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Biotech Science

Brain Connection To Hypertension? 92

The possibility that one cause of high blood pressure lies within the brain, and not the heart or blood vessels, has been put forward by scientists at the University of Bristol, UK. A research group there found a novel role for a protein called JAM-1, located in the walls of blood vessels in the brain. JAM-1 traps white blood cells, which can then cause inflammation and may obstruct blood flow, resulting in poor oxygen supply to the brain. The article notes that the idea that hypertension is an inflammatory vascular disease of the brain is somewhat controversial.
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Brain Connection To Hypertension?

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  • by MollyB ( 162595 ) * on Monday April 16, 2007 @04:31AM (#18748049) Journal
    The summary says the finding is "controversial" but this appears inaccurate.


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

    As there is still poor understanding about what changes occur in people when hypertension develops, the finding of JAM-1 is of great interest and opens up multiple new avenues for further research and potential treatment.
    How is this controversial?
  • by nido ( 102070 ) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {65odin}> on Monday April 16, 2007 @06:17AM (#18748381) Homepage
    We know how that ended up changing things with regard to the treatment of ulcers.

    Your link says that nothing substantial changed, as the new conventional treatment doesn't work just like the old conventional treatment didn't work:

    Unfortunately, an increasing number of infected individuals are found to harbour antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This results in initial treatment failure and requires additional rounds of antibiotic therapy or alternative strategies. For resistant cases, a quadruple therapy may be used. Bismuth compounds are also effective in combination with the above drugs. For the treatment of clarithromycin-resistant strains of H. pylori the use of levofloxacin as part of the therapy has been recommended.

    Some people will benefit from any treatment, of course, due to the placebo effect, and sporadic success of treating ulcers with antibiotics is not indicative of accuracy of the theory ('ulcers are caused by bacteria').

    Incidentally, your link reminds me of a different overview for health I ran across some years back. Information doesn't sell nearly as well as pharmaceuticals, and the site disappeared sometime last year. fortunately still has a copy: Stomach Ulcers to Indigestion from Too Little Acid in the Stomach []. If I may be so bold as to summarize this website, it says that stomach ulcers result from an excess of metabolic acids in the body-system; the presence of large colonies of said bacterium are simply indicative of an extreme pH imbalance. The body generates acids as a normal part of the metabolic processes. Modern diets are deficient in the alkaline minerals necessary to neutralize these acids, and most don't get the exercise necessary to 'burn off' the acids either, hence the explosion of chronic disease of all sorts.

    There was also a page on heart disease []. Too bad you can't bottle this information up & sell it to people for $100/month... I have family members on high blood pressure medication, and they don't work very well. Their treatments would be so much more effective if they addressed the causes (chronic stress is the other big one), rather than just a symptom.
  • by geschild ( 43455 ) on Monday April 16, 2007 @06:58AM (#18748543) Homepage

    Fortunately (for me) I was referring to the part where the discovery of a bacterium as a cause, was a radical new insight that met loads of scepticism in the scientific an medical community. As it turns out, it did change a lot in the treatment of ulcers. The fact that treatment now is becoming more and more ineffective does nothing to diminish the discovery that a whole new mechanism is the main cause for Gastric Ulcers!

    The rest of your rant may or may not be accurate but nothing you say takes away from the fact that this research might mean a lot to the field. I want to see this new research carried forward until it is either proven or disproven and consequences are taken.

  • by lord_mike ( 567148 ) on Monday April 16, 2007 @11:26AM (#18750947)
    Not true...

    If it were so, then diuretics would not be a first line drug for hypertension, and considered to be the most effective ones at that. What you are saying is true for those who are not hypertensive, yes... but eating high amounts of salt, over time, puts serious strain on the kidneys, and can lead to future hypertension. If you are hypertensive, then sodium management plays a BIG role in your blood pressure.

    Americans eat more than 8 grams of sodium per day, on average... some people more than 10 grams... That's a hell of a lot of salt... Since sodium is about half the weight of salt, you are looking at about 16 grams of salt per day.

    In other words, Americans eat, on average, almost 3 tablespoons of salt a day... and the kidneys have to filter all that stuff out. It's not easy. Sodium filtration is very hard on the kidneys--it's the most challenging of all the kidney's filtration processes. One of the reasons why blood pressure increases with high sodium is that the kidneys need extra pressure to force the sodium through it's sodium "filter", especially if the kidneys have been damaged (and we all suffer some kidney damage as we get older). High salt really gives the kidneys a workout, and over time, causes them to wear out. When the kidneys get less effective in managing fluid balance, it can cause an incredibly dramatic shift in blood pressure. An increase in blood volume of only 2% can cause a 20 point increase in blood pressure. *ALL* essential hypertensives have fluid balance problems (many secondary hypertensives have other causes, like thyroid, adrenal, or neurological problems.. that is a different story). that is why hypertension docs are nephrologists... kidney specialists. The kidneys, and their regulation of blood volume, are the key to hypertension in 90% of cases.

    Our bodies are not designed to handle the incredibly high loads of salt we ingest daily. We were made to eat fresh food, where sodium (except for meat) is rather low...

    Low salt diets really work. I am on one... my parents are on one... If you do it right, you can avoid nasty blood pressure medicines that make you miserable.


  • Re:JAM-1 behavior (Score:2, Informative)

    by NIckGorton ( 974753 ) on Monday April 16, 2007 @03:13PM (#18754197)
    Well if you had a single meningococcus adhere to that blood vessel and try to squeeze its way through the blood brain barrier (that would result in fatal meningitis,) you'd want to be able to have a way to call WBCs to the area to kill it before it decides to start reproducing.

Only God can make random selections.