Researchers have long assumed that there is a link between hypertension and Parkinson’s disease. For instance, researchers from the University of Basel published back in 2008 that certain medications against hypertension apparently also reduce the risk of contracting Parkinson’s disease. The exact connection between the two diseases has thus far been unknown.
Now, a British-Italian research team was able to point out the connection and make an important contribution to improved treatment possibilities for Parkinson’s patients in the process. “Our results show that patients with hypertension have more serious forms of Parkinson’s disease than patients with normal blood pressure,” said Dr Beniamino Giordano of King’s College London speaking at the 3rd Congress of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) in Amsterdam.
For this study, the scientists analysed data from the worldwide Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) database sponsored by US actor and Parkinson’s patient Michael J. Fox. Their attention was mainly focused on the issue of whether certain Parkinson’s markers differed in early untreated Parkinson’s patients with and without hypertension and if so, to what extent. The study examined, among other things, motor and non-motor symptoms, neurological parameters, various biomarkers and the dopaminergic status. “It became clear that patients with hypertension exhibit motor symptoms of a greater severity such as muscular rigidity or a slowing of voluntary motor functions as well as a reduced capacity in the affected basal ganglia. However, these data are only preliminary and further analyses are needed to shed light on the link between hypertension and Parkinson’s”, Dr Giordano noted.
Dr Giordano is currently working at Neurodegeneration Imaging Group, directed by Professor Marios Politis. This research was conducted with the help of Dr. Pagano and of Prof. Nicola Ferrara, current President of Italian Society of Gerontology and Geriatrics.
These findings could lend important impetus not lest for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease: “The results suggest that optimum management of high blood pressure can also improve PD symptoms,” the study authors noted in their conclusion.