Thursday, December 31, 2009

Stem cells might reverse heart damage from chemo

"Certain types of chemotherapy can damage the heart while thwarting cancer, a dilemma that has vexed scientists for years. But a new study in rats finds that injecting the heart with stem cells can reverse the damage caused by a potent anti-cancer drug. The findings could one day mean that cancer patients could safely take higher doses of a powerful class of chemotherapy drugs and have any resulting damage to their hearts repaired later on using their own cardiac stem cells, the researchers said. The study was published online December 28 in advance of print publication in the journal Circulation" - HealthDay

Cardiac devices approved without scrutiny (USA)

Cardiovascular devices are often based on studies that lack adequate strength or may have been prone to bias, U.S. researchers say. Dr. Sanket S. Dhruva of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues analyzed the type and quality of study evidence used by the Food and Drug Administration for the pre-market approval of cardiovascular devices. These types of devices were included in the study because it was expected they would undergo the most stringent approval process, given their increasing usage and potential impact on illness and risk of death. "In 2008, at least 350,000 pacemakers, 140,000 implantable cardioverter-defibrillators, and 1,230,000 stents were implanted," study authors said in a statement. The authors conducted a systematic review of 123 summaries of safety and effectiveness data for 78 pre-market approvals for high-risk cardiovascular devices that received pre-market approval between January 2000 and December 2007, examining the methodological characteristics and primary end points. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that of nearly 80 high-risk devices, the majority received approval based on data from a single study - UPI

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Overweight men at higher risk of heart attack, stroke, premature death (Sweden)

"Overweight or obese middle-aged men are at a higher risk of heart attack, stroke and premature death - even if they don't have the metabolic syndrome, according to research reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. 'Previous studies have put forward the existence of a 'metabolically healthy' subgroup of obese individuals who are at no increased cardiovascular risk, but if you follow them long enough, you find out there appears to be no such thing as metabolically healthy obesity,' said Johan Ärnlöv, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of cardiovascular epidemiology at Uppsala University in Uppsala, Sweden. When previous studies have examined the occurrence of heart disease risk with obesity and the metabolic syndrome (MetS) - a cluster of risk factors associated with the development of heart disease and diabetes - obese people without MetS have not portrayed an increased risk. However, these studies followed people for 13 years or less and it is possible that the increase in risk in the obese without the MetS becomes more evident after 10-15 years, Ärnlöv said. The current 30-year study involved 1,758 men born between 1920 and 1924 in Uppsala. Each underwent a health evaluation at age 50, and those who had diabetes or had been hospitalized for heart disease were not included"

Type-two diabetes limb amputations rise dramatically (UK)

"The number of people in England having a limb amputated because of type-two diabetes has risen dramatically, a study has shown. Between 1996 and 2005, below-ankle amputations doubled to more than 2,000, and major amputations increased by 43%. However the number of amputations in people with type-one diabetes dropped, an Imperial College London team found. A charity said more early diagnosis was needed, as diabetes can go undetected for more than 10 years" - BBC

Are you susceptible to a heart attack? Bristol university paid GBP700k to find out

"Ground-breaking research at the University of Bristol hopes to discover exactly what causes heart attacks. More than 300 people die of a heart attack every day in the UK, and the highest proportion fall victim on Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Scientists know this is because stress and overeating increase the chances of heart failure, but now a Bristol Heart Institute team, led by Professor Andrew Newby, aims to pinpoint precisely why some people fall victim and not others. The professor said: "Such a discovery will help pave the way for new treatments to prevent heart attacks, which could save thousands of lives each year. "This research could point to new ways to prevent fatty deposits from becoming unstable by selectively modifying the harmful immune cells while preserving their helpful activity." The British Heart Foundation has awarded the project a GBP715,000 grant to help develop methods of treating heart problems early. Research will be supported by the NHS, National Institute of Health Research, and scientists in France, Sweden and the Netherlands." - This is Bristol

Heart risk of obesity greater than thought (UK)

"The link between obesity and death from heart disease may be even worse than previously thought, but health problems associated with being underweight may have been exaggerated, a new study shows. Previous studies have shown that a higher than normal body mass index (BMI), a barometer of unhealthy weight levels, is associated with higher rates of death from cardiovascular disease. Studies also have shown a link between being underweight, or having a low BMI, with increased mortality from such problems as respiratory disease and lung cancer. But scientists at the University of Bristol in the U.K. and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden now say they've found that the risks of death from cardiovascular disease for people who are overweight or obese may have been understated, and the adverse consequences of having a low BMI have been overstated. The study appears in the journal BMJ" - WebMD

Monday, December 28, 2009

Heart study targets immune cells in the arteries (UK)

Heart study targets immune cells in the arteries (UK)"Scientists are to try to develop a treatment to target harmful immune cells in the arteries that are believed to trigger many heart attacks. It is two decades since it was established a patient's immune system could produce the inflammation in the arteries that leads to an attack. But treatments based on this knowledge have so far proved ineffective. The Bristol Heart Institute says this could be because drugs kill off the helpful as well as the harmful cells. With the backing of the British Heart Foundation, they want to look at developing a treatment that specifically targets the more harmful immune cells. It is thought these are drawn to the arteries as a result of the plaques of fatty deposits that build up here" - BBC

