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Researchers discover that a hypertension drug is useful for Alzheimer’s

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A group of researchers has discovered that a drug used for blood pressure, nilvadipine, can be very useful for treating the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. In particular, this drug seems to increase blood flow in the brain facilitating the process of memory and learning in people with Alzheimer’s disease and this without affecting other parts of the brain.

The research, published in Hypertension, a journal of the American Heart Association, therefore raises the issue of cerebral blood flow in patients with Alzheimer’s. With this pathology, the blood flow of the brain usually decreases to the point of affecting the normal brain and cognitive processes. In turn, nilvadipine is used to treat hypertension, a condition in which blood pressure in the veins is too high.

The researchers conducted experiments on 44 mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease participants. Using placebo substances, in addition to nilvadipine, over the course of six months the researchers noticed, using MRI at the end of the experiment, that the flow of blood in certain brain regions, especially towards the hippocampus, had increased by 20% in those patients who took nilvadipine compared to the control group. Instead, blood flows to other brain regions remained unchanged.

This is a study with too few subjects to talk about a drug but, according to Jurgen Claassen, a researcher at Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, the study’s lead author, this is a promising treatment to maintain safety levels of brain health or at least slow the rate of memory decline in Alzheimer’s patients.

Luke Foster

I am a Mathematics major at Northern Illinois University and a part-time editor for The Pantagraph, along with this publication. It's my pleasure to help contribute news stories to this site whenever I see something interesting, not just to help educate others but also to learn more about different areas of research myself.

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