Nav: Home

Gene study could help heart patients cut craving for salt

March 29, 2016

Scientists have shed light on why some people crave salty food, even when they know it can seriously damage their health.

The study helps researchers understand how the brain controls our appetite for salt, and how it impacts on blood pressure levels.

The findings suggest it could soon be possible to offer heart disease patients a medicine that helps them manage their salt intake and curb the adverse effects of high blood pressure.

Scientists modified mice to remove a gene in a small number of cells in the mouse brain. This gene is known to be linked with high blood pressure in humans but the way this is controlled is unclear.

Removing the gene caused the mice to develop a strong appetite for salt - when offered a choice of normal drinking water or saltwater, they consumed three times more saltwater than unmodified mice.

The trial also showed that the modified mice went on to experience high blood pressure for as long as they drank saltwater. When the saltwater was removed their blood pressure returned to normal.

The findings suggest that the gene plays an important role in controlling both the appetite for salt, and its effect in raising blood pressure, scientists say.

The team will now research whether an affordable drug - already used to treat heart disease in some countries - can help to bring salt intake under control in patients with heart failure.

The results have been published in the journal Circulation.

Dr Matthew Bailey, who led the study at the University of Edinburgh/BHF Centre for Cardiovascular Science, said: "In the UK we routinely eat much more salt than our bodies need. For most people this is bad for our heart, blood vessels and kidneys. Our study shows that we have a genetic drive to consume salty food. Understanding how this process works may help us reduce the amount of salt we eat and make it easier for people to follow low-salt diets."
-end-
Dr Bailey recently gave a TEDx talk on the results of this study, which can be found here:

Dr Matthew Bailey at TEDx: Life in a Salt-Saturated Society

University of Edinburgh

Related High Blood Pressure Articles:

One in 3 high blood pressure patients failing to take medication
University of Leicester researchers design novel urine test to help to diagnose adherence to blood pressure medications.
'Connshing syndrome' named as a new cause of high blood pressure
Research led by scientists at the University of Birmingham has revealed a new cause of high blood pressure which could lead to major changes in managing the disease.
Do you really have high blood pressure?
A study by researchers at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) shows that more than half of family doctors in Canada are still using manual devices to measure blood pressure, a dated technology that often leads to misdiagnosis.
Why do we develop high blood pressure?
Abnormally high blood pressure, or hypertension, may be related to changes in brain activity and blood flow early in life.
Sodium intake high, rising among people with high blood pressure
Despite recommendations to limit sodium intake to support a heart-healthy lifestyle, daily sodium intake significantly increased in Americans with high blood pressure from 1999-2012, according to a study scheduled for presentation at the American College of Cardiology's 66th Annual Scientific Session.
High folic acid level in pregnancy may decrease high blood pressure in children
A new article published in the American Journal of Hypertension finds that babies born to mothers with cardiometabolic risk factors were less likely to develop high blood pressure if their mothers had higher levels of folate during pregnancy.
For some, high blood pressure associated with better survival
Patients with both type 2 diabetes and acute heart failure face a significantly lower risk of death but a higher risk of heart failure-related hospitalizations if they had high systolic blood pressure on discharge from the hospital compared to those with normal blood pressure, according to a study scheduled for presentation at the American College of Cardiology's 66th Annual Scientific Session.
$9.4 million grant helps scientists explore how cell death from high blood pressure fuels even higher pressure
It's been known for decades that a bacterial infection can raise your blood pressure short term, but now scientists are putting together the pieces of how our own dying cells can fuel chronically high, destructive pressure.
Football is medicine for women with high blood pressure
Professor Peter Krustrup of the University of Southern Denmark has for the first time demonstrated a long-term effect for female patients participating in Football Fitness.
High blood pressure and brain health are linked
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for vascular cognitive impairment and is emerging as a potential risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.

Related High Blood Pressure Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...