The relationship between blood pressure and cognitive function

Vera Novak, Ihab Hajjar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

246 Scopus citations


The relationship between blood pressure (BP) and cognitive outcomes in elderly adults has implications for global health care. Both hypertension and hypotension affect brain perfusion and worsen cognitive outcomes. The presence of hypertension and other vascular risk factors has been associated with decreased performance in executive function and attention tests. Cerebrovascular reserve has emerged as a potential biomarker for monitoring pressure-perfusion-cognition relationships. A decline in vascular reserve capacity can lead to impaired neurovascular coupling and decreased cognitive ability. Endothelial dysfunction, microvascular disease, and mascrovascular disease in midlife could also have an important role in the manifestations and severity of multiple medical conditions underlying cognitive decline late in life. However, questions remain about the role of antihypertensive therapies for long-term prevention of cognitive decline. In this Review, we address the underlying pathophysiology and the existing evidence supporting the role of vascular factors in late-life cognitive decline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)686-698
Number of pages13
JournalNature Reviews Cardiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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