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BP >120/80 mm Hg Linked to Lower Gray Matter Volume

Lower regional gray matter volume tied to higher peripheral BP in young adults aged 19 to 40 years

THURSDAY, Jan. 24, 2019 (HealthDay News) — In young adults, lower gray matter volume (GMV) is seen in individuals with blood pressure (BP) >120/80 mm Hg, according to a study published online Jan. 23 in Neurology.

H. Lina Schaare, from the International Max Planck Research School in Leipzig, Germany, and colleagues examined the correlation between BP and GMV from structural 3T T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging of 423 healthy adults aged 19 to 40 years. Data originated from four unpublished studies; voxel-based morphometry was performed on each study separately and the results were combined in image-based meta-analyses to assess the cumulative effects.

The researchers found that lower regional GMV correlated with higher peripheral BP. Comparing individuals with subhypertension (systolic BP [SBP] 120 to 129 or diastolic BP [DBP] 80 to 84 mm Hg or SBP 130 to 139 and DBP 85 to 89 mm Hg) with those with SBP <120 and DBP <80 mm Hg, lower GMV was found with higher BP. In regions including hippocampus, amygdala, thalamus, frontal, and parietal structures, there was lower BP-related GMV.

“Contrary to assumptions that BP-related brain damage arises over years of manifest disease, our data suggest that subtle pressure-related GM alterations can be observed in young adults without previously diagnosed hypertension,” the authors write. “Our results highlight the importance of taking BP levels as a continuous measure into consideration, which could help initiate such early preventive measures.”

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