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Small Amounts of Inorganic Nitrate or Beetroot Provide Substantial Protection From Salt-Induced Increases in Blood Pressure (4.4. 2019)

Adding tiny amounts of beetroot or dietary nitrate to salty food products might help prevent high blood pressure, according to a preliminary study of rats.

To reduce the risk of salt-induced hypertension, medical authorities have emphasized dietary guidelines promoting high intakes of potassium and low intakes of salt that provide molar ratios of potassium to salt of ≥1:1. However, during the past several decades, relatively few people have changed their eating habits sufficiently to reach the recommended dietary goals for salt and potassium. Thus, new strategies that reduce the risk of salt-induced hypertension without requiring major changes in dietary habits would be of considerable medical interest. In the current studies in a widely used model of salt-induced hypertension, the Dahl salt-sensitive rat, we found that supplemental dietary sodium nitrate confers substantial protection from initiation of salt-induced hypertension when the molar ratio of added nitrate to added salt is only ≈1:170. Provision of a low molar ratio of added nitrate to added salt of ≈1:110 by supplementing the diet with beetroot also conferred substantial protection against salt-induced increases in blood pressure. The results suggest that on a molar basis and a weight basis, dietary nitrate may be ≈100× more potent than dietary potassium with respect to providing substantial resistance to the pressor effects of increased salt intake. Given that leafy green and root vegetables contain large amounts of inorganic nitrate, these findings raise the possibility that fortification of salty food products with small amounts of a nitrate-rich vegetable concentrate may provide a simple method for reducing risk for salt-induced hypertension.



Effects of supplemental sodium nitrate or beetroot on salt-induced increases in blood pressure. A, Time course of 24-h averages of systolicarterial pressure. B, Time course of 24-h averages of diastolic arterial pressure. C, Mean changes in systolic arterial pressure induced by salt loading. D, Mean changes in diastolic arterial pressure induced by salt loading. *P < 0.05.

Morris Jr, R. Curtis - Pravenec, Michal - Šilhavý, Jan - DiCarlo, E. Stephen - Kurtz, W. Theodore: Small amounts of inorganic nitrate or beetroot provide substantial protection from salt-induced increases in blood pressure. Hypertension. Roč. 73, 2019. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.118.12234. [Epub ahead of print]. ISSN 0194-911X, IF: 6.857.

The end of alternation between standard time and summer time (2.4. 2019)

Alena Sumová and Helena Illnerová have participated in a media debate on the cancellation of mandatory alternation between standard time and summer time in 2021. The Member States of the European Union should coordinate their steps in order to avoid potential disruptions to the functioning of the single market. After all, the end of adjustment of clocks every six months must be endorsed by the Member States; they are to inform the European Commission of the time they have chosen by April 2020. The Czech government expressed support for winter time during an informal discussion last autumn also based on the position of the Institute of Physiology of the ASCR.

The currently available scientific evidence suggests that the introduction of permanent standard time, i.e. winter time, is the best choice for public health.  Adopting standard time all year round provides people with greater exposure to morning light in winter and less exposure to evening light in summer. This will optimize the synchronization of their biological clocks, and their sleep will be set to earlier times in relation to working hours and school time. In general, people will be mentally healthier, and work and school performance will improve.

In the media

Memory Park captivated visitors of the Week of the Brain (14.3. 2019)

The Memory Park interactive workshop was introduced to visitors of the Week of the Brain event at the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague on March 11, 2019. Anyone interested could try and test their memory and orientation skills using unique tests. Developed by scientists from the Department of Neurophysiology of Memory, these psychological tests are used to detect memory impairment and impairment of spatial orientation, e.g. in patients with Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy or schizophrenia.




100 scientists in secondary schools (8.3. 2019)

A new project of the Institute of Computer Science of the Czech Academy of Sciences called "100 Scientists in Secondary Schools" aims to improve the approach to science at our secondary schools. This project allows secondary school students and their teachers to touch science and communicate with scientists who have discovered, built, or written something significant. During each Intensive School session, ten scientists elucidate, design and discuss key topics in contemporary science.

Alena Sumová participated in the project with a lecture called "Clocks in our body and how to adjust them properly" during the seminar Biological Inspiration of Computer Science, which took place on March 7-8, 2019 in Prague.

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Martina Doubková received the Werner von Siemens Award (1.3. 2019)

Martina Doubková from the Department of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering won the award for the best Master thesis. She explored the possibilities of improving the surface finish of materials used to make bone implants. The announcement of the 21st Werner von Siemens Award took place on Thursday, February 28, 2019.

In practice, these implants, used as splints, are attached directly to the bone surface to correct complicated fractures. Alternatively, they are inserted into the centre of the bone during joint replacements, when artificial joints replace those that have been damaged by injury or disease. Mutual contact between bone cells and the implant is fundamentally influenced by the chemical and physical properties of the material used. Martina Doubková examined how bone cells behave in contact with a mechanically treated titanium alloy that has an oxide layer created by surface treatment using the plasma electrolytic oxidation method. The resulting implant could be used in practice as a splint to fix the fracture, as a nail or as a locking screw.

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