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Yussuf Ferkh 10841803

Blood pressure changes in relation to short-term Memory
Abstract An experiment was conducted in regards to the study of memory on blood pressure. Each of the 11 individuals involved had their systolic and diastolic blood pressure measured, as well as their heart rate, with a sphygmomanometer. They then underwent a certain short-term memory exercise, and the previous procedure was applied at each week interval. The results were recorded as averages and then compared at the end of each week. The results showed that there was a general increase in blood pressure after the memory exercise was applied. This was relevant for both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. It was also recorded that there was a steady decrease of post game blood pressure at the end of each week, compared to the previous week.

Introduction Memory in itself is a broad topic. Short-term memory can be defined as the ability to hold a small amount of information in an active circumstance for a short period of time. Short- term memory may be affected by many factors such as age, environment, background and so on. Another factor that may affect this is hypertension. At least subtle deficits in cognition have been documented in hypertensive humans across multiple neuropsychological assessment procedures (A. V. Terry Jr et al, 2002). The relationship between blood pressure and memory can be seen through the brain‟s ability to process short term information and its effects on the heart rate. The best overall estimate of short-term memory is about four pieces or "chunks" of information (Cowan, N. (2001)). This will however change if short term memory is exercised. However exercising memory may cause cognitive responses such as stress as a result of trying to „cope‟ with the situation (Aldwin, Carolyn (2007)). A common sign of stress is a rapid or elevated heart beat.

. Each individual underwent the same methods and results which were obtained at each week interval and compiled at the last week. 2005). family history. Richard (2005)). This was performed 3 times in the first week and once in the following weeks. 2. 3.Blood pressure may vary due to different factors such as age. in general. underwent this experiment over a span of 4 weeks. or after an incident. diet and so on. 1. This is the blood pressure measured in the arteries. Blood pressure. sex. An electronic sphygmomanometer was used to measure the individual‟s initial blood pressure. Methods 11 individuals. environment. current mental state. This measures the systolic (maximum) and diastolic (minimum) blood pressure as well as the heart rate. Physical and hereditary factors are what give scientists and doctors the great variations in the blood pressure of a subject during. After the task was complete. were the host calls out a random set of numbers in increasing numerical order and the individual must repeat the numbers as such. Blood pressure can be measured in three intervals using a sphygmomanometer. The blood pressure was then measured again after the game and recorded at every week. acute or chronic stress. would be considered as the varying pressure of circulating blood on the walls of blood vessels. medical history and so on. blood pressure can be physically affected through certain factors such as exercise. A normal blood pressure would be considered as 90–119 systolic and 60–79 diastolic (Pickering et al. 2005). It is predicted that there will be a general increase in arterial blood pressure after the memory game has been performed. The results were recorded. The individual then underwent a classical memory game. comprising of 5 males and 6 females. Experimental aims and Hypothesis This Experiment aims to identify the trend in blood pressure in relation to short term memory using a number remembering memory game. For instance. Relating back to the previous point. The electronic sphygmomanometer measures „arterial‟ blood pressure (Klabunde. systolic pressure tends to rise and diastolic tends to fall (Pickering et al. as an individual grows older. the level at which the individual obtained was recorded.

The results were compiled in the final week and compared. The same procedure was repeated for every other individual. A general pattern was found between blood pressure and memory. Results The results obtained allowed us to meet our experimental aim. 5. The graph shows a general trend.4.00 128.00 126. for both before and after the test.00 110. were the “after” is at a generally higher systolic BP then the “before”.00 Systolic BP 124.00 130. There is however an exception in the final week were the “after” is recorded at 118 and the “before” at around 119.00 112.00 0 1 2 Week Figure 1: Systolic BP vs Week Before After 3 4 The above Figure represents a graph of the average systolic blood pressure.00 116.00 122.00 120.00 114. The trend involved the systolic and diastolic blood pressures being relatively higher after the game compared to before it Average Systolic Blood Pressure at Every Week 132. and averages were taken.00 118. . at every week.

00 73. However there is a general pattern were the results before the memory game are lower than that after the memory game. The graph shows that the “after” is generally higher than the “Before”.00 69.00 72.00 71.00 76.00 70.00 68.00 Diastolic BP 74.00 0 1 2 Week Figure 2: Diastolic BP Vs week Before After 3 4 The Above graph shows the average diastolic blood pressure recorded at every week before and after the memory game.Average Diastolic Blood Pressure at Every Week 78. The only exception is at week 3 were both lines are shown to have the same results at approximately 76.00 75. .00 77.

