An implant that resembles the wire above a champagne cork can offer a new way to tackle high blood pressure.
The small cage-like device is implanted into an artery in the neck where specialized nerves are located that are essential for the body's natural blood pressure control mechanism.
The nerves, called baroreceptors, act as sensors that detect when vessel walls are under pressure – a sign that blood pressure rises too high – and then pass this information on to the brain. As a result, the heart rate drops, causing the blood vessels to dilate or dilate, which lowers blood pressure.
But research suggests that prolonged elevated blood pressure can lead to malfunction of the baroreceptors, so that the nerves no longer respond to tension build-up in the vessel walls – and high blood pressure begins to interpret as & # 39; normal & # 39 ;.
A new medical device in the shape of the wire that wraps around a champagne cork can be the solution for high blood pressure
The new device, developed by the American Vascular Dynamics, exerts pressure on the sensors that they reset, so that the brain believes that blood pressure is constantly being raised and takes steps to bring it back. More than 200 people are taking part in a clinical trial of the device after a study showing that it significantly lowered dangerously high blood pressure in a small group of patients.
There are an estimated 12 million people in the UK with high blood pressure, and if they are not controlled, this can increase the risk of stroke, heart attack and vascular dementia.
About 500,000 people in the UK have so-called resistant hypertension, which means that their blood pressure remains high even though they use three or more different types of medication for it.
The four-sided titanium implant, which is about the size of a fingernail, can be especially beneficial for this group of patients.
The NHS believes that around 1 in 4 adults in the UK have high blood pressure, but many do not know this
It is inserted folded through a small incision made in an artery in the groin. Loaded into a tube or catheter, it is navigated through the blood vessels and up into one of the two carotid arteries in the neck in an area called the carotid artery, a collection of nerve endings where the baroreceptors are located.
The procedure is performed under local anesthesia.
Once in place in the neck, the cage is opened and positioned so that it exerts a small amount of force on the baroreceptors.
A study reported in The Lancet two years ago in 30 patients in the Netherlands and Germany who had the device installed showed that the majority of patients had reduced their blood pressure to a normal level within a few months.
A trial is now underway with around 200 patients whose high blood pressure has not been controlled by medication.
The study includes centers in the UK, including the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, Royal Sussex County Hospital and St Bartholomew's Hospital in London.
Dr. Punit Ramrakha, a consultant cardiologist at Hammersmith Hospital in London, says that focusing on baroreceptors is a major influence. can have on blood pressure.
He adds: & # 39; The first clinical trial was encouraging and it would be exciting to see if this new trial could license the device for more general use. & # 39;
Dementia risk in your eyes
The eyes can be a window to your risk of dementia.
Researchers from the University of California who asked people to remember lists of numbers discovered that the students were enlarged more by people with mild memory problems than by the others. A small part of the brain, the locus coeruleus, is the first to be clogged by tau, a protein that is characteristic of Alzheimer's disease and is also the key to pupil size.
Measuring the pupil dilation rate can be a simple and inexpensive way to detect people at risk for Alzheimer's, reports the journal Neurobiology of Aging.
Acne link with & # 39; male & # 39; hands
Dermatologists have discovered that women with a ring finger long than their index finger – a so-called & # 39; male & # 39; ratio – more likely to develop acne.
The Menoufia University team in Egypt writes in the Indian Journal of Dermatology that exposure to high testosterone levels (which affects the growth of the ring finger; estrogen stimulates the index finger) in the womb may not only lengthen a woman's ring finger but makes her also more sensitive to the hormone – known as a factor in female acne.
Deakin & Blue turns the tide on plastic waste and makes its swimsuits from yarn made from plastic waste
Things that are good for you and the universe.
This week: recycled swimwear
You probably don't realize that your bikini is made of plastic, but that's exactly what nylon is.
Sustainable swimwear brand Deakin & Blue, however, turns the tide on plastic waste, makes its 100 percent Econyl bathing suits, a regenerated yarn made from plastic scraps – so that they are taken out of the environment so that they do not end up in landfills or in our oceans and reuse them , instead of making fresh plastic.
Better yet, the new material is even stronger than virgin nylon – and twice as durable against salt water, chlorine and oils such as sunscreen, which means that these swimsuits also last longer.
All products are made in London and are also packaged in reusable and recyclable materials, and part of the profit is donated to marine conservation activities.
- From £ 85, deakinandblue.com
Did you know?
People with depression can experience a pick-me-up by simply raising their body temperature.
In a small study from 2016, people with depression were placed in a room that raised their body temperature to 38.5c – and reported a more significant reduction in symptoms compared to those in a placebo group, the journal JAMA Psychiatry reported.
The ways in which sex affects your body. This week: the testicles
Testicles increase by half as much during sex, according to Vivek Wadhwa, a urological surgeon consultant at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and Spire Parkway Hospital.
& # 39; During excitement, the testicles become larger due to blood vessels full of blood & # 39 ;, he says.
& # 39; This causes thickening of the skin of the scrotum (the outer bag) and filling of the testicles. & # 39;
However, this magnification is not easy to see, because during the sex the testicles are pulled into the groin (by the cremaster muscle in the scrotum), both to protect them and to allow the sperm a shorter journey from the testicles to the end of the penis.
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