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J Hum Hypertens. 2012 May;26(5):295-305. doi: 10.1038/jhh.2011.31. Epub 2011 Apr 14.

Regional grey matter shrinks in hypertensive individuals despite successful lowering of blood pressure.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


The aim of the study was to determine whether the reduction in brain grey matter volume associated with hypertension persisted or was remediated among hypertensive patients newly treated over the course of a year. A total of 41 hypertensive patients were assessed over the course of a 1-year successful anti-hypertensive treatment. Brain areas identified previously in cross-sectional studies differing in volume between hypertensive and normotensive individuals were examined with a semi-automated measurement technique (automated labelling pathway). Volumes of grey matter regions were computed at baseline after a year of treatment and compared with archival data from normotensive individuals. Reductions in regional grey matter volume over the follow-up period were observed despite successful treatment of blood pressure (BP). The comparison group of older, but normotensive, individuals showed no significant changes over a year in the regions tested in the treated hypertensive group. These novel results suggest that essential hypertension is associated with regional grey matter shrinkage, and successful reduction of BP may not completely counter that trend.

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