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Reduced sympathetic outflow and deficits in cerebral hemodynamics have been considered as possible factors mediating the impaired cognitive performance in essential hypotension. However, the relationship between systemic blood pressure (BP), cerebral blood flow and cognitive functioning is still poorly understood. The present study was aimed at clarifying the physiological processes underlying cerebral and systemic hemodynamics in young hypotensives during cognitive engagement. Doppler sonography blood flow velocities in both middle cerebral arteries were measured from 17 hypotensives and 15 normotensives during a working memory task. Impedance cardiographic and BP measures were also recorded continuously. Lower increases in systolic and diastolic BP were observed in hypotensives. However, no evidence of lower sympathetic control was found for this group, as assessed by pre-ejection period. Flow velocity in middle cerebral arteries showed a lower increase in hypotensives throughout the task. Moreover, significant positive correlations between BP changes and blood flow velocities in middle cerebral arteries during the task were obtained for this group only, suggesting a less effective cerebral autoregulation. No difference was found between groups in task performance. Results suggest that during cognitive challenge hypotensives show impaired hemodynamic adjustments, both central and peripheral. However, such alterations do not directly affect cognitive performance, at least under moderate cognitive load.
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- Impaired cerebral and systemic hemodynamics under cognitive load in young hypotensives: a transcranial Doppler study
Massimiliano de Zambotti
- Springer US