Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Alzheimer's Disease Health Center

Font Size

Lowering High Blood Pressure Can Reverse Some Dementia in the Elderly



In addition to magnetic resonance scans, the patients were also assessed using memory and psychological tests. At study onset the scores on those tests were about "20% to 40% below normal. That means that these were people who were functioning but they were becoming limited. For example, they didn't wander off, but you wouldn't want these patients driving," says Jacobson.


Jacobson says that drug doses were increased until the patient reached the blood pressure goal of 130/90. Using this aggressive treatment approach "patients reached the goal by 12 weeks," says Jacobson. All patients had repeat memory and psychological tests at 12 weeks and again at six months.


At 12 weeks, both thinking and memory improved by 15% to 40%, and there were similar improvements in gait and other movements, says Jacobson. These improvements were still present at six months, he says.


The patients who had the most marked improvements on the memory and psychological tests -- about a third of the patients -- also had a type of brain scan called a PET scan. "PET scans measure brain activity and brain metabolism," says Jacobson. "The scans demonstrated a high level of brain activity in these patients."


Marvin Moser, MD, clinical professor of medicine at Yale University School of Medicine, tells WebMD that data from other studies suggest that controlling blood pressure in patients as old as 80 can improve many aspects of life, including cognitive function. He says that although high blood pressure is called "a silent killer, patients often tell us that they don't feel that well when they have high blood pressure. When the pressure comes down, the patient feels better."


Moser, who wasn't involved in the study, is an outspoken advocate for the elderly. He says that treating high blood pressure in an 80-year-old reduces the patient's risk of stroke and heart failure, as well as improving cognitive function.


Jacobson says that he is planning a much larger study to confirm the results of his small study.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

Remember your finger
When it’s more than just forgetfulness.
senior man with serious expression
Which kinds are treatable?
senior man
Common symptoms to look for.
mri scan of human brain
Can drinking red wine reverse the disease?
eating blueberries
Colored mri of brain
Close up of elderly couple holding hands
mature woman
Woman comforting ailing mother
Senior woman with serious expression