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Blood pressure link to brain

16th April 2007

Research conducted by scientists at Bristol University suggests that the cause of high blood pressure may originate from inside the brain.

10042006_brain1.jpgAs reported in the journal Hypotension, lead researcher Professor Julian Paton and his colleagues studied rats in order to isolate a protein, JAM-1. The protein seemed to obstruct blood flow by trapping white blood cells. This obstruction can lead to inflammation and a restricted oxygen supply to the brain.

The scientists believe these factors can cause events that raise blood pressure. Professor Paton said: "The future challenge will be to understand the type of inflammation within the vessels in the brain, so that we know what drug to use, and how to target them.?

Professor Paton put forward the idea that those patients who do not respond to conventional therapy could be treated with drugs to reduce inflammation and improve blood flow in the brain.

High blood pressure affects roughly one in five people in Britain. Whilst it is known that the brain has an effect on blood pressure, the results of the study could generate new advances in the treatment of the condition.

The study, founded by the British Heart Foundation, showed JAM-1 is associated with high blood pressure, but did not pinpoint the systems behind it. The scientists are now examining the human brain to find out more.
 
Professor Graham MacGregor, chairman of the Blood Pressure Association, underlined the effectiveness of current blood pressure medications and called for further research.

 

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