|BREAKING MEDICAL NEWS||January 9, 2003|
Hypertension Risk Influenced Before Birth?January 9, 2003
Today's New England Journal of Medicine reports autopsy findings suggesting that hypertensive adults have fewer glomeruli (filter units) in their kidneys, compared to those without hypertension. The median numbers of glomeruli per kidney were 702,379 and 1,429,200, respectively. While hypertension can lead to kidney damage, the researchers suggested the reverse process: Because they found few obsolescent glomeruli, it appeared that the hypertensive individuals had been born with reduced kidney function, which may have contributed to their risk of developing high blood pressure later in life.
Keller G, Zimmer G, Mall G, Ritz E, Amann K. Nephron number in patients with primary hypertension. N Engl J Med. 2003;348:101-108.
Breaking Medical News is a service of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, 5100 Wisconsin Ave., Ste. 400, Washington, DC 20016, 202-686-2210. Join the Physicians Committee and receive the quarterly magazine, Good Medicine.