Washington: Controlling or preventing risk factors such as hypertension earlier in life may limit or delay the brain changes associated with Alzheimer`s disease and other age-related neurological deterioration, a new study has suggested.Dr. Karen Rodrigue, assistant professor in the UT Dallas Center for Vital Longevity (CVL), was lead author on a study that looked at whether people with both hypertension and a common gene associated with risk of Alzheimer`s disease (the APOE-4 gene carried by about 20 percent of the population) had more build-up of the brain plaque (amyloid protein) associated with Alzheimer`s disease. Based on evidence that hypertension was associated with Alzheimer`s disease, Rodrigue suspected that the double-whammy of hypertension and presence of the APOE-e4 gene might lead to particularly high levels of amyloid plaque in healthy adults.Rodrigue`s research was part of the Dallas Lifespan Brain Study, a comprehensive study of the aging brain in a large group of adults of all ages funded by the National Institute on Aging. As part of this study, the research team recruited 147 participants (ages 30-89) to undergo cognitive testing, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and PET imaging, using Amyvid, a compound that when injected travels to the brain and binds with amyloid proteins, allowing the scientists to visualize the amount of amyloid plaque. Blood pressure was measured at each visit.
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