Mother (Nature) Knows Best
provided by American Physiological Society
he simple sunflower seed may hold the key to reducing hypertension and associated loss of cognitive ability, and preventing debilitating strokes. A new research study may be an opening salvo in a new front in the war against strokes, the nation's third leading killer.
This year, about 600,000 Americans will have a stroke and 160,000 of them will die. Many strokes are the consequence of atherosclerotic plaques that occur in one or more of the feeder arteries to the brain. The plaque activates a mechanism that triggers the clotting of the blood, a clot develops and blocks the artery, thereby leading to acute loss of brain function in a localized area.
One of the leading contributors to a stroke is hypertension. Before a stroke occurs, prolonged hypertension has been associated with a range of impairments and cognitive ability. Presently, evidence indicates that reduction of hypertension reduces the incidence and the susceptibility of patients to brain damage.
Now a researcher suggests that linoleic acid, a doubly unsaturated fatty acid essential in nutrition in mammals, may help. The sources of this needed nutrient are vegetable seed oils, such as: safflower, sunflower, and hemp seed.
The objectives of the current investigation were to assess the effects of linoleic acid on the contraction of aortic rings, blood pressure levels, spatial reference memory and brain dopamine receptors in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs). The hypothesis to be tested is that linoleic acid does not only help in controlling hypertension, but may also help in decreasing hypertension-induced cognitive decline by increasing dopamine D1 binding in specific rat brain regions.
To achieve these objectives the researchers set out to determine: the effects of linoleic acid administration on the contraction of aortic rings; the consequences of administering linoleic acid on the systolic blood pressure; the effects of linoleic acid administration on spatial reference memory; the impact of linoleic acid administration on the D1 receptor binding kinetics in specific regions of the rat brain.
These findings may assist in formulating a strategy or treatment to control cognitive decline associated with hypertension.
The principal findings of this study were as follows:
Linoleic acid administration improved endothelial-dependent vasodilation in spontaneously hypertensive rats, associated with significant decline in blood pressure. In addition, linoleic acid administration resulted in the improvement in the observed hypertension-induced decline of spatial reference memory in SHRs which may be due to an increase expression of dopamine D1 receptors in rat brain regions. In conclusion, the current findings strongly suggest that the early incorporation of linoleic acid in the diet may not only help in controlling hypertension, but may also improve hypertension-induced cognitive impairment.
The American Physiological Society (APS) is one of the world's most prestigious organizations for physiological scientists. These researchers specialize in understanding the processes and functions by which animals live, and thus ultimately underlie human health and disease. Founded in 1887 the Bethesda, MD-based Society has more than 10,000 members and publishes 3,800 articles in its 14 peer-reviewed journals each year.