The importance of blood pressure and its variability to dementia: an individual participant data meta-analysis from the VARIABLE BRAIN consortium.
High blood pressure is the leading modifiable risk factor for dementia and cerebrovascular diseases. A recent line of investigation in neurology and cardiology indicates that fluctuations in a person’s blood pressure over time are more strongly linked with cerebrovascular diseases than a person’s average blood pressure. This variability in blood pressure also impacts dementia, cognitive function and brain health, however, there have been few studies on this topic. Our aim is to test the hypothesis that fluctuations in blood pressure are associated with dementia and cognitive decline, and secondly, whether the use of certain blood pressure drugs can promote better brain health. To achieve our aims we will bring together researchers from North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, analysing data from 14 studies with information on cognitive function and blood pressure (total=43,219 persons). By thoroughly investigating blood pressure and brain health in this manner, we will help inform decisions on the best strategy to reduce dementia risk.
Dr Tully has a Masters and PhD in Clinical Psychology and is a current NHMRC early career research fellow in the Discipline of Medicine at the University of Adelaide where he leads the Vascular & Brain Health Laboratory. He holds grants worth $1.7 million in the last 5 years and leads an international consortium focussing on blood pressure variability and its relationship with dementia, cognitive impairment, cerebral small vessel disease (VARIABLE BRAIN consortium).