The study, published in the British Medical Journal found that a class of high blood pressure drugs called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) is associated with a striking decrease in the risk of occurrence and progression of dementia.
That is good news for the treatment of the mind-robbing illness that affects 35 million people worldwide.
Lead scientist, Benjamin Wolozin from Boston University School of Medicine, looked at the incidence of dementia in 800,000 Americans aged 65 or older, who suffered from heart disease.
The researchers compared the patients in groups that included those using an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB); those using an ACE inhibitor called lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril); and those using other blood pressure/heart disease medications (excluding statins).
Those who took angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) were up to 50% less likely, over the study period, to be diagnosed with dementia compared with those on other blood pressure medication.
When taken in combination with ACE inhibitors, the risk was even further reduced.
Unchecked high blood pressure can result in damaged blood vessels, and this is known to increase the risk of strokes and dementia as well.