Low blood pressure increases the risk of cognitive decline in older people. Researchers at the University of Leiden, Netherlands, tested whether stopping antihypertensive treatment in patients with mild cognitive deficits would improve their cognitive function.
The researchers measured blood pressure, cognitive health and daily function in two groups of patients, all aged over 75 years, who either stopped (n=180) or continued antihypertensive treatment (n=176) for 16 weeks. Diastolic and systolic blood pressures increased in the group whose treatment was stopped. But there was no difference in the change in overall cognitive function, nor in separate cognitive domains (psychomotor speed, executive function or memory) between the two groups after 16 weeks.
Stopping antihypertensive treatment in older patients with mild cognitive deficits had no short-term effect on cognitive, psychological or daily functioning, conclude the researchers in JAMA Internal Medicine (online, 24 August 2015)
 Moonen JEF, Foster-Dingley JC, de Ruijter W et al. Effect of discontinuation of antihypertensive treatment in elderly people on cognitive functioning — the DANTE study Leiden: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Internal Medicine 2015. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.4103