“For the first time we’ve shown that what is good for the heart is also good for the brain.”
At the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) in Chicago, Illinois, NeurologyLive sat down with Jeff D. Williamson, MD, MHS, to discuss the preliminary results from the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) Memory and Cognition IN Decreased Hypertension (MIND) trial, research that was part of the federally funded SPRINT.

The professor of internal medicine and epidemiology, chief of geriatric medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine and co-director of Wake Forest Alzheimer's Disease Core Center, noted that the findings suggest that intensive lowering of blood pressure, may reduce the risk for mild cognitive impairment and the combined risk of mild cognitive impairment and dementia, but not dementia alone.

Although SPRINT MIND did not show a reduction in dementia that was significant—revealing a 15% non-significant reduction in the occurrence of dementia in the intensively treated group—Williamson said the trial demonstrated that a systolic blood pressure target of <120 mmHG (intensive treatment) is more effective at reducing the risk for developing mild cognitive impairment than a blood pressure target of <140 mmHG (standard treatment).

The investigators reported a statistically significant 19% reduction in relative risk of new cases of mild cognitive impairment in the intensive blood pressure treatment group (P = 0.01), while the combined outcome of mild cognitive impairment plus probable all-cause dementia was 15% lower in the intensive versus standard treatment group (P = 0.02).

Williamson adds that not only is blood pressure lowering safe for the brain, but also beneficial. It’s anticipated findings will be submitted for a peer-reviewed publication later this year.