By Luke Andrews For Mailonline
Published: 09:44 BST, 8 September 2020 | Updated: 15:59 BST, 8 September 2020
High blood pressure and diabetes can impair thinking and memory, a study has found.
An examination of 22,059 brain scans - including 1,100 with diabetes - revealed 'significant structural changes' in the grey and white matter of those suffering from the diseases.
When these individuals did a pair-matching test with a healthy partner to assess their memory and reaction time, scientists found they fared worse than their counterparts.
The results also revealed high blood pressure was associated with worse mental decline in mid-life, between the ages 44 to 69, but had a lower impact on those aged over 70.
High blood pressure and diabetes could impair brain function, a study said. Scientists found individuals suffering from the diseases had poorer recall and reaction times (stock image)
The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, said high blood pressure was associated with lower mental performance.
Writing in their paper, the scientists said the effect was small, with mental processing slowed down by only a fraction of a second.
But given the speed with which signals are passed through the body's nerves, this small decline still had a measurable impact.
'The major implication is that these risk factors don't just have an influence on what happens later in life - the risk of developing dementia - they also have an impact on the brain and current levels of cognitive function in mid-life.'