(CNN)--A study funded by the National Institutes of Health indicates that intensive blood-pressure control could slow the progression of age-related brain damage.

The nationwide study analyzed MRI brain scans of hundreds of people who took part in the NIH's Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial.

It found a link between blood pressure and what are known as "white matter lesions," which reflect a variety of changes deep inside the brain.

Researchers found that intensive blood pressure control was better at slowing the build-up of white matter lesions than standard high blood pressure treatment.