Beta-blockers are nothing new. Doctors have been prescribing them for years as a way to control high blood pressure. But now, scientists are beginning to believe that beta-blockers may have another health application as well: protecting the brain from Alzheimer’s disease.
According to LA Times, a recent study performed autopsies on over 700 male brains, and found that those who had taken beta-blockers for hypertension (high blood pressure) had less evidence of brain lesions commonly found in Alzheimer’s disease. Those men also had less evidence of tiny strokes, called micro infarcts. So, according to the researchers, there may be a new link between the medication and protection of the brain.
A parallel study also had hopeful findings. It was determined in the research that men who took beta-blockers had less cognitive decline as they aged than those who did not.
But don’t expect doctors to be prescribing beta-blockers for Alzheimer’s patients quite yet. This is just the beginning of the research. When the initial study was done, only 40 of those 700 men were on beta-blockers, not a large enough number to determine the results conclusive. Luckily, the unexpected and encouraging results of those studies have spurred other research to begin testing whether or not this common blood pressure medicine may have other applications. It seems that we may be one step closer to finding a way to slow or prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Source: LA Times