Printer Friendly

How hypertension affects memory.

People suffering from mild hypertension often lag behind those with normal blood pressure on several general tests of memory and learning. But scientists have yet to pin down the specific components of memory that prove most sensitive to elevated blood pressure.

A new study suggests that the memory deficits displayed by hypertensives revolve around tasks requiring speedy mental manipulations and retrieval of just-learned information. The scores of hypertensives on such tests do not necessarily reflect any problems in performing routine daily activities, but the statistically strong disparity between hypertensives and controls with normal blood pressure cannot be attributed to differences in age, education, or psychological health, according to James A. Blumenthal, a psychologist at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and his colleagues.

Blumenthal's group recruited 100 white adults ranging in age f rom 29 to 59 years old. Of that number, 68 met the criterion for hypertension, defined as blood pressure between 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and 180/105 mm Hg. The remaining volunteers displayed normal blood pressure readings, averaging 111/72 mm Hg.

Participants completed eight tests that, the researchers assert, encompass three dimensions of memory: rapid information processing and recall of just-learned material, verbal memory, and memory for shapes. Hypertensives performed more poorly than controls only on measures tapping into the first dimension, Blumenthal and his associates contend in the January-February PSYCHOSOMATIC MEDICINE.

For instance, immediately after studying either two, four, or six digits shown on a video screen, hypertensives took longer to indicate whether a single digit presented later on the screen had been part of the original set. They also required more time to draw a line connecting a series of letters and numbers in sequence (1-A, 2-B, and so on).

The ways in which sustained hypertension may alter brain function and thus subtly interfere with mental activity remain unknown, the researchers note.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:people with high blood pressure perform mental manipulations and retrieve recently-learned information more slowly than people with normal blood pressure
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Mar 20, 1993
Previous Article:In the wild, a bolt of "bucky" luck.
Next Article:Pregnancy troubles, before and after.

Related Articles
Signs and sounds of high blood pressure.
Caffeine and hypertension: a bad brew?
Brain graft causes hypertension in rats.
White-Coat Hypertension.
Salt trial provokes DASH of skepticism.
Selected Ongoing Clinical Trials (*). (Featured CME Topic: Hypertension).
High blood pressure may cost you your wits.
Hypertensive men living in a southern city: is it a recipe for disaster?
The relationship between depressive symptomatology and high blood pressure in Hispanic elderly.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters