Saturday, October 25, 2008

What's That Smell?

The Stink in Farts Controls Blood Pressure (Jesus Herbert Christ…where or where do I begin?)

A smelly rotten-egg gas in farts (could they have used a different word, maybe? Toot? Flatulence? Poodyoink? Bucksnort?) controls blood pressure in mice, a new study finds.

The unpleasant aroma of the gas (well, now that’s delicate. My ex-husband could carpet bomb a small city with the ~ as he puts it ~ “barking spiders” he lets fly), called hydrogen sulfide (H2S) (funny, I thought it was called ‘toxic waste’), can be a little too familiar, as it is expelled by bacteria living in the human colon and eventually makes its way, well, out.

The new research found that cells lining mice's blood vessels naturally make the (as opposed to going to their local Chevron) and this action can help keep the rodents' blood pressure low by relaxing the blood vessels to prevent hypertension (high blood pressure). This gas is "no doubt" produced in cells lining human blood vessels too, the researchers said.

"Now that we know hydrogen sulfide's role in regulating blood pressure, it may be possible to design drug therapies that enhance its formation as an alternative to the current methods of treatment for hypertension," (Why bother developing “treatments”? Just give them a gift card to Macayo’s for some Mexican food.) said Johns Hopkins neuroscientist Solomon H. Snyder, M.D., a co-author of the study detailed in the Oct. 24th issue of the journal Science.

Snyder and his colleagues compared normal mice to mice that were missing a gene for an enzyme known as CSE, long suspected (all they had to do was post it's picture at the post office!) as being responsible for making hydrogen sulfide. As they measured hydrogen sulfide levels taken from tissues of the CSE-deficient mice, the scientists found that the gas was depleted in the cardiovascular systems of the altered mice. By contrast, normal mice had higher levels of the gas (I wonder if they gave the mice Bean-O? Shit. I think I just figured out the right treatment! Mexican Food+Beano-O = low blood pressure! I'm a genius!!), thereby showing that hydrogen sulfide is naturally made by mammalian tissues using CSE.

Next, the mice were subjected to higher blood pressures comparable to serious hypertension in humans (did they give the mice a Big Mac and a job on Wall Street?). Scientists had them respond (how? By asking politely?) to a chemical called methacholine that relaxes normal blood vessels. The blood vessels of the CSE-lacking mice hardly relaxed, indicating that hydrogen sulfide is a huge contender for regulating blood pressure.

Hydrogen sulfide is the most recently discovered member of a family of gasotransmitters (I guess they never heard of Howard Stern’s gasotransmitter ~ Fart Man), small molecules inside our bodies with important physiological functions.

Because gasotransmitters are common in mammals all over the evolutionary tree (those damn farting cows!), these findings on the importance of hydrogen sulfide are thought to have broad applications to human diseases, such as diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases (so, if I toot a lot, I can regulate my blood sugar and avoid dementia? Bitchin’).

The research was supported by grants from the U.S. Public Health Service and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research as well as a Research Scientist Award. (Someone gave them money for this!? I wonder how much money I could get for one of my bullshit ideas? Probably gazillions!)

No comments: