Blood pressure drugs may help frail

Aug. 24, 2010 at 8:34 PM
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GALVESTON, Texas, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers suggest blood pressure drugs may help fight frailty in the elderly.

Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston say a drug that helps vessels dilate -- increase blood flow, especially to the hair-thin vessels called capillaries -- may help fight frailty due to muscle deterioration.

The study, published in the journal Diabetes, finds infusing insulin to aid muscle growth could be helped by administering a vasodilator -- nitroprusside.

"When a young person eats food, insulin secretion causes the blood vessels in the muscle to dilate, so a lot of blood goes into the muscle and a lot of amino acids are available to build muscle proteins," senior author Elena Volpi said in a statement.

By giving the elderly patients this vasodilator, 70-year-olds can retain the muscle growth of 30-year-olds, lead author Kyle Timmerman says.

Volpi, Timmerman, Jessica Lee and colleagues used catheters to infuse insulin into the arteries and veins of the leg muscles of 12 healthy older volunteers randomly divided into groups of six given the vasodilator drug and six receiving a placebo.

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