Study finds an association between systolic blood pressure in middle age and dementia

A study published in the latest edition of the European Heart Journal has found that individuals aged over 50 with systolic blood pressure  over 130 mmHg had a increased risk- they were one and a half times more likely to develop dementia- than peers with ‘ideal’ blood pressure. 



To examine associations of diastolic and systolic blood pressure (SBP) at age 50, 60, and 70 years with incidence of dementia, and whether cardiovascular disease (CVD) over the follow-up mediates this association.

Methods and results

Systolic and diastolic blood pressure were measured on 8639 persons (32.5% women) from the Whitehall II cohort study in 1985, 1991, 1997, and 2003. Incidence of dementia (n dementia/n total = 385/8639) was ascertained from electronic health records followed-up until 2017. Cubic splines using continuous blood pressure measures suggested SBP ≥130 mmHg at age 50 but not at age 60 or 70 was associated with increased risk of dementia, confirmed in Cox regression analyses adjusted for sociodemographic factors, health behaviours, and time varying chronic conditions. Diastolic blood pressure was not associated with dementia. Participants with longer exposure to hypertension (SBP ≥ 130 mmHg) between mean ages of 45 and 61 years had an increased risk of dementia compared to those with no or low exposure to hypertension. In multi-state models, SBP ≥ 130 mmHg at 50 years of age was associated with greater risk of dementia in those free of CVD over the follow-up.


Systolic blood pressure ≥130 mmHg at age 50, below the conventional ≥140 mmHg threshold used to define hypertension, is associated with increased risk of dementia; in these persons this excess risk is independent of CVD.

The full article is available to read at European Heart Journal

Full reference:
Abell, J.G., et al | 2018| Association between systolic blood pressure and dementia in the Whitehall II cohort study: role of age, duration, and threshold used to define hypertension | European Heart Journal  ehy288|

See also:

OnMedica  Blood pressure below treatable threshold linked to heightened dementia risk

In the media:

BBC News Unfit in middle age:Are you doomed?


Lighting intervention improves sleep and mood for Alzheimer’s patients

A tailored lighting intervention in nursing homes can positively impact sleep, mood and behavior for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, according to preliminary findings from a new study | American Academy of Sleep Medicine | via ScienceDaily


People with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias may experience sleep problems, wandering, and associated daytime irritability. This study tested whether a tailored daytime lighting intervention could improve sleep and behavior in Alzheimer’s patients living in long-term care facilities.

The study involved 43 subjects diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias who were exposed to an active and inactive tailored lighting intervention for successive 4-week periods. Compared to baseline and to the inactive lighting condition, the lighting intervention significantly decreased sleep disturbances, depression and agitation. While all measures improved, the most significant improvement was seen in sleep quality.

Full story at ScienceDaily

Further detail: American Academy of Sleep Medicine


Dementia Assessment and Referral

Information on the Dementia Assessment and Referral data collection for the period April 2017 to March 2018 | NHS England

This data collection reports on the number and proportion of patients aged 75 and over admitted as an emergency for more than 72 hours in England who have been identified as potentially having dementia, who are appropriately assessed and who are referred on to specialist services.

March 2018 Data (Quarter 4 2017-18) (released 6th June 2018)

Dementia – the true cost

Dementia – the true cost: fixing the care crisis | Alzheimer’s Society 

This report from Alzheimers Society is based on qualitative research from five listening events with people affected by dementia, social care professionals and dementia lead nurses in Winchester, Newcastle, Birmingham, Cardiff and Belfast. In total, evidence and testimony was gathered from over 70 people to get an in-depth understanding of the challenges they face day-in and day-out to get the care they need.

The report highlights the inadequacies in the care system regarding dementia patients. The number of potentially unnecessary hospital admissions among dementia patients has risen by 73% across 65 hospital trusts, from 31,000 in 2012 to around 55,000 in 2017. Some of this apparent increase may be attributable to better recording over that period  but the report said that this could not account for the full increase.

Full report: Hutchings, R. Carter, D.& Bennett, K. | Dementia – the true cost: fixing the care crisis  | Alzheimer’s Society | May 2018

See also: Dementia patients ‘abandoned’ by system | BBC