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Preeclampsia and Altered Cognitive Performance: A Glimpse Into the Future?

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McEniery, Carmel M 


The human brain continually receives, integrates and responds to a variety of information in performing cognitive processes, which are vital for independent functioning. However, with ageing, there is a decline in cognitive function and an increased prevalence of neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia – a problem exacerbated as the population, as a whole, ages. Attempts to understand the causal factors have highlighted a number of conditions that may contribute to, or even accelerate, age-related cognitive decline, including various cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity. Indeed, it is well accepted that hypertension is a major contributor to cognitive ageing, with hypertension in mid-life associated with significantly increased risk for cognitive decline in later life, independently of stroke1, while mid-life elevations in systolic blood pressure and pulse pressure, are related to cognitive impairments in later life2, 3. An accumulating body of evidence also demonstrates that hypertensive individuals exhibit structural and functional changes in the cerebrovascular system, such as increased white matter lesions4 and altered cerebrovascular blood flow5, which themselves relate to impaired cognitive function. Hypertensive individuals also exhibit altered levels of Alzheimer’s disease-related pathology (decreased brain glucose metabolism; appearance of B-amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles6), all of which have been implicated in cerebrovascular dysfunction.



Cognition, Female, Humans, Pre-Eclampsia, Pregnancy

Journal Title

Am J Hypertens

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Oxford University Press (OUP)


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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) (unknown)
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) (146281)
NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre