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MSU professor earns Bowditch Award for work on hypertension
Date:3/26/2008

BETHESDA, Md. (March 26, 2008) -- The American Physiological Society has awarded Michigan State University Professor Stephanie W. Watts the 2008 Henry Pickering Bowditch Memorial Award for early-career achievement. The award goes to a scientist younger than 42 years whose accomplishments are both original and outstanding. It is the Societys second-highest award.

Dr. Watts, a professor of pharmacology and toxicology, has focused her research on whether serotonin (5-HT) plays a role in hypertension. The story of her research is interesting not only because it is important to find a treatment for this serious illness, but because her research resembles a mystery novel, in which the detective has her eye set on a likely suspect, only to find out that the bad guy may be the good guy.

Dr. Watts will present the Bowditch lecture The love of a lifetime: 5-HT in the cardiovascular system, at the APS session of the Experimental Biology conference in San Diego in April. An audio of an interview with Dr. Watts may be found at www.lifelines.tv.

A silent killer

One-quarter of American adults suffer from hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. In hypertension, the blood vessels constrict, but because the body must transport the same amount of blood, it causes the blood to flow under much greater pressure.

This places greater strain on the heart and the blood vessels and can also damage the organs and tissues that receive the blood, including the brain, heart and kidneys. Many people do not know they have the disease until it causes serious health problems.

Most of the bodys serotonin, about 90%, is made in the gastrointestinal tract, where it plays a role in digestion by helping the smooth muscle of the intestines move. The remaining 10% of the bodys serotonin is produced in the brain, where it plays a role in elevating mood, signaling food satiety and regulating sleep cycles.

The body needs trypt
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Contact: Christine Guilfoy
cguilfoy@the-aps.org
301-634-7253
American Physiological Society
Source:Eurekalert

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