And how is YOUR subfornical organ?
In a recent article, I mentioned a “bracelet” that measures blood pressure. No cuff, no catheters, no needles. Just a bracelet around the wrist. This got me thinking about what else might be new for people with hypertension.
Well what DO you know! Here’s a good one. The root of the hypertension problem may not be the arteries. Dr. Robin Davison of Cornell (Journal of Clinical Investigation) says the brain is the reason that blood pressure gets “stuck” at high levels. He says the problem is in the subfornical organ at the very bottom of the brain which is responsible for the way both the arteries and the heart interact to raise the pressure. The good thing is that this particular structure, because of its location, should be easily reached by therapeutic drugs (not true for most things in the brain because of the “blood brain barrier”).
Does this matter?
About a third of Americans (and most older Americans) have high blood pressure. There are things that can be done to treat it. Sometimes they work. Sometimes they don’t. But there’s room for something better – something that gets more directly at the cause. There’s a particular hormone which acts on the subfornical organ during stress. Davison has shown that when drugs are administered to counter the influence of that hormone, the elevated blood pressure returns to normal. Just like that. If this idea can be turned into a practical drug, stress induced hypertension might be much much easier to deal with.
Wouldn’t that be nice?– – – – – – – – – – – – Credit for the nifty head flipper above: Me.