A rush of blood to the head -- anger increases blood flow

Jul 03, 2009

Mental stress causes carotid artery dilation and increases brain blood flow. A series of ultrasound experiments, described in BioMed Central's open access journal Cardiovascular Ultrasound, also found that this dilatory reflex was absent in people with high blood pressure.

Tasneem Naqvi and Hahn Hyuhn from the University of Southern California and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center evaluated carotid artery reactivity and brain in response to in 10 healthy young volunteers (aged between 19 and 27 years), 20 older healthy volunteers (aged 38 to 60 years) and in 28 patients with essential (aged 38 to 64 years). They found that in healthy subjects, mental stress caused vasodilation. This was accompanied by a net increase in brain blood flow. In hypertensive subjects, mental stress produced no vasodilation and no significant change in brain blood flow.

During the experiments, the volunteers were set a series of tasks designed to provoke mental stress, including reading, arithmetic and anger recall tests. The researchers used ultrasound imaging to measure the effects of this activity on the and an artery within the brain, while also measuring blood pressure and heart rate.

According to Naqvi, "Inappropriate vasoconstriction, or lack of dilation in response to mental stress in stable coronary heart disease, contributes to the genesis of and confers an increased risk in patients with coronary artery disease. It will be interesting to see whether the lack of mental stress induced dilation we found defines subjects at increased risk of future cerebral events". Lack of required blood flow increase to the brain during mental activities may potentially affect cognition and cerebral performance during complex cerebral tasks.

More information: Cerebrovascular mental stress reactivity is impaired in hypertension, Tasneem Z Naqvi and Hahn K Hyuhn, Cardiovascular Ultrasound (in press), www.cardiovascularultrasound.com/

Source: BioMed Central (news : web)

Explore further: The impact of bacteria in our guts

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Stress effects are seen in the brain

Nov 23, 2005

Penn State scientists have developed a non-invasive way to view effects of psychological stress in an area of the brain linked with anxiety and depression.

Study: Even occasional smoking can impair arteries

Oct 07, 2008

Even occasional cigarette smoking can impair the functioning of your arteries, according to a new University of Georgia study that used ultrasound to measure how the arteries of young, healthy adults respond to changes in ...

Recommended for you

The impact of bacteria in our guts

Aug 22, 2014

The word metabolism gets tossed around a lot, but it means much more than whether you can go back to the buffet for seconds without worrying about your waistline. In fact, metabolism is the set of biochemical ...

Stem cell therapies hold promise, but obstacles remain

Aug 22, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—In an article appearing online today in the journal Science, a group of researchers, including University of Rochester neurologist Steve Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., review the potential and ch ...

New hope in fight against muscular dystrophy

Aug 22, 2014

Research at Stockholm's KTH Royal Institute of Technology offers hope to those who suffer from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, an incurable, debilitating disease that cuts young lives short.

Biologists reprogram skin cells to mimic rare disease

Aug 21, 2014

Johns Hopkins stem cell biologists have found a way to reprogram a patient's skin cells into cells that mimic and display many biological features of a rare genetic disorder called familial dysautonomia. ...

User comments : 0