Using CT scans to see plaque in coronary arteries (USA)

"The test, called, coronary artery calcium scoring, is meant to reveal patients at risk for heart attack but may prompt some to get unnecessary surgery. It seems like the pinnacle of medical science: For just a few hundred dollars, you can walk into just about any hospital in Southern California and ask a doctor to check your arteries for buildup of heart-attack-inducing calcium plaque. Most of the time, what goes on inside our bodies is a mystery, but there's something satisfying in the thought that a sophisticated piece of equipment can measure just how clogged our arteries really are (and how much more junk food we can afford, or not afford, to eat). To obtain your calcium score, a radiologist will use a CT scanner to produce images of the plaque in the coronary arteries and then estimate how much it is obstructing the flow of blood to the heart (a test known as coronary artery calcium scoring using cardiac CT). This score ranges from 0 in patients with no visible calcium to more than 400 for people who have chest pains related to blockages. In general, calcium scores of more than 100 represent people who are at increased risk of a heart attack. However, not all doctors agree that calcium scoring should be used to screen men and women who show no signs of heart disease - and they feel that advertising the procedure can lead to abuses in its application. For one thing, they say, even patients with high calcium scores may not exhibit any health problems, but the test results will increase the likelihood that patients will undergo unnecessary and dangerous surgeries" - Chicago Tribune

Sunday, December 27, 2009

30 minutes to better health in 2010

"Adding 30 minutes of daily physical activity should top your list of New Year's resolutions for a healthier 2010, says Peter Brubaker, professor of health and exercise science at Wake Forest University. Regular daily exercise is the most important step toward a healthier lifestyle, Brubaker says. 'People don't realize you can get tremendous benefit from regular physical activity even if you never lose a pound,' he says. The benefits of increased physical activity include a reduced risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, bone and joint conditions, and sleep apnea. Brubaker, who is the director of the healthy exercise and lifestyle programs (HELPS) at Wake Forest, offers several tips for how to increase daily physical activity" - newswise

No CPR training? No problem! (USA)

No CPR training? No problem! (USA)To all you would-be good Samaritans out there: if someone looks like they're in need of mouth-to-mouth, but you don't have CPR training, call emergency services and they will guide you through it. Odds are, it won't hurt. That's according to a study published online in the journal Circulation. Study co-author Thomas Rea of King County's emergency services division said the survey came about because of an observation that bystanders were not performing CPR as frequently as they could have. "There's reticence and fear on the part of the bystander - and the dispatcher - that they may cause injury to the victim," Rea said in an interview - LA Times

Anger really can kill you: Study

"Anger and other strong emotions can trigger potentially deadly heart rhythms in certain vulnerable people, U.S. researchers said. Previous studies have shown that earthquakes, war or even the loss of a World Cup Soccer match can increase rates of death from sudden cardiac arrest, in which the heart stops circulating blood. "It's definitely been shown in all different ways that when you put a whole population under a stressor that sudden death will increase," said Dr. Rachel Lampert of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, whose study appears in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. "Our study starts to look at how does this really affect the electrical system of the heart," Lampert said"

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Revolutionary operation could 'cure' high blood pressure (UK)

