The Notebook

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Hypertension and Learning
mari ::: Research

Photo Credit:light2shine

Researchers have long suspected a connection between hypertension in children and learning differences. Now a new study from the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and published in the journal Pediatrics suggests that even when variables such as socio-economic levels are evened out, children with hypertension were four times more likely to have cognitive problems.

"This study also found that children with hypertension are more likely to have ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)," said Heather R. Adams, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at URMC, and an author of the study. "Although retrospective, this work adds to the growing evidence of an association between hypertension and cognitive function. With four percent of children now estimated to have hypertension, the need to understand this potential connection is incredibly important" (for more on this study visit URMC or see Science Daily).

Hypertension in children, however is not easy to diagnose and complicated by a of guidelines based on age, height and gender. A Johns Hopkins Children's Center study of 2,500 patient records suggests that medical staff fails to check a child's blood pressure a fifth of the time, and is not recognizing what constitutes an abnormal reading in those whose blood pressure they do check (more here).

Tables of current recommended blood pressure guidelines for children can be found here.