Drastically lowering blood pressure may help protect memory and thinking skills later in life, researchers reported Monday — the first hopeful sign that it’s possible to lower rates of mental decline.
The large blood pressure study looked at more than 9,000 people over the age of 50 years old found that those who lowered their blood pressure to 120 — the top number, or systolic blood pressure — were 19 percent less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment, the loss of memory and brain processing power that usually precedes Alzheimer’s disease. The results of the study, called Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial, or SPRINT, were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
It has long been known that aggressively lowering blood pressure can benefit those at high risk for heart disease, but this is the first time that the intervention has been shown to also help brain health.
Full story at NBC News
In direct contradiction to marketing efforts claiming that hookah (water pipe) smoking is less hazardous to health than cigarettes, a new UCLA study published in the American Journal of Cardiology found that just a half-hour of hookah smoking resulted in the development of cardiovascular risk factors similar to what has been seen with traditional cigarette smoking.
Researchers measured heart rate, blood pressure, arterial stiffness, blood nicotine and exhaled carbon monoxide levels in 48 healthy, young hookah smokers before and after 30 minutes of hookah smoking. The study showed that a single session of hookah smoking increased heart rate (by 16 beats per minute) and blood pressure; and significantly increased measures of arterial stiffness, a key risk factor in the development of cardiovascular conditions such as heart attack or stroke. The increase in arterial stiffness was comparable to data seen from cigarette smokers after smoking a cigarette.
“Our findings challenge the concept that fruit-flavored hookah tobacco smoking is a healthier tobacco alternative. It is not,” said Mary Rezk-Hanna, an assistant professor at the UCLA School of Nursing and lead author of the study.
Full story at Science Daily
Consuming just one energy drink can cause blood pressure and stress hormone levels to spike, according to a study of young, healthy adults.
The study found young adults who consumed one 16-ounce can of Rockstar Punched experienced a 74 percent increase in blood levels of the stress hormone norepinephrine,HealthDay reports. That level is more than double an average 30 percent increase the participants experienced when they consumed a sham energy drink with the same amount of sugar, but without the natural stimulants found in Rockstar.
Stimulants in Rockstar include caffeine, taurine, guarana, ginseng and milk thistle extract.
Full story of energy drinks and harmful spikes in blood pressure at drugfree.org
A medication used to treat high blood pressure might be useful in addiction treatment, a study of rats suggests. The drug, called isradipine, erased memories that led the rats to associate a certain room with cocaine or alcohol.
The University of Texas researchers trained rats to associate either a white or black room with a dose of cocaine or alcohol, Popular Science reports. Once they were trained, the rats always chose the color room that was associated with their addicted substance.
The researchers then gave the rats isradipine. Right after they took the drug, the rats returned to the same room. But in the following days, they did not show a strong preference for either room.
Full story of blood pressure medication for addiction treatment at drugfree.org