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The American Heart Association

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Abstract/ Summary

Our objective is to characterize the development of the literature on hypertension and cognitive functioning from a historical perspective. This goal was stimulated by the review on “Historical Trends and Milestones in Hypertension Research” in the October 2012 issue of Hypertension. Our specific aims are threefold: (1) to trace and describe the history of this area of research; (2) to identify milestones in knowledge and methods; and (3) to discuss briefly how this literature translates into patient care. The topic is of major relevance to research and practice because hypertension is a well-known risk factor for decline in cognitive performance within the normal range of cognitive functioning, mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia. It is important to emphasize 3 features of the review: (1) it is not designed as a critical review of the literature, but rather to describe the historical influences on our current knowledge base (poor, mediocre and outstanding papers from the past have all shaped our present); (2) word-count limitations require that we omit statistical detail except to emphasize effect sizes in pivotal papers; and (3) each milestone topic is addressed by noting the earliest work then followed by examples of papers representing pivotal events. A number of comprehensive re- views of this literature are available, including a seminal paper summarizing the formative years of this research. Please see for citations to additional reviews of the literature and papers published in Hypertension. We recognize the importance of the emerging literature on hypotension and cognitive function, but refer the readers to previous reviews which include this topic.

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© 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.




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