University Of PittsburghOlder women might want to be all ears to this news. A study from the Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health claims that high blood pressure could pose a bigger threat for women developing dementia by augmenting white matter abnormalities in the brain.

The study, part of the multisite and long-term Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS), encompassed about 1,424 women, who were 65 years or more. They apparently had their blood pressure evaluated yearly and experienced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain. The study authors evaluated white matter lesions, which appear to be linked to augmented threats for suffering from dementia and stroke. White matter supposedly comprises of around 60 percent of the brain and embraces nerve fibers in charge of interaction among the brain’s areas.

Lewis Kuller, M.D., Dr.P.H., professor of epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, commented, “Hypertension is very common in the U.S. and many other countries, and can lead to serious health problems. Proper control of blood pressure, which remains generally poor, may be very important to prevent dementia as women age.”

Dr. Kuller added, “Women should be encouraged to control high blood pressure when they are young or in middle-age in order to prevent serious problems later on. Prevention and control of elevated blood pressure and subsequent vascular disease in the brain may represent the best current preventive therapy for dementia.”

Women who, at the beginning of the study, were hypertensive i.e. showed a blood pressure of 140/90 or more, considerably had more white matter lesions on their MRI after eight years as compared to subjects with standard blood pressure. Lesions appeared to be more general in the frontal lobe, the brain’s emotional control center as opposed to the occipital, parietal or temporal lobes.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension.