To investigate the association between blood pressure and mortality in people aged 85 and older.
Population-based prospective study with 9-year follow-up.
Department of Neuroscience and Neurology and Department of Public Health and General Practice, University of Kuopio, and Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Helsinki University Hospital.
Of all 601 people living in the city of Vantaa born before April 1, 1906, whether living at home or in institutions and alive on April 1, 1991, 521 were clinically examined and underwent blood pressure measurement.
Blood pressure was measured using a standardized method in the right arm of the subject after resting for at least 5 minutes. Information on medical history for each participant was verified from a computerized database containing all primary care health records. Death certificates were obtained from the National Register; the collection of death certificates was complete.
After adjusting for age, sex, functional status, and coexisting diseases (earlier-diagnosed myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, dementia, cancer, stroke, or hypertension), low systolic blood pressure (BP) was associated with risk of death.
Low systolic BP may be partially related to poor general health and poor vitality, but the very old may represent a select group of individuals, and the use of BP-lowering medications needs to be evaluated in this group.
The consortium on dementia with Lewy bodies has established consensus guidelines for the neuropathologic diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) including the likelihood that the neuropathologic findings associate with the clinical syndrome. Nevertheless, clinico-pathological correlations remain controversial. We applied the consensus guidelines for determining Lewy-related pathology (LRP) and evaluated the clinical presentation in the prospective, population-based Vantaa 85+ study consisting of individuals at least 85 years of age. LRP was seen in 36% of 304 subjects and categorized as follows: 3% brainstem-predominant, 14% limbic, 15% diffuse neocortical type (4% could not be categorized). The likelihood that the neuropathology predicts the DLB clinical syndrome was low in 6%, intermediate in 13%, and high in 13% of all 304 subjects. In the latter two groups, 77% were demented, 35% had at least one extrapyramidal symptom, and 15% had visual hallucinations. Surprisingly, DLB clinical features associated better with high neurofibrillary stage than with diffuse neocortical LRP. Moreover, the neurofibrillary stage, substantia nigra neuron loss, and grade of Lewy neurites in hippocampal CA2-3 region, each showed a significant association with the extent of LRP. In conclusion, the neuropathologic DLB in this very elderly population was common, but the clinical symptoms tended to associate better with severe neurofibrillary pathology than with extensive LRP.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between dementia and common vascular risk factors including blood pressure, blood lipids, homocysteine and diabetes mellitus in a population of very old people. This study is a 9-year follow-up prospective population-based study monitoring 339 non-demented subjects aged 85 years or over in the city of Vantaa, Southern Finland. During the follow-up, those individuals with diabetes mellitus at the baseline and new incident stroke had a higher probability for developing dementia. History of hypertension or higher level of education were associated with a lower probability of dementia. It seems that the contribution of vascular risk factors to the risk of dementia may be age-dependent and their role in the very old subjects may be mediated through their influence on cerebrovascular morbidity. Thus, prevention of stroke and diabetes mellitus may reduce the risk of cognitive decline in the very old.