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Psychology in the News

Allen Publishes Article on Race and Hypertension

Allen Publishes Article on Race and Hypertension

Ben Allen, a research assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, recently published an article titled, “The prospective relationship between prehypertension, race, and whole-brain white matter microstructure” in the Nature research publication Journal of Human Hypertension.

“Compared with white individuals, black individuals develop high blood pressure earlier in life and exhibit greater organ damage associated with high blood pressure,” Allen said. “There is a potential need for increased prevention efforts in black individuals with high blood pressure.”

Allen used a community sample of 100 middle-aged adults with prehypertension in the research, undergoing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at the beginning of the research and once again two years later to quantify the white matter structural integrity of their brains. Researchers also collected blood pressure readings of the participants at the beginning and at the two-year mark.

“Our results showed that higher blood pressure at baseline associated with a decrease in white matter structural integrity over two years in black individuals only,” Allen said. “These findings suggest that black individuals are more susceptible to the impact of high blood pressure on the brain.”

Coauthors on the paper include Julian Thayer from The Ohio State University and Richard Jennings, Peter Gianaros, and Matthew Muldoon from the University of Pittsburgh.

By Kelly Alley

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