Children with primary hypertension demonstrated significantly lower performance on neurocognitive testing, compared with children without primary hypertension, according to Marc B. Lande, MD, of the University of Rochester (N.Y.), and his associates.

In the study, 75 children with newly diagnosed untreated primary hypertension and 75 normotensive control subjects were examined. Hypertension was linked with worse performances on neurocognitive measures of attention, learning, memory, and fine motor dexterity, compared with the controls. There also was an association between increased disordered sleep and worse executive function. This was more pronounced in children with hypertension than in normotensive children. Hypertension and control groups did not differ significantly in age, sex, maternal education, income, race, ethnicity, obesity, anxiety, depression, cholesterol, glucose, insulin, and C-reactive protein.

“These results suggest that hypertension in youth may have an impact on brain function, and perhaps brain development, in childhood,” the researchers concluded. “Future results from this study will assess the degree to which these effects can be minimized or reversed with antihypertensive therapies.”

Find the full study in the Journal of Pediatrics (2016 Sept 29. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.08.076 ).