Series: ACTSI Investigators and ARRA Awards at Work

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) the National Institutes of Health provided stimulus grants which will lead to new discoveries, create new jobs, and provide additional educational opportunities for students. Over the next few weeks the eRoundup will review some of the ACTSI's ARRA projects.

Studies suggest that melatonin may be an effective treatment for nocturnal hypertension, but evidence on this matter is inconsistent and further research is needed. Dr. Jerome Abramson and his team are conducting an ACTSI-based, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial of melatonin supplementation as a treatment for nocturnal hypertension in African-Americans, a group that is at increased risk of having elevated nighttime blood pressure (BP). The aims of trial (n = 80) are to (i) assess melatonin's effect on nighttime BP in African-Americans with nocturnal hypertension, (ii) explore sleep, sympathetic nervous system activity, and vasodilation as potential mechanism that may mediate melatonin's effect on nighttime BP, and (iii) assess the side-effect profile of melatonin supplementation in our study population. Overall, the trial may provide valuable information about melatonin's effect on nighttime BP in African-Americans, and may increase our understanding of the mechanistic pathways by which melatonin influences BP.

Jerome Abramson, PhD
Department of Epidemiology
Rollins School of Public Health
Emory University