Home Tags Posts tagged with "blood pressure drugs"

blood pressure drugs


Researchers have uncovered the first evidence that blood pressure drugs, called ACE inhibitors, may actually boost brainpower, as doctors have long recognized that taking the drugs may slow the onset of Alzheimer’s.

Those with high blood pressure are more at risk of developing Alzheimer’s and similar diseases, but the study found their memory and thinking skills were protected by the drugs they were taking.

ACE inhibitors – whose names  include ramipril, captopril and perindopril – have become increasingly popular in the past ten years, particularly for younger patients.

Researchers in Ireland and Canada investigated drugs which target a specific biochemical pathway called the renin angiotensin system – a hormone system which is thought to affect the development of Alzheimer’s.

The study compared the rate of cognitive decline in 361 patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia (caused by problems in blood supply to the brain), or a mix of both. Of that group, 85 were already taking ACE inhibitors; the rest were not.

Doctors have long recognized that taking ACE inhibitors may slow the onset of Alzheimer’s

Doctors have long recognized that taking ACE inhibitors may slow the onset of Alzheimer’s

The researchers also analyzed the impact on 30 patients, with an average age of 77 years, who were taking the drugs for the first time.

They were assessed over six months, using the Standardized Mini Mental State Examination or the Quick Mild Cognitive Impairment tests.

Those taking ACE inhibitors experienced marginally slower rates of cognitive decline than those who were not, found the study in the journal BMJ Open.

Meanwhile, the brainpower of those patients who had been newly prescribed ACE inhibitors actually improved, the experts from University College Cork in Ireland and McMaster University in Ontario, Canada found.

It is the first evidence to suggest these drugs may not only halt cognitive decline, but may actually improve brainpower.

The researchers said: “Although the differences were small and of uncertain clinical significance, if sustained over years, compounding effects may well have significant clinical benefits.”

They warn that ACE inhibitors are harmful to some patients, so if larger studies confirm they work well in dementia, it may be only certain people with high blood pressure who stand to benefit.

Previous studies have linked other forms of blood pressure medication with anti-dementia benefits.

Among the most widely used ACE inhibitors are perindopril (also known as Coversyl), ramipril (Tritace), captopril (Capoten), trandolapril (Gopten), fosinopril (Staril), lisinopril (Zestril and prinivil).

They work by stopping the body from creating the hormone angiotensin II. This has a variety of effects but essentially relaxes blood vessels and helps reduce the amount of water re-absorbed by the kidneys – helping decrease blood pressure.


Venomous reptiles may provide a good source for new drugs for human diseases, British researchers in Liverpool say.

Venom has already been used to create drugs, but the chemicals in it are often too deadly for human consumption.

However, a study, published in the journal Nature Communications, has shown snakes and lizards have “reclaimed” some toxins and used them, safely, elsewhere in their own bodies.

Scientists think these reclaimed toxins could make safe and effective drugs.

Venomous reptiles may provide a good source for new drugs for human diseases

Venomous reptiles may provide a good source for new drugs for human diseases

Researchers compared the genomes of venomous snakes and lizards to see how the animals’ venoms had evolved.

They said it was an “unexpectedly dynamic” process, with chemicals in venom being formed through evolution and then later being adopted by parts of the body for other uses.

Dr. Nicholas Casewell, from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, said: “Our results demonstrate that the evolution of venoms is a really complex process.”

He said venom seemed to evolve a lot of new functions, possibly to overcome resistance in prey.

“The venom gland of snakes appears to be a melting pot for evolving new functions for molecules, some of which are retained in venom for killing prey, while others go on to serve new functions in other tissues in the body,” he said.

Dr. Wolfgang Wuster, from Bangor University, said: “Many snake venom toxins target the same physiological pathways that doctors would like to target to treat a variety of medical conditions.”

The cardiovascular system, heart and blood vessels, is one of the main targets of snake venom when attacking prey and it has played a role in the origins of some blood pressure drugs such as ACE inhibitors.

The nervous system is another similar area. The challenge has been to overcome the toxic effect of the toxins.

“This means that drug developers have had to modify toxins to retain their potency and make them safe for drug use,” said Dr. Nicholas Casewell.

However, the scientists involved in the study believe nature may have already done the hard work, with reptiles making the toxins safe for their own use.

Dr. Nicholas Casewell said it would be a “whole new source” for drug discovery.