Preserved blood pressure and heart rate circadian rhythm in early stage Alzheimer’s disease.

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BACKGROUND: This study investigated the blood pressure (BP) values over the day-night period in 11 noninstitutionalized patients affected by probable Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in its early stage. The scientific aim was to detect whether the BP circadian rhythm (CR) was preserved, given the fact that CR disruption was observed in advanced or institutionalized AD patients.

METHODS: The BP within-day values were gathered via noninvasive ambulatory monitoring. The BP time series were analyzed according to the chronobiological procedure, called Cosinor method with three harmonic components.

RESULTS: The biometric analysis was able to document that BP changes over the 24-h scale in AD patients as a function of a significant CR. Such a preserved circadian regulation is, however, compromised in the second and third harmonic component, suggesting that the BP within-day variability is desynchronized by the environmental clues that act as synchronizers during the diurnal part of the day.

CONCLUSIONS: The preservation of the BP CR in the early stage of AD suggests using such a finding as a clinical tool for confirming the recent onset of the disease. As a matter of fact, it is presumed that the disease is not evolved enough to reach the suprachiasmatic nuclei, wherein is located the BP circadian pacemaker. The abolition of the ultradian components is another precocious sign that, in turn, indicates early-stage AD patients to be particularly compromised in their synchronization to diurnal cues, such as social routines, meal timing schedule, psycho-physical activity, and occupational schemes.

Source: J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 1999 Jun;54(6):M304-8

PMID: 10411018, UI: 99336799

(Internal Medicine, University of Rome La Sapienza, Italy. cugini@axrma.uniromal.it )

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