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TUNE IN: Do beta-blockers lower the neuropathology associated with cognitive impairment and dementia?

doi: 10.1097/01.NT.0000432692.54536.b7

TUNE IN: DO BETA-BLOCKERS LOWER THE NEUROPATHOLOGY ASSOCIATED WITH COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT AND DEMENTIA? In a post-mortem analysis of brains from the Honolulu-Asia Aging Study, a prospective, community-based study of Japanese-American men, investigators found that people who had been treated with beta blockers alone showed fewer microinfarcts, less brain atrophy, and fewer brain lesions of the type linked to Alzheimer's disease. The participants were aged 71-93 at baseline, and had hypertension without dementia when they entered the study. They were followed from 1991 through September 2010. During that time, 854 of the men developed cognitive impairment, and 1,199 developed cognitive decline.

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“While other researchers have demonstrated that people treated for hypertension have better cognitive outcomes than untreated persons, and at least one analysis identified a benefit related to the use of angiotensin receptor-blocking agents, I am aware of no previous reports comparing the benefits of beta blocker meds with other meds for hypertension for any type of dementia,” said lead study author Lon White, MD, clinical professor of geriatric medicine at the Pacific Health Research Institute in Honolulu, who has been studying Alzheimer's disease for 30 years.

In a video interview, Neurology Today editorial advisory board member David Gill, MD, a cognitive behavioral neurologist at Unit Rehabilitation & Neurology in Rochester, NY, comments on the key clinical take-aways from the study and suggests questions for future research. Read the full Neurology Today article about the study first reported at this year's AAN annual meeting here: Click the link for the video commentary with Dr. Gill:

© 2013 American Academy of Neurology