Revolutionary operation could 'cure' high blood pressure (UK)A revolutionary new operation which could effectively cure high blood pressure has been developed by scientists, offering hope to hundreds of thousands of sufferers. In what is being hailed as the most exciting development in the field for 50 years, doctors can treat the condition with a simple procedure in under an hour. It could allow some sufferers to come off medication completely and offer hope for those for whom existing treatments have no effect. The technique, which is relatively straightforward and cheap for the NHS, could reduce the risk of a major heart attack or stroke in such patients by half. The Daily Telegraph can disclose that the new procedure, which involves placing tiny burns on a nerve responsible for high blood pressure in some people, has been carried out in Britain for the first time. It is part of an international clinical trial which could lead to the new treatment being offered on the NHS. An estimated 15 million people in Britain suffer from high blood pressure, also known as hypertension - around half of them undiagnosed. About one in 10 sufferers cannot control the condition with medication or cannot tolerate the drugs, leaving them at greater risk. Hundreds of thousands face a lifetime on medication to reduce the risk of suffering heart disease, strokes or kidney failure. Dr Mel Lobo, a specialist in clinical hypertension at Barts and the London NHS Trust, said: "This is the most exciting development in hypertension since the advent of anti-hypertensive medication 50 years ago. 'It is hard to forecast the limitations and it could eventually be compared to medication.' The new procedure, called renal sympathetic-nerve ablation, involves inserting a wire into a blood vessel close to the kidneys to burn through nerves which carry signals that stimulate high blood pressure. It disrupts signals from the brain telling the kidneys to keep blood pressure raised. Initial tests suggest it can be effective within three months. Anthony Henry, 68, a retired chef from Stratford in East London, became the first person in Britain to have the operation. Watched by The Daily Telegraph, the team at the London Chest Hospital carried out the painstaking procedure in just over one hour. Mr Henry, who is diabetic and has already suffered a stroke and a deep vein thrombosis, was awake throughout the procedure and spoke to Prof Martin Rothman, the cardiologist who performed it. He was kept in hospital overnight but it is thought once greater experience is gained with the technique, patients will be able to go home the same day. Mr Henry's blood pressure has already come down, just two weeks after the operation and it is thought most patients will see an improvement within three months. Prof Rothman said: "Patients will be able to walk into the hospital and walk out again the same day. "This relatively trivial procedure has the potential to make a serious improvement to the quality of life for the patient. 'It is very efficient and can lower the blood pressure enough to reduce stroke mortality by 50 per cent.'
It was estimated the procedure could cost the NHS around £4,000 per patient, yet it could prevent significant numbers of strokes and heart attacks saving money on emergency treatment and rehabilitation. Dr Paul Sobotka, chief medical officer of Ardian, an American company which has developed the equipment, said: "For the first time we can think of a cure for hypertension." Mr Henry is one of 110 patients taking part in a trial to evaulate the new technique with half receiving the operation plus their normal medication and the other half only taking their drugs.
Dr David Collier, senior clinical trials fellow at the Biomedical Research Unit at Queen Mary University London, said the operation offers real hope of an alternative to a life on pills for patients whose blood pressure is difficult to control but he warned that it was not the 'lazy person's answer' to diet and exercise. Dr Collier said: "This procedure can bring patients within the normal blood pressure range and may enable some to come off their medication. It is the equivalent of them taking two types of drugs. They could be considered cured, at least in the medium-term and we hope long-term." - Telegraph

4th Annual Cardiac Safety Assessment Summit

4th Annual Cardiac Safety Assessment Summit - January 12-13, 2010 - Washington, DC, USA

6-month-old cardiac program saves Norwalk man (USA)

6-month-old cardiac program saves Norwalk man (USA)"John Morton had no idea a petition he signed for Norwalk Hospital, CT, in 2005 would help establish the very service that saved his life four years later. But when Morton, a 57-year-old Norwalk, man, felt the telltale chest pangs at 3 a.m. Sunday, the staff and the equipment of Norwalk Hospital's emergency angioplasty program were waiting for him. Six months ago, Morton would have been stabilized and transferred by ambulance to St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport for the emergency procedure, in which a balloon-tipped catheter is inserted into a narrow or clogged artery, then inflated to restore blood flow. And six months ago, Morton probably wouldn't have survived the transfer, said his cardiologist, Dr. Robert Jumper. The state approved Norwalk's emergency angioplasty program in January, almost a decade after its initial request in 2000. Doctors say it is the most effective intervention in saving lives and minimizing heart damage during an acute heart attack. In July, Norwalk Hospital began performing the procedures after months of training rotating through a supervising hospital, St. Vincent's, and performing mock drills in Norwalk, said Ed Staunton, director of operations. As of Wednesday, the hospital had treated 33 patients in its state-of-the-art cardiac and vascular catheterization laboratory, Staunton said"

Alarm over rise in heart disease in Saudi Arabia

"Saudi Arabia's heart association has raised the alarm over the rising rate of heart disease among the Kingdom's population. Dr. Hani Najm, President of the Saudi Heart Association, said that there were 'serious indications of an increasing number of people being afflicted with heart disease in the Kingdom over the coming years.' He was speaking as preparations get under way to hold a major heart conference next February in Riyadh"

21st Scientific Session of the Saudi Heart Association

21st Scientific Session of the Saudi Heart Association - February 8-11 2010 - Saudi Arabia

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Myrrh helps lower your cholesterol levels

"The Three Wise Men were actually being cleverer than they thought - scientists have discovered that myrrh is good for your heart. The ancient resin, used traditionally as a perfume or embalming fluid, may help lower cholesterol levels if taken as a food supplement. Myrrh is a rust-coloured resin obtained from several species of Commiphora and Balsamodendron trees, native to the Middle East and Ethiopia. It is best known as one of the gifts of the Three Wise Men offered to the infant Jesus, along with gold and frankincense. At the time, myrrh was revered as an embalming ointment and as a perfume but it seems that as well preserving you in death it can preserve you in life too. In the study, published in the International Journal of Food Safety, Nutrition and Public Health, Nadia Saleh Al-Amoudi, a researcher from King Abd Al-Aziz University in Saudi Arabia noted that myrrh has long been used as a medicinal treatment for sore throats, congestion, and cuts and burns. The researcher fed myrrh resin, among other plant materials, to albino rats, and found that levels of "bad" cholesterol fell and levels of "good" cholesterol went up while the rodents were on the diet. The discovery opens new doors for research into fighting high cholesterol, a health problem that is closely linked with the rise in obesity. "Of all nutrients, fat is implicated most often as a contributing factor to disease," explains the researchers. This is not the first time that myrrh has been shown to have health giving properties. A study by Rutgers University in New Jersey found a substance found in the plant extract could be used to fight prostate and breast cancers" - Telegraph

