A clinical trial conducted in the United States found that people treated intensively for hypertension were less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment, which develops in an early stage of Alzheimer's disease.
The history of the fight against Alzheimer's disease is fraught with hope and disappointment, so the results of the Sprint Mind study published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association should be taken with caution.
But the number of participants in the research and the good statistical quality of their results give relevance to the study, the first to discover a way to prevent memory problems or concentration in the elderly.
"This is the first test that demonstrates an effective strategy for the prevention of age-related cognitive deficits," said Kristine Yaffe, a specialist in neurodegenerative diseases at the University of California, San Francisco.
The test involved more than 9,000 adults over 50 years old with hypertension. Half received treatment to reduce systolic pressure to less than 140 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) and the other half to less than 120 mmHg, a more ambitious goal.
After a close follow-up of five years, the doctors did not observe any difference between the two groups in a measure of "probable dementia".
However, the intensive treatment group had significantly less "mild cognitive impairment."
Mild cognitive impairment is a stage that includes, according to the Alzheimer's Association, obvious difficulties in finding the correct word or name, difficulty remembering the names of people who were recently found or forgetting something immediately after reading it, it.
All people with Alzheimer's have gone through this phase, but not all people with mild cognitive impairment develop Alzheimer's disease.
As the study is not conclusive that treatment of hypertension would prevent Alzheimer's disease, the association will finance an extension of the two-year study to further evaluate patients. (AT)