White Coat Hypertension Is Not Harmless

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Blood Pressure” by Bernard Goldbach is licensed under CC BY 2.0José R. Banegas, M.D.
Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
Madrid, Spain

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Population-based studies and a few relatively small clinical investigations have defined the prognostic role of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) in hypertensive patients. However, previous studies were mostly limited by relatively small number of outcomes.

Our study is the largest worldwide and provides unequivocal evidence that ABPM is superior to clinic pressure at predicting total and cardiovascular mortality across a wide range of clinical scenarios – the differences are striking. Also, whether white-coat hypertension is a benign phenotype is still debated.

Our study demonstrates that white-coat hypertension was not benign. Lastly, masked hypertension patients (clinic BP normal but ABPM elevated) experienced the greatest risk of death.   Continue reading

Blood Pressure Med Linked to Increased Risk of Pancreatic Cancer in Postmenopausal Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Zhensheng Wang, M.P.H., Ph.D. Postdoctoral Associate Duncan Cancer Center-Bondy Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX, US

Dr. Wang

Zhensheng Wang, M.P.H., Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Associate
Duncan Cancer Center-Bondy
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Our prior research consistently found a significant inverse association between circulating levels of soluble receptor for advanced glycation end products (sRAGE), an anti-inflammatory factor, and risk of pancreatic cancer. It has also been found that sRAGE levels or RAGE signaling are modulated by anti-hypertensive (anti-HT) medications, including angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors (ACEi), β-blockers, and calcium channel blockers (CCBs). These medications have been shown in prior pre-clinical or experimental research to either increase sRAGE concentrations, decrease formation of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), or dampen pro-inflammatory receptor for AGE (RAGE) signaling pathway. We therefore hypothesized that there would be an inverse association between use of anti-HT medications and risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is a major public health concern in the United States, as it is the 4th leading cause of cancer-related mortality with an estimated of 43,090 deaths in 2017. Pancreatic cancer typically occurs in elderly individuals who also have chronic comorbid medical conditions, such as hypertension. Anti-HT medication use in individuals ≥ 18 years old has increased from 63.5% in 2001-2002 to 77.3% in 2009-2010, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in the U.S. Therefore, it is of great public health significance to address the potential association between anti-HT medication use and risk of pancreatic cancer in the general population.

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Should Blood Pressure Measurement Be Repeated During Primary Care Visit?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Doctors” by Tele Jane is licensed under CC BY 2.0Doug Einstadter, MD, MPH

Center for Health Care Research and Policy
MetroHealth System and Case Western Reserve University 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  

Response: Despite the recognized importance of blood pressure (BP) control for those with hypertension, based on national surveys only 54% of patients with hypertension seen in primary care have their BP controlled to less than 140/90 mm Hg.

Blood pressure measurement error is a major cause of poor BP control. Reducing measurement error has the potential to avoid overtreatment, including side effects from medications which would be intensified or started due to a falsely elevated blood pressure. One way to reduce measurement error is to repeat the BP measurement during an office visit. The American Heart Association recommends repeating a blood pressure at the same clinic visit with at least 1 minute separating BP readings, but due to time constraints or lack of evidence for the value of repeat measurement, busy primary care practices often measure BP only once. Repeating the BP at the same office visit when the initial blood pressure measurement is high has the potential to improve clinical decision-making regarding BP treatment. Several studies have described the effect of a repeat BP measurement in the inpatient setting, but there are little data available to characterize the effect of repeating blood pressure measurement in an outpatient primary care setting.

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With Brain Microbleeds, Can Patients Tolerate Lower Blood Pressure?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Joshua Goldstein

Dr. Joshua Goldstein

Dr. Joshua Goldstein MD, PhD
J. Philip Kistler Stroke Research Center
Division of Neurocritical Care and Emergency Neurology, Department of Neurology MGH
Harvard Medical School, Boston Department of Emergency Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital
for the Antihypertensive Treatment of Acute Cerebral Hemorrhage 2 (ATACH-2) and the Neurological Emergencies Treatment Trials (NETT) Network Investigators  

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: It’s hard to know how aggressively to lower blood pressure in acute intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH).  Randomized controlled trials have been conflicting. We thought that we could use the presence of severe small vessel disease (SVD) – manifested by microbleeds seen on brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – to guide treatment decisions.  On the one hand, those with severe SVD may be most vulnerable to continued bleeding, and specifically need more intensive blood pressure lowering.  On the other hand, if they have impaired regulation of cerebral blood flow, they might be harmed by rapid drops in blood pressure, and maybe we have to be more careful with them.

