A simple, less-invasive scan can help diagnose the most common curable cause of high blood pressure and can save thousands of lives per year, a new study has suggested.
The scan can accurately detect Conn's syndrome, the most common curable cause of high blood pressure and is thought to affect five per cent - or around 600,000 - of all those with the condition.
The current test to identify those with the syndrome involves taking a blood sample from a specific vein supplying the adrenal gland to measure levels of a key blood pressure-regulating hormone called aldosterone.
This is complex, can be difficult to perform, and often fails to diagnose it properly.
Although it is extremely difficult to spot Conn's syndrome but once identified, it can be successfully treated.
The study found that a PET-CT scan, commonly used to detect cancer, could identify Conn's syndrome.
For the study, the researchers analysed scans of 44 patients and found that the quick scan accurately identified adenomas causing high blood pressure in 76 per cent of patients.
"We were excited to see our technique work so well, and shortcut the delays and discomforts associated with the alternative test," the Daily Express quoted Morris Brown, professor of clinical pharmacology who led the Cambridge study, as saying.
"In the future, PET-CT could be a quick way to reassure a lot of patients without the need for detailed investigations."
The study has been published online in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
Players with the highest annual heading frequency performed worse on tests of verbal memory and psychomotor speed relative to their peers.
"These two studies present compelling evidence that brain injury and cognitive impairment can result from heading a soccer ball with high frequency.
"These are findings that should be taken into consideration in planning future research to develop approaches to protect soccer players," he added.
The study was recently presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) in Chicago.