An inverse relationship between blood pressure (BP) and cognitive function has been found in adults, but limited data are available in adolescents and young adults. We examined the prospective relation between BP and cognitive function in adolescence.
We examined the association between BP measured at the ages of 12–15 years in school surveys and cognitive endpoints measured in the Seychelles Child Development Study at ages 17 (n = 407) and 19 (n = 429) years, respectively. We evaluated multiple domains of cognition based on subtests of the Cambridge Neurological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB), the Woodcock Johnson Test of Scholastic Achievement (WJTA), the Finger Tapping test (FT) and the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (K-BIT). We used age, sex and height-specific z-scores of SBP, DBP and mean arterial pressure (MAP).
Six out of the 21 cognitive endpoints tested were associated with BP. However, none of these associations were found to hold for both males and females or for different subtests within the same neurodevelopmental domain or for both SBP and DBP. Most of these associations disappeared when analyses were adjusted for selected potential confounding factors such as socio-economic status, birth weight, gestational age, BMI, alcohol consumption, blood glucose, and total n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fats.
Our findings do not support a consistent association between BP and subsequent performance on tests assessing various cognitive domains in adolescents.