New study finds link between overfeeding and high blood pressure

New study finds link between overfeeding and high blood pressure

(Medical Xpress)—A new study conducted by researchers at Lehman College, and recently published in the American Heart Association's journal Hypertension, shows conclusively that overfeeding causes increases in sympathetic nerve activity (SNA)—part of the fight or flight reflex—which can lead to the development of high blood pressure. Dr. Martin Muntzel, a professor in the College's Dept. of Biology and an expert on diet, Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, led the study.

For years, scientists have known that obesity and weight gain are the major causes of , but they haven't been able to determine how this happens. To find out, Dr. Muntzel and his team implanted radiotelemetry devises into fourteen female Wistar rats to monitor SNA, heart rate and . This experiment marks the first successful use of radiotelemetry technology in rats.

Over a three-week period, the researchers fed seven of the rats a diet high in fat that included vanilla wafers, crackers, buttered popcorn, cheetos and other high-caloric nutrients, while the other seven rats were fed a low-fat diet. The results were immediate—within fifteen days the rats consuming the high-fat diet gained weight and their fat mass doubled, activating lumbar SNA, which in turn caused their heart rate and blood pressure to rise.

"One thing that really surprised me through the course of this experiment is that just two weeks of consuming junk food doubled the subject's fat mass," says Dr. Muntzel. The team chose the cafeteria-style diet not only for its palatability and high caloric content, but also because they knew that it would have precisely the effect they wanted, which was .

"None of this would have been possible had we not been able to attain the radiotelemetry technology," explains Dr. Muntzel. Telemetry-based devices, specifically the kind that records SNA, have been in use for only four years. "There are a number of researchers from around the world that are using this, but our group was the first to actually make it work in rats," he adds proudly.

More information: hyper.ahajournals.org/content/60/6/1498.abstract

Related Stories

Fat substitutes linked to weight gain

date Jun 20, 2011

Synthetic fat substitutes used in low-calorie potato chips and other foods could backfire and contribute to weight gain and obesity, according to a study published by the American Psychological Association.

Recommended for you

Should men cut back on their soy intake?

date 1 hour ago

Recently, a friend called my husband to inquire about the risks for men in consuming too much soy milk. He had read an article that described how one individual's plight led him down the path of breast enlargement, and was ...

Probing Question: What is umami?

date 2 hours ago

The next time you're at a dinner party and want to spice up the conversation, you might compliment the hosts on their umami-rich appetizers. Then wait a moment until someone invariably asks, "What's umami?"

Will the Affordable Care Act eliminate health disparities?

date 3 hours ago

Massachusetts' health reform may be a crystal ball for researchers and policymakers in forecasting the potential impact of the Affordable Care Act. Many see the ACA as the backbone of efforts toward closing the nation's health ...

Experts question election pledges on GP access

date 14 hours ago

As the general election in the UK approaches, experts writing in The BMJ this week question whether the party promises on access to general practice are likely to be achievable.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.