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Two studies look at high blood pressure

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Study links high blood pressure with aging of brain

Neurologists at UC Davis measured the affect that high blood pressure had on the brains of 579 participants and concluded that even a little bit higher than normal blood pressure can lead to damage to the structural integrity of the brain that is evident by age 40.  While gray matter volume—the neurons and axons that make up the brain’s central processing unit—and white matter—the thick cables of brain tissue that speed electrical signals among the regions of the brain—generally decline with age, these indicators became even more pronounced.  The participants ranged in age from 19 to 63 and at every age, the higher blood pressure readings meant that gray matter shrank and white matter integrity decreased.  As cardiovascular disease has already been linked to greater risk of dementia, the study authors recommended that blood pressure control be sought for younger patients.  Read the article here.

New drug offers help for patients with high cholesterol levels

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital studied the effect of a new drug, AMG 145 that they say was able to help patients reduce their LDL (sometimes referred to as bad cholesterol) levels by as much as 66 percent in only 12 weeks.  This is good news for the individuals whose bodies don’t tolerate or sufficiently respond to current medications.  Study participants that received AMG 145 every two weeks, saw reduced LDL cholesterol levels.  More studies will need to be held for larger groups and for longer times but researchers were optimistic.  Read more here.

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