 936 healthy adults who were recruited from a register of family practices, stratified for age (24-81 years), sex, and occupational level, who took part in a medical and neurocognitive test program,Methods The blood pressure status was studied in relation to five measures of cognitive ability, including Verbal memory and speed of information processing, Other vascular risk factors were treated as control variables and included smoking, alcohol intake, body mass index, and body fat distribution, The blood pressure was measured five times using an automatic recording technique (with a Dinamap 8100 device).Results After adjustment for age, sex, and educational level in a hierarchical regression analysis, we found no unequivocal association between the mean systolic and diastolic blood pressures (or any other studied vascular risk factor) and cognitive test performance both for the whole group and for the subgroup of subjects who were not being administered antihypertensive medication and whose medical history did not include cardiovascular events, Stratified analysis within four age levels revealed no age-specific associations between the blood pressure and the cognitive function, Subjects whose blood pressure was within the hypertensive range performed worse than did matched controls at letter digit copying, but not according to other cognitive measures.Conclusions With a population-based sample unselected for blood pressure status we found no linear relationship between the actual blood pressure level and various aspects of cognitive performance. Prospective studies are needed to investigate the possibility that the systemic blood pressure load over time is associated with a decline in specific cognitive abilities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1069-1076
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hypertension
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1997

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