A new study suggests that people with a genetic predisposition to high blood pressure have a lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
However, authors conclude the connection may have more to do with anti-hypertension medication than high blood pressure itself.
“It’s likely that this protective effect is coming from antihypertensive drugs,” said co-author John Kauwe, associate professor of biology at Brigham Young University. “These drugs are already FDA approved. We need to take a serious look at them for Alzheimer’s prevention.”
The study, published this month in PLOS Medicine, analyzed genetic data from 17,008 individuals with Alzheimer’s and 37,154 people without the disease. Data came from the Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Consortium and the International Genomics of Alzheimer’s Project.
BYU researchers worked with scholars from the University of Cambridge, Aarhus University in Denmark and the University of Washington on the massive study. BYU’s role was to flex its muscles in supercomputing and bioinformatics. With the help of BYU’s supercomputer, Kauwe and undergraduate student Kevin Boehme pieced together 32 data sets for the analysis.