Effects of adult age and blood pressure on executive function and speed of processing.
Previous research has established that the effects of chronically increased blood pressure (BP) on cognition interact with adult age, but the relevant cognitive processes are not well defined. In this cross-sectional study, using a sample matched for age, years of education, and sex, 134 individuals with either normal BP (n = 71) or chronically high BP (n = 63) were categorized into younger (19-39 years), middle-aged (41-58 years), and older (60-79 years) groups. Using a between-subjects analysis of variance (ANOVA), covarying for race and years of education, composite measures of executive function and perceptual speed both exhibited age-related decline. The executive function measure, however, was associated with a differential decline in high BP older adults. This result held even when the executive function scores were covaried for speed, demonstrating an independent, age-related effect of higher BP on executive function.
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