Getting a handle on high blood pressure

Mitacs Globalink intern researches effective hypertension exercises at the University of Toronto

It was her interest in cardiology that persuaded Rayane Simas to come to Canada through a Mitacs Globalink Research internship. As a medical student at Brazil’s Faculdade de Ciências Médicas de Minas Gerais, Rayane knew Globalink would provide her with an international hands-on research experience directly related to her field of study.

Working under the direction of Professor Scott Thomas in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Toronto, Rayane is researching how hand grip exercises are effective in reducing blood pressure in the minutes following a single bout of exercise.

To conduct the study, Rayane has been measuring responses — cardiac output, total peripheral resistance, autonomic nervous function, along with arterial and venous blood vessel compliances — of people with slightly elevated blood pressures after they use a hand grip.

Rayane is excited to continue to implement her findings when she returns to Brazil.

“The biggest impact for me, as a medical student, is that I can use the hand grip exercise with my patients in Brazil who have hypertension. A lot of times people with high blood pressure can’t perform any type of exercise, and it’s very important for people to exercise to decrease their high blood pressure.”

While spending time in Toronto, Rayane has been taking in the sights and sounds of the city. One highlight was cheering for her country’s national soccer team as they played against Peru at the Pan Am Games.

Says Rayane of her Globalink experience: “Mitacs Globalink provides the opportunity to meet new people and experience other cultures. This internship has allowed me to grow and gain experience that will help me later in my life, both professionally and individually.”

Mitacs thanks the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario for their support of the Globalink research internship in this story. Across Canada, the Globalink program also receives support from Alberta Innovates, the Government of British Columbia, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Prince Edward Island, the Government of Quebec, the Government of Saskatchewan and Research Manitoba.

Mitacs is pleased to work with international partners to support Globalink, including Brazil’s le Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior, the China Scholarship Council, Campus France, India’s Ministry of Human Resource Development, and Mexico’s Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education and the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

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