A new study to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting in March reveals that beta blockers, a class of blood pressure drugs, may be effective in reducing the risk of dementia and other mental illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease.
Around 774 Japanese American men took part in the study and agreed to have their brains examined after their deaths. The researchers found that around 610 men had suffered high blood pressure but just 40 of them had taken beta blockers.
The researchers also discovered that those who took beta blockers also displayed a slower rate of cognitive decline.
"With the number of people with Alzheimer's disease expected to grow significantly as our population ages, it is increasingly important to identify factors that could delay or prevent the disease. These results are exciting, especially since beta-blockers are a common treatment for high blood pressure", lead researcher Dr Lon White, from University of Hawaii, said.