Elderly patients 'over-treated' for high blood pressure (UK)

Elderly patients 'over-treated' for high blood pressure (UK)"Elderly patients are being treated too aggressively for high blood pressure, researchers claim. They say the "oldest olds", meaning patients aged 80 plus, are being given too many drugs and in too large doses, which may do them more harm than good. The Cochrane scientists who looked at the available data say doctors can set their targets lower for octogenarians. This makes good economic and clinical sense given the expanding elderly population, they told But doctors said high blood pressure is largely under-recognised and under-treated in the UK. Experts say the "oldest olds" are the fastest growing sector of the world's population. According to latest estimates, the UK population of 85-year-olds will go up by a third by 2020. And more than half of these will need treatment for high blood pressure, the British Medical Journal reports"

'Christmas coronary' too often ignored by victims involved in festivities (USA)

"Bob Kernodle thought he pulled a muscle in his neck as he hung Christmas lights outside his home last month. But the pain came suddenly. He got clammy, started sweating. The pain extended to his upper chest. His wife insisted he go to the hospital immediately, though he had never had a single heart problem. The quick response and a six-hour open-heart surgery at Baptist Hospital saved his life from an aortic aneurism. But around the holidays - from Thanksgiving to around New Year's - many people aren't as lucky. That's when doctors around the country see a spike in heart attacks and heart problems because people take on too much and ignore symptoms". Cardiac deaths are about 5 percent higher during the winter holidays than any other time of year, according to the Journal of the American Heart Association"

High lipoprotein levels can cause heart disease

"A genetic study proves that high blood levels of the fat-carrying molecule called lipoprotein(a) can cause heart disease. "The case for lipoprotein(a) as a direct cause of coronary artery disease is now firm," said Martin Farrall, a professor of cardiovascular genetics at the University of Oxford in England and senior author of a report in the December 24 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Diabetes patients with lower incomes dying at higher rates than wealthy: Report (Canada)

Diabetes patients with lower incomes dying at higher rates than wealthy: Report (Canada)"Despite the drop in fatalities from diabetes over the past decade, patients with lower incomes appear to be dying at a much higher rate than wealthy ones, a new study shows. The risk of dying if you are in the poorest compared to richest group of adults grew by more than 40 per cent over 11 years, according to the study from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto. In 1995, the number of low-income people age 30 to 64 with diabetes who died was 1.4 per cent, or 14 in 1,000 people. In higher income people, it was 1.2, or 12 in 1,000 people. By 2006, while death rates went down overall, mortality rates for lower income adults was .96, or about 10 in 1,000. For higher income people, it was .64, or six in 1,000 people. "Our finding suggests that wealthier people may have benefited more from advances in diabetes care than poorer people," said the study

Study: airport noise increases risk of strokes

Study: airport noise increases risk of strokes"Living under a flight path can seriously damage your health. German researchers have discovered that people who are exposed to jet noise have a substantially increased risk of stroke, high blood pressure and heart disease. The findings are bound to provide further ammunition to anti-airport campaigners and make uncomfortable reading for world leaders at this week's climate summit in Copenhagen. According to the unpublished study, commissioned by Germany's Federal Environment Agency, men who are exposed to jet noise have a 69% higher risk of being hospitalized for cardiovascular disease. Women living under flight paths fare even worse, logging a 93% higher rate of hospitalization with cardiovascular problems, compared with their counterparts in quiet residential areas. The study found that women who are exposed to jet noise (of about 60 decibels) during the day are 172% more likely to suffer a stroke

Breast-feeding may protect a woman's heart (USA)

Breast-feeding may protect a woman's heart (USA)"Although many women choose to breast-feed because of the numerous health benefits it offers their offspring, new research suggests that breast-feeding may also help the health of the mothers' hearts later in life. In a study of nearly 300 women, researchers found that those who had not breast-fed were much more likely to have calcification or plaque in their coronary artery, aorta and carotid artery. When calcifications and plaque build up in the arteries, blood flow can be reduced, and, if enough of these deposits build up, they can cause a heart attack or stroke. "Women who had not breast-fed were more likely to develop changes that might lead to symptomatic heart disease," said the study's lead author, Dr. Eleanor Schwarz, an assistant professor of medicine, epidemiology, obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Research on Health Care. Results of the study will be published in the January issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology"

Ramblers and government urge families to bring back the Christmas day walk (UK)

Ramblers and government urge families to bring back the Christmas day walk (UK)"The Ramblers have teamed up with the Change4Life campaign to bring back the traditional Christmas day walk. They're calling on families across the country to burn off their Christmas dinner and be more active over the festive season. If every person took to the streets, fields or beaches after their festive treats, then families in England could walk a combined 50 million miles on Christmas day alone. But with a typical Christmas lunch of turkey and pudding clocking up almost 1,500 calories - over half of men's recommend daily calorie intake and three quarters of women's - Walk4Life, part of the Change4Life movement, is calling on families to bring back this Christmas tradition en masse. According to the British Nutrition Foundation a typical Christmas dinner is 1,470 calories"

Video: Man drinking fat. NYC Health anti-soda ad. Are you pouring on the pounds?

