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In a new study, neuroscientists at Oxford University have found that raised blood pressure and diabetes in mid-life alter brain structure to slow thinking speed and memory.

Close up of multiple head and brain MRI imaging

Looking at results from 22,000 volunteers in the UK Biobank who underwent brain scanning, the scientists found that raised blood pressure and diabetes significantly impaired the brain’s cognitive functions, specifically the performance of thinking speed and short-term memory.

Masud Husain, Professor of Neurology and Cognitive Neuroscience at the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences and lead investigator of the study, said, ‘For blood pressure, every mm of pressure in your arteries counts – even in people who aren’t on any treatment. For people who are on treatment, systolic blood pressures above 140 mm were associated with lower cognitive performance. The higher the pressure, the worse it is.’

The full story is available on the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences website

This story is also featured on the University of Oxford website