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San Diego, CA The 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.

Background

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, which is essential in nutrition in mammals. It cannot be produced in animals, the sources of this needed nutrient are vegetable seed oils, such as: safflower, sunflower, and hemp seed.

The Study

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
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Contact: Donna Krupa
djkrupa1@aol.com
703-967-2751
American Physiological Society
26-Aug-2002


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