00 100. Table 1 the average after the game was run TRIAL AVERAGE Week 1 2 3 4 SYS 122.61 6.64 117.36 122. the lines somewhat meet. However in week 2 the HR is greater before the test then after. 3 and 4.06 6.82 DIA 77. the trends in both “before” and “after” are relatively similar.00 0.73 129.00 75. In weeks 1.18 LVL 5.00 Heart Rate 60. diastolic blood pressures and the heart rate of all the individuals.82 73.Average Heart Rate per Week 120. There is a general increase in the level reached by the contestants as the weeks passed.00 Before After 40. .14 77.09 90.00 20. The table also shows the average level reached by all the contestants while playing the game.00 80. indicating similar results.41 82.00 0 1 2 Week Figure 3: HR Vs Week 3 4 The above figure shows the average heart rate recorded at the 4 weeks of experimentation.70 The above Table shows the average systolic.91 HR 80.82 82.36 6.

The amygdaloid complex is reciprocally connected to many structures of the brain. 2003). is a vasoconstrictor.. were the act of facilitating memory may cause the increased production of angiotensin IV. One reason may be stress. This in effect causes eustress. Boron (2003)). increasing blood pressure (Coleman et al. The amygdalae are small groups of neurons found in the limbic system that are involved in memory processing and formation (Zilles K (2005)). Discussion The results in this experiment varied greatly. There is also a common decrease in the systolic and diastolic blood pressures. Each individual. II and III are all involved in this process. Another point may be the angiotensin. experience a mental challenge. G. which constrict walls of blood vessels. Another fact. It is also involved in blood flow. Eustress causes an increase in vigilance in regards to what is challenging the individual.. The general trend however was relative to what was hypothesized. PhD. The main purpose of the ARS is to regulate both blood pressure and water balance (Walter F. There are many reasons as to why this will occur. This is a positive form of stress that enhances function (physical or mental. However Eustress has the same effect as distress on the body.rennin system (ARS).This indicates that the individuals involved performed better as the experiment progressed. such as through strength training or challenging work) (Selye (1975)).(1986)). . It. 1998). The experiment that took place involved the host pronouncing numbers to the subject.. Angiotensin I. result in changes to blood pressure.. in effect causing auditory signals to be processed to the brain. causing an increase in blood pressure. as they perform the memory game. heart rate and motor activity (Schulz. However this was not observed in the heart rate. These neurons respond to both visual and auditory signals. The results from both figure 1 and figure 2 showed that both diastolic and systolic blood pressures were elevated after the memory game was performed. This can be seen in the experiment. like angiotensin II and III. and through there discharge. Another reason may be due to the effects of the amygdala. A common effect of stress on the body is an increased blood pressure. one of which being the neurons of the central sub nucleus. Angiotensin IV is involved in memory facilitation ((Albiston et al.

2009a. those in the bulbospinal area and those in the hypothalamus (RVM). . The hippocampus is one of the subcortical structures involved in the consolidation and retrieval of different types of memories. such as an individual not placing the electronic sphygmomanometer properly on his/her hand. This will lower the level of stress (Lazarus. Abbot et al. expectation is what is most likely to happen (Lazarus. The results recorded an increase in both blood pressure and splanchnic sympathetic nerve activity. Therefore the eustress that arose during the game may have resulted in the projection of the C1 neuron. in week 4 the average systolic pressure was seen higher before the test (see figure 1). (1998)). Another more neurological explanation may be the blood pressure regulation by C1 neurons in the rostal ventrolateral medulla (RVM). The results showed a general increase in Blood pressure after the game was played. The most possible reason may be due to an error in recording. This may be due to the level of expectation set by each individual. Dampney et al. Further research has shown that C1 cells can be activated through secondary reflexes or stress (G Guyenet 1999). In the case of uncertainty. (2009b) held a study where he used laser light pulses to photo-stimulate a C1 region. Reis et al. As blood pressure increases the C1 neurons will then tend to decline so as to control blood pressure. The same test structure ensures that the expectation of each individual is met.relating directly to the ARS is that the concentration of angiotensin II is very high in the hippocampus (von Bohlen und Halbach andAlbrecht. had a general decrease over the 4 weeks. The C1 neuron in itself is very specific. Another reason may be due to an individual suffering from distress previous to the encounter. In figure 1 and 2 the diastolic and systolic blood pressure recorded after the test. This may have caused an increase in blood pressure initially. There can be multiple reasons to this. However. 1991) being exerted and in effect gradually lowering the blood pressure. C1 neurons increase both vasomotor and blood pressure (Abbot et al. Each individual was given each the same test structure with different numerals over the four weeks. There are two types of C1 neurons. 1985. 1988). Richard 1991). resulting in an increase in blood pressure.

