Electrodes can change a patient's blood pressure

Although this may seem a drastic way to treat hypertension, the authors say it could help in most extreme cases where conventional therapy has failed. It also sheds light on where in the brain blood pressure is controlled which could lead to new treatments.The findings from Imperial College London and Oxford University are published in Neuroreport.

The team of neurosurgeons and physiologists discovered the blood pressure effects while fitting brain electrodes to 15 patients for pain control, BBC reports.

Deep brain stimulation involves placing very thin electrodes on very exact locations in the brain and is already used to relieve pain and to help Parkinson's disease patients with their movement.

The researchers found that they could make patients' blood pressure increase or decrease by stimulating very specific regions of the brain with the electrodes - the dorsal or ventral periventricular and periaqueductal grey matter, respectively.

Lead author of the paper Alexander Green said: "Obviously, as this is brain surgery, we have to proceed with great caution. A.M.