To answer this, we performed a subgroup analysis of the multi-centre ATACH-2 clinical trial of intensive blood pressure lowering. This was the first study to assess the effect of randomized acute stroke treatment on patients with more severe SVD, manifested by microbleeds.  We found that no matter what your small vessel disease burden on MRI, you’ll respond the same to early blood pressure management.

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Preliminary Results Show NIAGEN® Has Potential To Lower Blood Pressure For Individuals With Pre-Hypertension

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Charles Brenner, PhD Chief Scientific Advisor ChromaDex

Dr. Charles Brenner

Dr. Charles Brenner, PhD
Chief Scientific Advisor

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is the central regulator of metabolism. NAD is under attack in multiple conditions of metabolic stress and declines in human aging. Thus, using supplements to maintain NAD has emerged as an important strategy to support healthy aging.

There are three vitamin precursors of NAD. However, two of those forms (niacin and nicotinamide) have unwanted side effects and/or inhibit some of the metabolic regulators that can be stimulated by higher NAD. Nicotinamide riboside (NR) is the most recently discovered NAD precursor vitamin. Research has shown that NR boosts NAD more than the other precursors, doesn’t cause flushing, doesn’t inhibit sirtuin enzymes, and that the pathway that converts NR to NAD is turned on in tissues undergoing stress and damage.

Commercialized as NIAGEN®, NR has been clinically proven to significantly increase NAD levels in people as an oral supplement. NIAGEN® is the only NR with published human safety, efficacy and tolerability studies.

The University of Colorado study is the first clinical trial showing that not only does NIAGEN® boost NAD levels, it also may have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health and function. Continue reading

Hair Growth/Blood Pressure Drug Minoxidil May Improve Vascular Elasticity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Beth Kozel M.D.-Ph.D The Laboratory of Vascular and Matrix Genetics LASKER CLINICAL RESEARCH SCHOLAR NIH

Dr. Kozel

Dr. Beth Kozel M.D. Ph.D
The Laboratory of Vascular and Matrix Genetics

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Elastin is a protein that allows the blood vessels to stretch and recoil. It is made as a child grows but once the child reaches adolescence, the body stops making elastin. With age, the body slowly begins to lose elastin and blood vessels become less flexible.

In order to study what happens when a vessel has less elastin, we used a mouse that makes half of the normal amount of elastin, the Eln+/- mouse. These mice have higher blood pressure, stiffer blood vessels and decreased blood flow to end organs such as the brain. We then used a blood pressure medication, minoxidil (this same medicine when used in topical form helps hair growth), and treated mice from weaning until 3 months of age. With treatment, Eln+/- blood pressure was lower, the vessels were less stiff and blood flow to the brain increased. That effect remained for weeks after the medication was stopped. Additional studies showed that more elastin was present in the vessel wall after treatment and more than 100 other connective tissue genes were also changed, suggesting vessel remodeling. Minoxidil works by causing cells in the blood vessel to relax, leading to a more open, or dilated artery. When taken chronically, our data suggest that the connective tissue associated with a blood vessel remodels, fixing it in a more open state and allowing better blood flow to the organ on the other side, in this case, the brain.

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Aggressive Systolic Blood Pressure Control In Older Patients With HFpEF Should Be Avoided

“Doctors” by Tele Jane is licensed under CC BY 2.0MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Apostolos Tsimploulis, Chief Medical Resident
Dr. Phillip H. Lam, Chief Cardiology Fellow
The Washington, DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Georgetown University, and
MedStar Washington Hospital Center, Washington, DC 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Hypertension is a major risk factor for the development of new heart failure (HF). Findings from multiple randomized controlled trials in hypertension have consistently demonstrated that controlling systolic blood pressure (SBP) to normal levels such as to SBP <120 mm Hg reduces the risk of developing new HF.