Man drinking fat. NYC Health anti-soda ad. Are you pouring on the pounds?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Bayer's new blood glucose meter with USB connectivity

"Bayer has recently released the CONTOUR USB blood glucose meter that plugs directly into a Windows or Mac computer for uploading of readings for later analysis and for sharing them with your doctor. The device shows readings on the screen and you can mark whether they were taken before or after a meal. Conveniently, there's also about 500 megabytes of empty storage space on the unit, so it can be used as a traditional USB thumbdrive as well"

With cardiac rehab, more is better: study (USA)

"Cardiac rehabilitation sessions for elderly people with heart disease can lower their risk of heart attack and help them live longer, new research finds, but fewer than one in five eligible patients bothers to go. Researchers looked at medical records of more than 30,000 Medicare patients aged 65 and older who attended at least one cardiac rehabilitation session from 2000 to 2005. The findings: More sessions are better. "We were not surprised that patients who attended more rehabilitation had better outcomes," sstudy author Bradley G. Hammill said in a statement. "We need to encourage physicians to recommend cardiac rehabilitation to eligible patients, and we need to encourage those patients to attend and stay with it." But while Medicare will pay for 36 cardiac rehabilitation sessions, about half of those in the study only attended 24 or fewer, said Hammill, senior biostatistician at the Center for Clinical and Genetic Economics at Duke Clinical Research Institute, in Durham, N.C. Those who attended all 36 sessions had a 12 percent lower risk of heart attack and 14 percent lower risk of death than those who went to 24. The gap was even greater when compared to those who attended 12 sessions or only one. The rehab programs emphasize education about heart disease, exercise, stress, nutrition and medication use, among other things. "Unfortunately, use of cardiac rehab is very low," Hammill said. "Under 20 percent of those eligible ever go, and women and minorities go less often than white men. We need to promote cardiac rehab for everyone." The findings were published in the Dec. 22 issue of Circulation"

Saturday, December 19, 2009

CARG Newsletter - January 2010

CARG Newsletter - January 2010 is now available

ESC Congress 2010

ESC Congress 2010ESC Congress 2010 - 28 Aug 2010 to 01 Sep 2010 - Stockholm, Sweden. "The spotlight for 2010: Coronary artery disease: From genes to outcomes"

Jingle Bells, Jangled Nerves

Jingle Bells, Jangled Nerves"It's as predictable as plastic reindeer, spinning dreidels, family visits, and overspending on gifts: holiday anxiety. And we shouldn't take it lightly. According to a paper published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the effects of psychological stress can weaken immune function and trigger inflammation, raising the risk of autoimmune disease, coronary artery disease, and depression"

Natural heart drugs may combat colon cancer

Natural heart drugs may combat colon cancer"A family of naturally derived heart drugs called cardiac glycosides shows promise in fighting colon cancer, new research has found. As part of a larger study to screen and identify natural substances that might be effective against colon cancer, Swedish researchers looked closely at several cardiac glycosides. Five of them were tested on laboratory cultures of human colon cancer cells and proved effective, to varying degrees, at killing the cancer cells. The researchers also found that the anti-cancer activity of several of the cardiac glycosides increased when they were combined with certain chemotherapy drugs. The results suggest that cardiac glycosides might prove effective against colon cancer when used alone or in combination with chemotherapy drugs, the scientists said. Their findings were published in the Journal of Natural Products. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 106,000 U.S. residents will have been diagnosed with colon cancer in 2009"

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

ACC, AHA update guidelines for beta blockers (USA)

"The use of beta blockers in patients undergoing noncardiac surgeries should be initiated well in advance of procedures and titrated up as blood pressure and heart rate allow, according to an update of guidelines from the American College of Cardiology, or ACC, and the American Heart Association, or AHA. Kirsten Fleischmann, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of medicine at the University of California-San Francisco and chair of the group that reviewed new evidence on the perioperative use of beta blockers, said in a news release that physicians must be vigilant in assessing patients' cardiac risk and weighing that risk against potential side effects of therapy"

A survivor story - CBC News interviews Yaz Maziar (Canada)

"When it comes to heart disease and stroke there are a million tales to be told -- tales of resilience, of survival, of lives turned around. Heart and Stroke Foundation's National Web Publisher, Yaz Maziar, has one such story. He tells it here to Nancy Wilson at CBC News Today, speaking of his personal battle with heart disease, and how a clot-busting drug pioneered by the Heart and Stroke Foundation helped to save his life"

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Painkiller undermines aspirin's anti-clotting action

