Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New research casts doubt over heart disease treatments

15.03.2007
Some treatments for high blood pressure could be increasing the risk of heart attacks and causing more people to need cardiac pacemakers, according to new research findings published today.

High blood pressure is sometimes treated by calcium channel blockers to reduce the heart beat, as the channels – which allow calcium into the cells – are linked to muscle contraction. But the channels are also fundamental to the electrical currents which create the heartbeat.

University of Leeds scientists Dr Matthew Lancaster and Dr Sandra Jones have discovered that the channels gradually fail as we age and this failure is a likely factor in arrythmia and heart attacks in the elderly. By blocking the channels to treat high blood pressure, clinicians may unwittingly be increasing the likelihood of other problems developing.

Dr Lancaster said: “Many people suffer from an irregular heartbeat as they grow older and large numbers have pacemakers fitted. Making the link between these heart problems and the failure of the calcium channels as we age has flagged up a warning sign that some common medical treatments may be making the condition worse. Clinicians should think carefully before prescribing calcium channel blockers and ensure that, in treating one heart condition, they aren’t exacerbating others.”

... more about:
»Heart »blood pressure »pacemaker »pressure

The beating of the heart is caused by an electrical signal, which starts at the top of the heart in the sinoatrial (SA) node and is transmitted down to cause consecutive muscle contraction of the different chambers. The electrical signal is generated through an influx of calcium into the cells in the SA node, causing a change in voltage which creates the current.

Calcium enters the cells through channels – so these are fundamental to a steady heart beat. If the calcium channels are reduced, the heartbeat becomes irregular leading to a fall in blood pressure, fainting, and potentially, if untreated, death. These are the symptoms which can mean a patient needs a cardiac pacemaker fitted – but they may be exacerbated by treatment for high blood pressure which blocks the calcium channels.

The link between age and loss of calcium channels opens up new possibilities of treating heart conditions. Dr Jones said: “It may be possible to mitigate the effects of the loss of calcium channels through gene therapy, as the treatment would only be required in one specific area – the sinoatrial node – so should be fairly easy to administer.”

The researchers also think exercise may also be a factor. As members of the sports science group in Leeds’ Faculty of Biological Sciences, Drs Lancaster and Jones are now looking at whether exercise training is able to reduce the loss of the calcium channels in the SA node.

The research is published this week in the journal of the American Heart Association, Circulation.

Abigail Chard | alfa
Further information:
http://www.fbs.leeds.ac.uk

Further reports about: Heart blood pressure pacemaker pressure

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Show me your leaves - Health check for urban trees
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

nachricht Liver Cancer: Lipid Synthesis Promotes Tumor Formation
12.12.2017 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Multi-year submarine-canyon study challenges textbook theories about turbidity currents

12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>