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American Heart Association's 60th Annual Fall Conference, Oct. 4-7, 2006

60th Annual Fall Conference and Scientific Sessions of the Council for High Blood Pressure Research

The 60th Annual Fall Conference and Scientific Sessions of the Council for High Blood Pressure Research, in association with the Council on the Kidney in Cardiovascular Disease, took place Oct. 4-7 in San Antonio, Texas. The meeting drew about 600 scientists from around the world, addressed issues affecting adults and children with hypertension, and showcased advances in basic hypertension research.

"The meeting was largely directed toward understanding the causes of high blood pressure," said Robert M. Carey, M.D., of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and chair of the Council for High Blood Pressure Research.

A key topic of discussion was resistant hypertension, in which patients don't respond to conventional blood pressure medications. Carey cited several studies presented by David A. Calhoun, M.D., of the University of Alabama in Birmingham, showing a link between resistant hypertension and elevated levels of the hormone aldosterone.

"The levels aren't high enough for us to think that an adrenal tumor is responsible," Carey said. "They just represent high production rates of aldosterone." Calhoun's new clinical research showed that treatment of resistant hypertension with an aldosterone antagonist -- spironolactone -- can improve and even normalize blood pressure, a finding that Carey singled out as the most significant development that will affect clinical practice.

Other important studies advanced the understanding of high blood pressure and its complications in smokers, and established a link between high blood pressure and obstructive sleep apnea in children, said Daniel W. Jones, of the University of Mississippi in Jackson, and present-elect of the American Heart Association.

Edgar A. Jaimes, M.D., of the University of Miami School of Medicine in Florida, presented the novel finding that human kidney cells have nicotine receptors and that nicotine exposure significantly increases mesangial cell proliferation and fibronectin production.

"We've known that people with high blood pressure are prone to develop renal disease," Jones said. "This study provides an important explanation of how the progression of renal injury may occur in people who smoke."

Alisa A. Acosta, M.D., of the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, presented a small study showing that more than half of hypertensive children had sleep-disordered breathing. "These findings were somewhat of a surprise," Jones said. "We usually think of this as a problem in overweight and obese adults."

When treating children with hypertension, pediatricians should consider that sleep-disordered breathing could be a contributing cause, Jones said. They should be alert for signs of sleep-disordered breathing and aggressive in referring children for sleep studies.

"We don't know if treating sleep-disordered breathing will improve children's blood pressure," Jones said. "But based on this report and what we know about adult response, there's every reason to think that it should."

This year's Novartis Award winners for basic hypertension research were Theodore W. Kurtz, M.D., of the University of California in San Francisco, and William B. Campbell, Ph.D., of the Medical College of Wisconsin.

"Dr. Kurtz identified single genes in experimental animals that regulate blood pressure and also regulate the metabolic phenotype and cause what we think of in humans as the metabolic syndrome," Carey said. "Dr. Campbell discovered blood-vessel production of hormones that dilate blood vessels and cause blood pressure to decrease."

AHA: Mortality Risk Rises with BP in Heart Disease Patients

TUESDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with cardiovascular disease, there is a direct relationship between increasing blood pressure levels and mortality risk, even in patients with 'normal' blood pressure, according to research presented recently at the American Heart Association's 60th Annual Fall Conference of the Council for High Blood Pressure Research in San Antonio, Texas.

Abstract #80

AHA: Sleep Apnea Risk Higher in Chronic Kidney Disease

TUESDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Hypertension and sleep apnea are more prevalent in patients with chronic kidney disease than those without kidney problems, according to research presented this week at the American Heart Association's 60th Annual Fall Conference of the Council for High Blood Pressure Research in San Antonio, Texas.

Abstract #78

AHA: Liver Function Predicts BP in Hispanic Children

MONDAY, Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- In non-diabetic Hispanic children, liver function may play a role in determining systolic blood pressure variation, according to research presented this week at the American Heart Association's 60th Annual Fall Conference of the Council for High Blood Pressure Research in San Antonio, Texas.

Abstract #169

AHA: Hypertension Linked to Apnea Risk in Children

MONDAY, Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Children with hypertension may have an increased risk of sleep-disordered breathing, according to research presented this week at the American Heart Association's 60th Annual Fall Conference of the Council for High Blood Pressure Research in San Antonio, Texas.

Abstract #75

AHA: Nicotine Receptors Found on Kidney Cells

THURSDAY, Oct. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have discovered nicotine receptors on kidney cells, which may explain why conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure progress to kidney disease faster in smokers than in non-smokers, according to research presented this week at the American Heart Association's 60th Annual Fall Conference of the Council for High Blood Pressure Research in San Antonio, Texas.

Abstract #83

Physician's Briefing
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