Hardening of arteries also increases Alzheimer`s risk

Washington: A new research has claimed that among elderly people showing no signs of dementia, hardening of the arteries could lead to the beta-amyloid plaques in the brain - hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.

The study involved 91 people with an average age of 87 who did not have dementia. Researchers took scans of the participants' brains to measure any plaques in the brain.

The amount of stiffness in the participants' arteries was measured about two years later.

50 percent of all participants had beta-amyloid plaques. People with beta-amyloid plaques were more likely to have high systolic blood pressure, higher average blood pressure and higher arterial stiffness as measured with the brachial-ankle method.

For every unit increase in brachial-ankle arterial stiffness, people were twice as likely to have beta-amyloid plaques in the brain.

Arterial stiffness was highest in people who had both amyloid plaques and white matter hyperintensities in the brain, or brain lesions.

Study author Timothy M. Hughes, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh said that these two conditions may be a 'double-hit' that contributes to the development of dementia.

He asserted that compared to people who had low amounts of amyloid plaques and brain lesions, each unit of increase in arterial stiffness was associated with a two- to four-fold increase in the odds of having both amyloid plaques and a high amount of brain lesions.

The study has been published online in the journal Neurology.