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Category: Newspaper Reports
Date 1-aug-2007
Article Title Blood pressure's a pain in the neck
Author New Scientist Magazine
Main Condition/ Disease  Blood Pressure
Source New Scientist Magazine - August 2007
Summary That office job might be raising your blood pressure in more ways than one.
A link between the muscles in the neck, blood pressure and heart rate has long been suspected. Now Jim Deuchars and colleagues at the University of Leeds, UK, have found a direct neural connection between these neck muscles and a part of the brainstem - called the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) - which plays a crucial role in regulating heart rate and blood pressure.
Deuchar's team was using mice to investigate how the brain responds to a variety of stimulatory and inhibitory proteins. They noticed that a group of brain cells connected to the neck muscles kept firing in response to both types of proteins, suggesting the cells played a very active role in the brain.
"The cells lit up time and time again, so we looked at waht they were doing," says team member Ian Edwards. It turned out that these cells are also connected to the NTS (The Journal of Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1523/jneurosci.0638-07.2007).
Edwards says the finding could explain why blood pressure and heart rate sometimes change when the neck muscles are injured - through whiplash for example. Similarly, it is possible that hours spent hunched over a computer may rasie blood pressure. "The pathway exists for bad posture to really have an effect," Edwards says.

[My Comment: Bad posture is driven by the position of the skull on the neck. When the head is off centre posture is affected. The skull can be knocked off centre from trauma, as in whiplash or other head/neck injuries. These injuries can cause a misalignment of the atlas vertebra under the skull and cause tension in the neck muscles holding the head erect. Blood pressure can increase or decrease (as was the case with my injury). Atlas misalignments can be corrected by a 'specific' upper cervical correction carried out by a specialised group of chiropractors. Blood pressure can be shown to correct after such corrections. - Refer "Atlas vertebra realignment and achievement of arterial pressure goal in hypertensive patients", Journal of Hypertension Study(2007), 1-6.]
Keywords blood pressure, hypertension, atlas, upper cervical

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