Blood pressure meds may reduce Alzheimer's risk

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Medications used to lower blood pressure, particularly diuretics, may help lower the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, according to new study results.

Researchers studying nearly 3,000 elderly people found that among people taking anti-hypertensives, there was an overall 40% reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease over a three- to four-year period. The study is reported in the March 13 online edition of the Archives of Neurology.

Drugs that lower blood pressure include diuretics, beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers. Diuretics appeared to offer the greatest benefit to study participants, but there was also a reduced risk with the use of calcium channel blockers, said study co-author Peter P. Zandi, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health.