A study that was just recently published has suggested that a class of drugs that is typically used for reducing blood pressure levels is now promising as a method to help to slightly slow the progression of dementia among elderly patients. The research also suggested that it could marginally enhance the brain power of those patients.
The long term study examined the data from 361 patients whose average age was in their mid seventies. They had each received a diagnosis of some form of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s Disease. The doctors who conducted the research were located in Cork, Ireland.
The subject group were patients who were enrolled at the memory clinics that were run by two university hospitals in Ontario, Canada. These patients were monitored from 1999 through 2010 through the use of two different standard tests that were utilized for tracking their cognitive skills.
Among those subjects, 85 percent had already been taking a type of blood pressure medication that is in a category that is known as centrally active angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (CACE-I drugs) at the time that they were enrolled into the research. The patients who were in that group experienced a measurable, though notably small, slowing in their mental decline when compared to the remainder of the people who participated in the study and who did not take the medication.
The scientists also conducted a smaller investigation within the study, assessing the mental power of thirty of the participants who had newly been prescribed the blood pressure medications, within the first six months of using those drugs.
What they discovered was that there was a slight improvement in the group of study participants who were taking the CACE-I drugs when compared to those who were not taking those medications. This represented the first time that this type of improvement had ever been recorded.
The research paper, which appeared in the British Medical Journal (BMJ Open), and stated that “Although the differences were small and of uncertain clinical significance, if sustained over the years, the compounding effects may well have significant clinical effects.” The researchers added that they have not identified the cause behind the small but measurable increase and they caution against using CACE-I drugs in an unrestricted way, as certain side effects are possible and the risk of experiencing them could increase.
It should also be noted that in 2009, there was another study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine that suggested a bigger, long-term slowing impact on mental decline from the use of this class of drug.