A way the experiment could be improved would be through the conduction of different memory games every week. This in effect will lower stress and blood pressure. the common action or process of preparing or being prepared. This. Figure 3 showed the heart rate as being consistent both before and after the test with an exception to week 2. So therefore as the weeks passed the subjects were able to deal with the situation more effectively. This may have caused the consistent effect as seen in figure 3. This may be due to preparation. Heart rate will tend to increase during activity and then gradually decrease when the activity is finished (American Heart association (2011)). then there would be a decrease in blood pressure compared to an increase in level over the four weeks of testing. Each individual in this experiment underwent the same test over 4 weeks. and vice versa (American Heart association (2011)). This may have affected the general pattern of results. It would have been an improvement to perform the experiment in a quiet room to obtain optimum results with little distraction or noise pollution. For instance each individual had a different family history. The experiment posed some limitations. The increased noise in the laboratory may have affected the results. The heart rate does not correlate with blood pressure. with different backgrounds and so on. Another factor was the laboratory condition. 2006). will decrease the level of . Blood pressure measures the force of the blood against the arteries. If both figures 1 and 2 as well as table 1 were to be compared. whether it be mentally or physically. The main focus of the experiment was “the effects of short-term memory on blood pressure”. The memory game may not have provided enough intensity to keep the heart rate at an elevated level after it was performed. A substantial increase in heart rate does not necessarily mean a substantial increase in blood pressure.Table 1 shows an increase in the average level reached by the contestants over the four weeks. as they became more familiar with the circumstances and in result displayed less effort and greater results. preparation allows an individual to become more ready. which allowed the individuals to be more mentally ready as the weeks passed. Stress varies in intensity and duration depending on the circumstances of a situation (Glavas. in turn. as it only measures the number of times the heart pumps blood per minute (American Heart association (2011)). As defined by the oxford dictionary. Human error played a detrimental part in the main experiment leading to problems such as the imbalance in results displayed in figure 1.

Renin System. Many of the articles described and cited in this report vary over the years. that there will be a general increase in the average arterial blood pressure after the memory game has been performed. New York: The Guilford Press. Borsini F. References . Other findings obtained by the experiment were that the average blood pressures recorded decreased at the end of each week as the average game level increased. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 162: 292-300. One particular limitation was the area of eustress. originating from very old origins and are now recently being shed light on. neurological systems. . Leusch A (2002) Memory-related task performance by aged rhesus monkeys administered the muscarinic M (1)-preferring agonist. "The magical number 4 in short-term memory: A reconsideration of mental storage capacity". N. Limitations were also experienced when dwelling into the angiotensin. hypertension. Terry AV Jr. Articles in this area of research were hard to come by. such as C1 neurons and the neurons of the amygdale and so on. (2001). Stress. talsaclidine. Many of the articles are still young and future improvements and research is still being awaited. Second Edition. Coping. It is preferable if scientists will shed more light on this form of “positive stress”. Aldwin. so that the general population will be able to further enhance their knowledge on these bodily effects. . In conclusion the results obtained met the hypothesis that was stated at the beginning of the experiment. This was seen for both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Cowan. Buccafusco JJ. which increased after the game. Carolyn (2007). Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24: 97–185. The research this experiment deals with will branch out to many different cases and research opportunities. .expectation and preparation the individuals may have towards the test and in effect giving more distinct and accurate results. Enhancements in understanding stress. and Development. blood pressure. The later stages of the angiotensin (angiotensin IV and V and so on) have little written about them and the research was very refined.

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