For the study, researchers surveyed 226 people with prior cerebrovascular disease (stroke or TIA--transient ischemic attack). All study participants received either the ACE inhibitor perindopril (4mg daily) or placebo(s). All participants had a cerebral MRI at the beginning of the study and a follow-up MRI examination three years later to measure the presence and volume of incidental white matter lesions. The prevalence of white matter lesions increases with age, is strongly associated with hypertension, and has been shown to increase the risk of dementia, severe cognitive impairment, or gait disturbances.
"Overall, the volume of new white matter lesions in the patients who took the placebo was 5 times higher compared to those who received the blood pressure medication--and more than 7.5 times higher for those patients who had severe white matter lesions upon entry," said study co-author Carole Dufouil, PhD, researcher at unit 360 of INSERM (Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale) located at Hopital La Salpetriere, Paris, France. "Of those patients in the active treatment group who had severe white matter lesions upon entry, none experienced an increase in lesions. The results clearly indicate that a blood pressure lowering regimen in stroke patients stops or delays further ischemic brain damage."
The study was funded by grants from Servier, the Health Research Council of New Zealand, and the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.
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Editor's Notes: Dr. Dufouil will present this research during a scientific session at 4:00 p.m. PT (7:00 p.m. ET), Tuesday, April 27, in room 306 of the Moscone Convention Center.