Blood Pressure Medication Promising for Alzheimer’s Patients

According to a new study published in the journal Hypertension, a frequently prescribed blood pressure medication may help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in patients.

Researchers randomly gave the drug nivaldipine or a placebo to study participants. After measuring blood flow to the brain by using a unique MRI technique, they found that those who took nivaldipine had, on average, a 20% increase in blood flow to the the hippocampus area of the brain, compared to those who took the placebo.

Prior European studies in 2014 and 2015 showed that Alzheimer’s patients who took nivaldipine for six months noticed a marked slow down in the progression of their symptoms. However, blood flow to the brain was not measured during those studies.

The new study, conducted by scientists at Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands focused on the reasons for the decrease in progression of the disease.

Although the study was small, the implications for Alzheimer’s patients, especially those in the early stages of the disease, may be huge, according to Dr. Jurgen Claassen, associate professor and lead author of the study. Further research on the matter may determine whether or not nivaldipine can be successfully used to augment current Alzheimer’s treatment.

Additionally, a new phase of study could determine if blood flow is increased in areas of the brain directly affected by Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s disease continues to be an issue for aging baby boomers; according to Alzheimer’s Disease International, there were 50 million Alzheimer’s patients worldwide in 2017. This number is expected to double every 20 years, reaching 75 million by 2030.

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