New treatments for heart conditions could be developed following a discovery involving the humble grape.
Scientists from the University of Michigan have published a new report indicating that antioxidants called phytochemicals which are naturally found in grapes could help prevent heart failure in patients who have suffered from high blood pressure for a number of years.
The research indicated that these substances could be responsible for activating a protective process in the heart that works to reduce damage to heart muscle.
A blend of green, red and black grapes were given to a selection of laboratory rats being fed a salty diet. After 18 weeks those which were given the grapes had lower blood pressure and better heart function than those on the salty diet alone.
Dr Steven Bolling, head of cardioprotection research at the university, said: "There are the small changes that diet can bring, but the effect of grape intake on genes can have a greater impact on disease down the road."
Last month, a new technique to reduce liquid swelling in the arms of patients undergoing breast cancer treatments was unveiled in the US.