Blood pressure drug linked with increased risk of bowel condition

This condition causes small bulges or pouches to appear in the lining of the intestine. Particularly affecting the elderly (as many as 65 per cent of over 85s may be affected), diverticulosis can in some cases can lead to a medical emergency if the pouches become infected or burst.

The new early-stage research finding comes from a team of scientists led by Imperial College London, who investigated the effectiveness and side effects of three common blood pressure medications: ACE-inhibitors, beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers.

High blood pressure affects one in ten adults across the globe, and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. The most common treatments for high blood pressure are lifestyle changes and medications.

However, despite the three main medications being taken by millions, investigating their potential side effects (as well as studying their effectiveness for treating other diseases), can be difficult and often involves lengthy and expensive clinical trials.

To overcome this problem, the research team, led by Imperial's School of Public Health, used genetic analyses to study the effects of the drugs.

Using robots in medicine today: Surgical Assistants. These remote-controlled robots assist surgeons with performing operations, typically minimally invasive procedures. Additional applications for these surgical-assistant robots are continually being developed, as more advanced 3DHD technology gives surgeons the spatial references needed for highly complex surgery, including more enhanced natural stereo visualization, combined with augmented reality.

By investigating versions of genes that mimic the effects of these drugs, the team were able to study the drugs' effectiveness -- and their potential side effects.

First, the researchers, who published their work in the journal Circulation, identified the proteins targeted by the drugs, and which help lower blood pressure. Next, they analysed genetic data from around 750,000 people and identified the so-called genetic variants that code for these proteins. The team, who included researchers from LMU Munich, then studied whether these gene variants -- which cause increased production of these proteins -- were linked to an increased or decreased risk of other diseases.

The good news was that, as expected, these so-called genetic variants (which coded for proteins involved in lowering blood pressure) were linked to lower heart disease and stroke risk.

However after assessing the risk of around 900 different diseases -- using data from the UK Biobank study -- the team found that the versions of genes related to the effects of a particular type of calcium channel blocker -- the non-dihydropyridine class, were linked to an increased the risk of a bowel condition called diverticulosis.

Electronic record keeping will be more efficient. Efficient record keeping is crucial especially for healthcare providers because it can save healthcare providers lots of money, streamlines its processes and decreases malpractice claims. However, according to a recent study by the University of Michigan, only 6% of US hospitals meet the federal requirements. That percentage is expected to change significantly though because of the federal mandate that requires all public and private healthcare providers to adopt and demonstrate “meaningful use” of electronic medical records (EMR).

The team compared their findings with further genetic data, and supported the potential link with an increased risk of the bowel condition.

The link now needs further investigation with larger trials, explains Dr Dipender Gill, co-lead author of the research from Imperial's School of Public Health: "This is the first time that this class of blood pressure drug has been associated with diverticulosis. We're not sure of the underlying mechanism -- although it may relate to effects on the function of intestine muscles, which perform contractions to transport food through the gut."
Dr Joanna Tzoulaki, senior author from Imperial's School of Public Health added: "The study of genetic variants that mimic the effect of drugs is evolving as a powerful concept to help prioritise clinical trials and design clinical trials more likely to be successful."

Dr Gill cautions the findings should not change current prescribing guidelines and that people should not stop taking their medication unless first consulting their doctor.

He added: "These findings should not change clinical practice, but instead should act as a catalyst for further research."

Preventive medicine will soar. As information from electronic medical records becomes available in the cloud, health care tasks are moving online. And the digitalization of diagnoses has implications for predictive and preventive medicine. By registering slight increases in temperature or detecting the early symptoms of a virus, sensors will make it easy for people to take care of themselves before they get sick. This technology is in the early stages, however, and it needs entrepreneurs to develop its full potential. You can help shape this future by keeping up with trends and innovations.

Largest ever genetic study of blood pressure
Largest ever genetic study of blood pressure
New blood pressure guideline could prevent 3 million cardiovascular events over 10 years
New blood pressure guideline could prevent 3 million cardiovascular events over 10 years
Poor oral health linked to higher blood pressure, worse blood pressure control
Poor oral health linked to higher blood pressure, worse blood pressure control
Embryogenesis: Elucidating cellular responses to force
Embryogenesis: Elucidating cellular responses to force
Big changes ahead for NHS hospital services
Big changes ahead for NHS hospital services
Diet rich in fried and processed foods linked to increased hypertension in black Americans: Study suggests a change in diet could mitigate increased risk for stroke
Diet rich in fried and processed foods linked to increased hypertension in black Americans: Study suggests a change in diet could mitigate increased risk for stroke