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Health Psychol. 2003 Nov;22(6):587-91.

Effects of hypertension on attention, memory, and executive function in older adults.

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  • 1Institute for Ageing and Health, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.


Hypertension is associated with impairments in cognitive function in older adults, but the nature and extent of these deficits are unclear. Brief cognitive measures lack sensitivity, whereas comprehensive assessments produce numerous variables that are difficult to interpret. The authors performed a principal-components analysis using a computerized cognitive assessment battery and neuropsychological measures of executive function in 506 hypertensive and normotensive older participants. Composite factor scores were used to reanalyze data from 223 untreated participants without vascular complications. The hypertensive group had deficits in Speed of Cognition, Episodic and Working Memory, and Executive Function but not Continuity of Attention. Using composite scores simplified data interpretation and suggested differential effects of hypertension on cognitive performance not clearly evident in individual test results.

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