Friday July 20, 2018

Astrocytes help in keeping the brain healthy, reveals a study

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New York: Scientists reported in a study that star-shaped brain cells appear to help in keeping blood pressure and blood flow inside the brain on a healthy tone.

The finger-like appendages of astrocytes, called end-feet, quite literally wrap around the countless, fragile blood vessels in the brain, constantly monitoring what is going on inside and around them.

“This is the first evidence of the astrocytes’ role in pressure-induced myogenic (muscle) tone, which is keeping things regular,” said Dr Jessica A Filosa, neurovascular physiologist at Georgia Regents University.

Filosa terms astrocytes as “housekeepers”. When they sense a change in blood pressure inside the brain, one of their duties is releasing signals that help dilate or constrict the blood vessels, whichever it takes to maintain the healthy status quo.

In fact, astrocytes keep their fingers on the pulse of blood vessels and neurons simultaneously, apparently playing an important role in balancing their needs.

“They are perfect bridges between what is going on with neuronal activity and blood flow changes to the brain.”

Astrocytes relentlessly monitor and respond to changes in blood pressure to help keep the brain from getting too much blood.

The team is now looking into what effect activating astrocytes has on neuronal activity.

The paper appeared in The Journal of Neuroscience. (IANS)

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Mild Sleep Problems May up Blood Pressure in Women

The researchers also found an association between endothelial inflammation and mild sleep disturbances

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Sleep well for youthful skin. Pixabay

Women, please take note. Even if you are having mild sleep problems, such as having trouble falling asleep, it can raise your blood pressure, a new study suggests.

The study found that women who had mild sleep problems — including those who slept for seven to nine hours a night, as measured by a wristwatch-like device — were significantly more likely to have elevated blood pressure.

The researchers also found an association between endothelial inflammation and mild sleep disturbances.

“Our findings suggest that mild sleep problems could possibly initiate the vascular endothelial inflammation that’s a significant contributor to cardiovascular disease,” said lead author Brooke Aggarwal from the Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

Blood pressure
Representational image.

According to the researchers, nearly one-third of adults don’t get enough sleep and for women, the problem may be even bigger.

“That’s concerning, since studies have shown that sleep deprivation and milder sleep problems may have a disproportionate effect on cardiovascular health in women,” Aggarwal added.

For the study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the researchers examined blood pressure and sleep habits in 323 healthy women.

Also Read: Detoxify, Sleep Well For Radiant Skin

Mild sleep disturbances — poor-quality sleep, taking longer to fall asleep, and insomnia — were nearly three times more common than severe sleep disturbances, such as obstructive sleep apnea.

Some of the women allowed the researchers to extract a few endothelial cells from inside an arm vein to look for a pro-inflammatory protein that is implicated in the development of cardiovascular disease. (IANS)

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