Scottish scientists have learnt that ‘smooth’ muscles found in the stomach and bladder play a major role in controlling blood pressure, blood flow as well as food digestion.

They also noted that these muscles play certain ‘housekeeping’ functions such as pushing food through the body. Scientists know that calcium helps these muscles in a big way, but are yet to find how these muscles operate.

Using a grant of £1m from Wellcome trust, researchers in Glasgow have now developed a new system for carefully studying the role of calcium.

Professor John McCarron, from the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, said: "The malfunction of smooth muscle is a cause of many debilitating diseases and conditions and problems with controlling calcium are underlying in conditions like hypertension.

"We have to find out how and why it happens if we are to tackle these illnesses."

Prof McCarron said they have now developed a system of analysis which can be applied to real cells, unlike tests performed earlier in lab conditions.

"This research could help to shape the future of cardiovascular treatments."

Researchers are using a new ways of examining calcium in specific areas of blood cells. Prof McCarron said: "By doing this we are hoping to identify what is going wrong in some cases."

Another international study has also recently found that radio waves could be used to target a few nerves in the kidney, which thereby helps to reduce and keep blood pressure under check.