such as "Introduction", "Conclusion"..etc
March 2009 — The problem of high blood
pressure has reached pandemic proportions, causing premature death
through heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease in a third of the UK
population. For decades, scientists have battled at length over its
cause yet still cannot agree; is the kidney or the brain to blame?
This month, Experimental Physiology hosts a lively debate
between two groups of world-leading experts. In the first ever
published dialogue on the topic, Drs Montani & Vliet and Drs
Osborn, Averina & Fink share their opinions with us and criticise
each-others theories. Their frank exchange of views provides an
interesting and informative summary of the latest research into how
blood pressure is controlled.
When blood pressure increases the kidneys respond by extracting
extra water and salts into the urine, causing blood volume — and hence
pressure — to fall. But special nerve pathways mean the brain can also
regulate urine production and hence influence blood pressure. So which
organ is really in charge?
Montani & Vliet argue that controlling blood volume is the key,
as the kidney automatically makes more urine as blood pressure
However, Osborn and colleagues remind us that the cardiovascular
system is controlled by multiple mechanisms including the automatic
part of the nervous system, which directly controls the kidney. They
also update us on a plethora of new findings supporting a role of the
nervous system in controlling blood pressure long term.
But both groups acknowledge that new mathematical models are needed
that incorporate both the kidney and the brain control systems. So the
question of whether it is the kidney or the brain that has a firmer
grip on the reins for controlling blood pressure may have to wait for a
mathematician to answer.
Professor David Paterson, the Chief Editor of Experimental
Physiology and instigator of the debate, said: "This frank exchange of
views was needed as it highlights major issues that remain with blood
pressure control and will undoubtedly guide future studies to reveal
fundamental new knowledge that will inform the future treatment of high
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