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Brain diseases see reduction from medical test

Category: Autoimmune Diseases

Understanding how the body functions as a unit can be difficult to grasp, since it contains so many intricate systems interacting and working independently at the same time. Doctors try to treat individual illnesses as they arise, but sometimes these ailments are products of problems in other parts of the body. Knowing this is only half the battle, however, as finding applicable treatments has heretofore been uncommon at best.

Recent research involving tissue and blood testing revealed that some of these medications are more effective than others in treating underlying and associated conditions. Specifically, clinicians found that those taking beta blockers for high blood pressure saw far fewer degenerative brain symptoms than those taking mixed or non-beta blocker prescriptions.

The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) revealed that a 20 year research trial, the Honolulu-Asia Aging Study, showed a strong correlation between healthier hearts and brains. The study looked at more than 750 Japanese-American men between the ages of 70 and 95, some of whom were taking only beta blockers, while the majority took other blood pressure medications or a mixture of the two kinds. Those only being administered beta blockers saw a highly reduced incidence of lesions and infarcts, abnormalities in cerebral tissues associated with Alzheimer's and dementia.

Identifying problems before they arise
By testing various tissues and performing blood tests after death, doctors found that, while those taking both beta blockers and other pressure pills saw reduced instances of these symptoms, their outcomes were not as good as those only on blocking medications. Testing other vital fluids for various existing conditions could be an additional step to rule out any other medical factors.

Lon White, a doctor involved in the study, said in an AAN statement that these results could be extremely important in the years to come, since the incidence of Alzheimer's is expected to skyrocket. CNN pointed out that beta blockers are already a common treatment for heart-related illnesses, so using blood tests to determine if these are appropriate remedies for older patients could help improve the overall mental health of seniors in the future.

"We know that there are connections between brain health and heart health," said Heather Snyder, Ph.D., director of medical and scientific operations at the Alzheimer's Association, quoted by the news source. "So if you have heart problems, you should have them diagnosed and treated because there are many benefits for later life brain health."

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