Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Brain Responsible For High Blood Pressure | Monday, 16 April 2007 | The brain, not the heart, may be responsible for high blood pressure, said British researchers yesterday. The find could give new clues to preventing and treating the disease.

Hypertension - which can lead to heart attacks, strokes and kidney damage, may be an inflammatory vascular disease of the brain rather than the heart - as previously thought.

The British team behind the find discovered that a protein located in the brain of rats, JAM-1, traps white blood cells. This can then cause inflammation and obstruct blood flow, leading to poor oxygen supply to the brain.

The researchers still have much to understand about the precise mechanism of the disease, but their initial findings are to be published in the next edition of medical journal Hypertension.

"JAM-1 could provide us with new clues as how to deal with this disease [in people]," said physiologist and lead researcher Julian Paton, from Bristol University in England.

"We are looking at the possibility of treating those patients that fail to respond to conventional therapy for hypertension with drugs that reduce blood vessel inflammation and increase blood flow within the brain," he said.

"The future challenge will be to understand the type of inflammation within the vessels in the brain, so we know what drug to use and how to target them," said Paton

Aside from medication, conventional treatment for reducing high blood pressure includes eating low fat food, reducing salt intake and regular exercise.

"This exciting study is important because it suggests there are unexpected causes of high blood pressure related to blood supply to the brain commented Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director of the British Heart Foundation in London. "It therefore opens up the possibility of new ways to treat this common, but often poorly managed condition."

About one in three people in both Britain and Australia - and more than 600 million people worldwide - are thought to suffer from hypertension. (Nino Guevara Ruwano)


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