Researchers at Boston's University of Massachusetts Medical School and Birmingham's Cooper Green Mercy Hospital and the University of Alabama created three videos with recognizable members of the community -- "exceptionally eloquent and persuasive" hypertension patients -- who told how their hypertension was controlled through diet and medication.
Dr. Thomas K. Houston and colleagues randomly assigned African-American patients to a group who saw the videos or a "control group" with usual care.
The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found patients with uncontrolled hypertension who viewed the stories had better blood pressure control than the control group.
"Overall among the 300 patients randomized, we found a difference in blood pressure favoring the intervention group, and the significance of this difference was driven by the positive effect among those with uncontrolled blood pressure," the study authors say in a statement. "Patients with uncontrolled hypertension who were randomized to the intervention group experienced a 10 millimeters of mercury advantage in systolic blood pressure reduction relative to control. Meaningful advantages were also found for diastolic pressure among the uncontrolled substrata."