"Millions of Americans take Celebrex for arthritis or other pain. Many, if they are middle-aged or older, also take a low-dose aspirin tablet daily to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Yet they may be getting little protection, because Celebrex keeps the aspirin from doing its job effectively, a new study suggests. In laboratory studies, University of Michigan researchers found that several coxibs, the drug class to which Celebrex belongs, interfere with aspirin’s ability to discourage blood clots, if the aspirin is taken in low doses. Celebrex, also known as celecoxib, is the only coxib currently on the market. The results appear online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" - Newswise

Doctors in Texas screen sixth-graders for heart defects and disease

"In the U.S. there is a debate about whether young athletes should undergo mandatory screening before playing sports. But now, some doctors in Texas have come to believe that all children, athletes or not, should be screened. Brandon Williams was only 13 years old when he suffered a fatal heart attack. Austin Sergeev was even younger - only 11 - when his heart stopped beating. Children as young as eight have experienced sudden cardiac arrest. In Italy, young athletes have a thorough medical exam that includes an electrocardiogram. The program has reduced the number of incidents of sudden cardiac arrest, or heart attack, in these athletes." - VOA News

Pathway Medical's Peripheral Plaque Drill gets 510(k) classification

"Following up on last year's FDA approval, Pathway Medical Technologies out of Kirkland, Washington just received European clearance to sell the Jetstream G2 NXT coronary drill across the continent. Previously named Pathway PV, the system clears clogged blood vessels and aspirates the debris out the back. Jetstream G2 NXT consists of a sterile, single-use catheter and control pod and a reusable, compact console that mounts to a standard I.V. stand. The catheter has an expandable cutting tip that safely debulks and preemptively removes both hard and soft plaque, as well as calcium, thrombus and fibrotic lesions. A highly efficient aspiration port located just proximal to the cutting blades continually removes excised tissue and thrombus from the treatment site to a collection bag located on the console" - medGadget

Body clock link to heart disease (Japan)

Body clock link to heart disease"Scientists have raised the possibility that cardiovascular disease is linked to disturbances in the body's 24-hour clock. Working on mice, the Japanese team found a genetic risk factor for a form of high blood pressure is influenced by 24-hour or circadian rhythms. The study appears online in the journal Nature Medicine. Malfunctions in the body clock - which influences much of the body's chemistry - have been linked to many diseases. And lead researcher Professor Hitoshi Okamura said the latest study was in line with data which suggested shift workers, long-distance flight crews and people with sleep disorders have a heightened risk of heart problems. High blood pressure - known as hypertension - can lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney damage, and many other medical problems - BBC

Anti-depressants 'up stroke risk'

"Post menopausal women who take anti-depressants face a small - but statistically significant - increased risk of a stroke, research suggests. The US study was based on 136,293 women aged 50 to 79, who were followed for an average of six years. Anti-depressant users were 45% more likely to have a stroke than women not taking the drugs. The data, published in Archives of Internal Medicine, is taken from the Women's Health Initiative Study. When overall death rates were examined, those on anti-depressants were found to have a 32% higher risk of death from all causes during the study than non-users" - BBC

Cardiac arrest? Nellie the Elephant could save your life

"To resuscitate someone who has suffered a cardiac arrest, you need to make between 90 and 100 chest compressions per minute, and, according to a new study in the BMJ, running through the song Nellie the Elephant in your head while you do it significantly helps. Unfortunately, the team of researchers, led by Malcolm Woollard, professor in pre- hospital and emergency care at Coventry University, also found the song distracted people from maintaining an adequate depth of compression (equally important as speed) and so doesn't recommend that first aid trainers use the song to teach CPR"

A new era in cardiac health diagnostics with silicon-based integrated system (Singapore)

A new era in cardiac health diagnostics with silicon-based integrated system (Singapore)"Researchers at A*STAR's Institute of Microelectronics have developed a rapid and sensitive integrated system to test for specific cardiac biomarkers in blood. Compared to the conventional testing platform known as ELISA (Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay), the new integrated system significantly cuts sample preparation and analysis time which typically requires 6 hours to just 45 minutes"

Contributors to heart failure identified (USA)

"U.S. researchers have pinpointed a dozen genetic variants in a single gene linked to heart failure. The team at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis analyzed the DNA of a large group of white patients with heart failure, and identified 129 variants in four genes that could be connected with heart failure. Further analysis of 1,117 whites with heart failure and 625 healthy whites led the researchers to identify 12 variants on the HSPB7 gene that are associated with heart failure. Confirmation of this association was achieved by analysis of an independent group of patients, the study authors noted. For this study, published December 14 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the researchers used a technique they recently developed that allows targeted DNA sequencing. They plan to use this same approach to pinpoint additional genetic variants associated with heart failure, a disease influenced by multiple genetic factors." - HealthDay

New journal for 2010: Cardiovascular Engineering and Technology

"Cardiovascular Engineering and Technology presents a wide spectrum of research, from basic to translational, in all aspects of cardiovascular physiology and medical treatment. It offers academic and industrial investigators a forum for the dissemination of research that utilizes engineering principles and methods to advance fundamental knowledge and technological solutions related to the cardiovascular system. Coverage ranges from subcellular to systems level topics, including,among others, implantable medical devices; hemodynamics and tissue biomechanics; functional imaging; surgical devices; electrophysiology; tissue engineering and regenerative medicine; diagnostic instruments; transport and delivery of biologics; and sensors. CVET is the newest journal of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES)