However, interestingly, once patients develop heart failure, those with a normal SBP value such as SBP <120 mm Hg tend to have poor outcomes. This paradoxical association – also called reverse epidemiology – although poorly understood – has been described with other HF risk factors such as smoking and obesity. Regarding poor outcomes associated with lower SBP in HF patients with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF – pronounced Hef-ref), it has been suggested that it may be a marker of weak heart muscle that is unable to pump enough blood. However, less is known about this association in patients with HF and preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF – pronounced Hef-pef) –– the heart muscle is not weak in the traditional sense.

This is an important question for a number of reasons: nearly half of all heart failure patients have HFpEF which accounts for about 2.5 to 3 million Americans. These patients have a high mortality similar to those with HFrEF – but unlike in HFrEF few drugs have been shown to improve their outcomes. Thus, there is a great deal of interest in improving their outcomes. One of those approaches is to control . systolic blood pressure and the 2017 ACC/AHA/HFSA Focused Update of the HF guidelines recommend that SBP “should be controlled in patients with HFpEF in accordance with published clinical practice guidelines to prevent morbidity.”

Thus, our study was designed to answer that simple question: do patients with HFpEF and SBP <120 mmHg, which is considered to be normal SBP, have better outcomes than those with SBP ≥120 mmHg.

Using a sophisticated approach called propensity score matching we assembled two groups of patients with HFpEF – one group with SBP <120 mmHg and the other groups had SBP ≥120 mmHg – and patients in both groups were similar in terms of 58 key baseline characteristics. In this population of balanced patients with HFpEF, those with a normal systolic blood pressure had a higher risk of mortality – starting 30 days post-discharge up to about 6 years. Finding from our restricted cubic spline plots suggest that compared with SBP <120 mm Hg, SBP values ≥120 mm Hg (up to 200 mm Hg) was not associated with a higher risk of death.

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How Much DASH Diet is Required To Reduce Uric Acid?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Blood Pressure” by Bernard Goldbach is licensed under CC BY 2.0Stephen P. Juraschek, MD, PhD

Instructor of Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Recent evidence suggests that the DASH diet is associated with lower uric acid levels and lower risk of gout. Furthermore, a secondary analysis of the DASH trial showed that complete replacement of a typical American diet with the DASH diet lowered uric acid levels. However, it is unknown if partial replacement of a typical American diet with DASH foods might lower uric acid.

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Sauna Bathing as a Positive Way To Improve Cardiac Health

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Sauna • 10 Ellen Street” by Tracey Appleton is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Prof. Jari A. Laukkanen MD, PhD
Cardiologist, Department of Medicine
Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition
University of Eastern Finland
Kuopio, Finland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We have shown that sauna bathing is associated with a variety of health benefits, based on a large population study.

Using an experimental setting this time, the research group now investigated the physiological mechanisms through which the heat exposure of sauna may explain positive effects on cardiovascular system.

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Early Studies Suggest Blood Pressure Medication Hydralazine May Slow Aging and Neurodegeneration

CrawlingCelegans Wikipedia

Crawling C. elegans
Wikipedia image

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Hamid Mirzaei, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry
University of Texas Southwestern
Department of Biochemistry
Dallas, TX 75390

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Aging is a complex process at the cellular level with distinct organismal phenotypes. Despite millennia-old obsession with aging and relentless pursuits for ways to stop and reverse it, such elixir has not been found due to the complexity of the involved mechanisms and our limited understanding of the processes that lead to aging. Although progress has been made in recent years in slowing down the aging process in model organisms and human cells.

In this study, we report that and FDA approved antihypertensive drug, hydralazine, decelerates aging in C. elegans by mechanisms that seem to resemble dietary restriction. We show that hydralazine increases the median lifespan of the C. elegans by 25% which is comparable to or better than other known antiaging compounds.

We demonstrate that not only hydralazine-treated worms live longer, they appear to be healthier in general. Because aging is directly linked to neurodegenerative diseases, we tested our drug on both in vitro and in vivo models of neurodegenerative diseases using chemical and biological stressors (rotenone and tau fibrils) and show that hydralazine has neuroprotective properties as well.

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