In several recent studies, scientists have found that common high blood pressure drugs may help protect the brain and prevent chronic brain diseases.
For example, researchers from the University of Cambridge found that a prescribed high blood pressure drug felodipine may help prevent Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
The two diseases have a common feature: Build-up of misfolded proteins.
These proteins can form ‘aggregates’ that cause irreversible damage to nerve cells in the brain.
In healthy people, the body has a mechanism called autophagy to prevent the build-up of misfolded proteins. But this function is damaged in people with brain diseases.
The researchers tested the drug on mice and found that the drug was effective to reduce the risk of Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease.
This drug could help induce autophagy in several neurodegenerative conditions.
The study suggests that re-purposing existing drugs may help treat brain diseases and benefit lots of people.
The study is published in the journal Nature Communications.
In another study, researchers from the University of Leipzig in Germany shows that several high blood pressure drugs are linked to lower dementia risk.
The drugs include angiotensin II receptor blockers, ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, calcium channel blockers, and beta-blockers.
The team examined 12,405 patients with dementia and 12,405 patients without dementia.
They suggest that it is important to take high blood pressure drugs to prevent hypertension-related cognitive decline.
People at a high risk of dementia also need to have healthy lifestyle habits, including eating the DASH diet, taking exercise regularly and sleeping well at night.
The study is published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
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