The not-so-great British bangers that are a third fat: new study identifies the worst value sausage

The not-so-great British bangers that are a third fat: New study identifies the worst value sausages"There's nothing quite so British as a plate of bangers and mash. Unfortunately, there's nothing quite so unhealthy - with some supermarket brands containing up to a third fat. And if that doesn't put you off, then consider the fact that some sausages are only 32 per cent meat. The rest is ground wheat rusk - a bulking agent to cut costs and improve texture - starch, salt, sugar and spices. A study of 36 brands included the country's biggest sellers, as well as basic, luxury and 'healthy' buys. It is the first large-scale examination of what goes in our pork sausages for 20 years - despite the average family eating more than a stone of them every year. Researchers for the journal Meat Science looked at packaging for information on meat, fat and salt content. But when they compared the labelling to the content of sausages, they found many consumers are unlikely to realise what they are eating. On average, the sausages contained 62 per cent meat but four had less than 50 per cent with the worst offender made up of less than a third pork" - MailOnline

Monday, December 14, 2009

Climate scientist has heart attack on live television

"Danish TV on Sunday night featured some unexpected live drama when a climate-skeptic scientist had a heart attack on air. The 41 year old Henrik Svensmark made an awkward spasm/shudder and burst out a strange noise, sounding like a cough. The show was put on hold for 10 minutes and the viewers were informed that Svensmark has a pacemaker, and it went on because his heart rate had slowed down. He was immediately rushed to the hospital and according to the latest reports his condition is steady now"

Diabetes Care Gaps and Disparities in Canada from CIHI

"This report examines the extent to which people with diabetes received recommended care to prevent complications and the disparities in receiving this care. The results show there is a gap between recommended care and the care that patients say they receive. These gaps may result in serious complications for patients and increased costs for the health care system" - Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI)

Cowan Foundation contributes second $1 million to strengthen Heart and Stroke Foundation's Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Program (Canada)

Cowan Foundation contributes second $1 million to strengthen Heart and Stroke Foundation's Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Program (Canada)The Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF) has announced a $1 million contribution by The Cowan Foundation to its national Heart&Stroke Restart a Heart, Restart a Life™ Automated External Defibrillator (AED) program. The contribution will support the purchase, allocation, training and installation of AEDS in public places across the country. This represents the second million dollar donation from The Cowan Foundation to support the program. "Our national AED program is growing, thanks to the exceptional support from our corporate sponsor, The Cowan Foundation. Their generous contribution will make defibrillators easily accessible to Canadians and increase the potential to help save the lives of Canadians in their communities," says Irfhan Rawji, vice chair of the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Defibrillators will be placed in public places across the country including community centers, sports arenas, and shopping malls. Criteria for determining areas most in need include emergency response times, the potential of higher incidence of sudden cardiac arrests in large public places, and local readiness to support a public access defibrillator program

Life Lines Podcast: 'Tis the Season That's Hard on Your Heart'

"Heart attacks peak during the winter months and cold weather has been thought to be the primary culprit. But cardiologist Robert Kloner of the Keck School of Medicine and Good Samaritan Hospital found that heart attack deaths peak on Christmas and New Year's in the mild climate of Los Angeles County. Could it be that the weather is not the most important factor behind the seasonal increase in heart attacks?"

Sunday, December 13, 2009

India to host the 20th world congress on cardio-thoracic surgery

"Dr. K. M. Cherian's Frontier Lifeline Hospital will play host to the 20th World Congress on Cardio-Thoracic Surgery to be held on October 20-23, 2010. The World Congress conducted by the World Society of Cardio Thoracic Surgeons (WSCTS) is a time honored and highly prestigious international scientific event. This annual conference witnesses the august presence and didactic participation of the best minds in the exacting science of cardiothoracic surgery. It provides a worldwide forum for presentations and discussions on the latest findings and techniques in this delicate branch of surgery"

Friday, December 11, 2009

Keeping youngsters squeaky clean could be bad for their heart

Keeping youngsters squeaky clean could be bad for their heartParents obsessed with cleanliness could be actually harming their children's hearts, claim scientists. The trend for antibacterial soaps could increase youngster's chance of being unhealthy later in life as exposure to everyday germs may prevent heart disease in adulthood. The study is the first to look at how contact with germs early in life affect the immune systems response to diseases associated with ageing in adulthood. It suggests that exposure to infectious bacteria early in life may actually protect individuals from cardiovascular diseases that can lead to death as an adult. It does this by damaging the body's natural response to attack - namely inflammation of the surrounding tissue. Over inflamation is actually a bad thing that can lead to increased blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Professor Thomas McDade, lead author of the study at Northwestern University, in Chicago, said: "Contrary to assumptions related to earlier studies, our research suggests that ultra-clean, ultra-hygienic environments early in life may contribute to higher levels of inflammation as an adult, which in turn increases risks for a wide range of diseases." Relatively speaking, humans only recently have lived in such hyper-hygienic environments, he stressed. - Telegraph

Surgery on beating heart thanks to robotic helping hand

"If you've been waiting for the day to arrive when computers actually start performing surgery, that moment might soon be upon us. A French team has developed a computerized 3D model that allows surgeons to use robotics to operate on a beating heart, according to a report in The International Journal of Robotics Research, published by SAGE. The robotic technology predicts the movement of the heart as it beats, enabling the surgical tools to move in concert with each beat. It means that the surgeon can perform a procedure as if the heart was stationary. This development could be very important for millions of patients who require less invasive surgical heart procedures, where stopping the heart from beating would cause unnecessary risk. Rogério Richa, Philippe Poignet and Chao Liu from France's Montpellier Laboratory of Informatics, Robotics, and Microelectronics developed a three-dimensional computerized model that tracks the motion of the heart's surface as it beats. In addition to the heart, this model also accounts for the movement of a patient's chest wall during breathing. Known as the "thin-plate spline deformable model", this new computerized approach allows the robotic arm to continually adjust to heart and chest movements during surgery" - EurekAlert

New Jersey poised to ban e-cigarettes in public (USA)

"New Jersey is poised to become the second state to ban the use of e-cigarettes [e-cigs] in public places where smoking is already prohibited, with the New Jersey Senate set to vote today on a bill already passed unanimously by the Assembly. A primary purpose, says Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the antismoking organization which supplied a detailed report supporting the bill, is to protect bystanders who otherwise are at possible risk from heart attacks, just like those inhaling secondhand tobacco smoke. It is estimated that secondhand tobacco smoke causes about 60,000 nonsmoker deaths a year, approximately 20 times as many nonsmoker deaths as from lung cancer caused by inhaling the smoke" -

Cardiac benefits of smoking reduction quantified

"Cutting out just five cigarettes a day after an acute MI was associated with an 18% decrease in mortality, researchers found. And quitting completely was associated with a 37% decrease compared with persistent smoking, according to the results of a prospective population-based cohort study published in the December 15/22 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology" - medpage today

Weight loss improves cardiac structure, function

"Obese patients showed structural improvements in the heart and vasculature and in left ventricular function within three months of starting an effective weight-loss program, researchers said. Among those who lost nearly 10% of body weight in six months on average, their left ventricular mass and carotid intima-media thickness both declined significantly, reported Lisa de las Fuentes, MD, of Washington University in St. Louis, and colleagues. She described the results from the 60-patient prospective study at a press briefing here and in the Dec. 15/22 focus issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Left ventricular systolic and diastolic function also improved significantly with the weight loss, de las Fuentes said" - medpage today

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Supportive materials will help regenerate heart tissue (USA)

"Bioengineers from University of California, San Diego are developing new regenerative therapies for heart disease. The work could influence the way in which regenerative therapies for cardiovascular and other diseases are treated in the future. New results from UC San Diego on using adult stem cells to regenerate heart tissue in environments that mimic a human post-heart-attack heart were presented this week in San Diego at the 2009 annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB). The work is from the laboratory of Adam Engler from the Department of Bioengineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering" - Science Centrics

Baker IDI scientist develops life-saving test to predict heart attacks (Australia)

Peter Meikle speaks to Channel 10 news about the life-saving test he has developed to predict heart attacks

Researchers launch Phase II trial of stem cells and acute heart attack (USA)

"The second phase of a clinical trial testing a new stem-cell-based therapy on injured heart muscle has been launched by researchers at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. It is the only study site in the Texas Medical Center. Results from Phase I of the trial are published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Researchers reported that patients were treated safely with intravenous adult human mesenchymal stem cells (Prochymal) after a heart attack. In addition, they had fewer arrhythmias, improved heart and lung function, and improvement in overall condition" - ScienceDaily

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Genetic link found between vitamin D and congestive heart failure (USA)

A variant of the gene responsible for the activation of vitamin D is associated with the development of congestive heart failure in individuals with hypertension, new research shows. The results confirm previous studies suggesting that vitamin D is an important player in cardiovascular health, according to researchers. "There is a great deal of information out there now about vitamin D and how important it is for cardiovascular health," said senior investigator Dr Robert Simpson (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI). "My lab was the first to study it in animals back in the early 1980s. We became interested because of information that the vitamin-D receptor existed in heart tissue. Subsequently, there have now been a number of clinical studies showing the importance of adequate vitamin-D status for human heart health." The results of the study are published in the November 2009 issue of Pharmacogenomics -

CMAJ - 8 December 2009

The Canadian Medical Association Journal - 8 December 2009, Volume 181, Issue 12, is now available online

Monday, December 7, 2009

Missing DNA linked to obesity in children

"A recent study suggests that childhood obesity may be linked to missing DNA. British researchers found that the rare occurrence of missing DNA segments may lead to severe obesity in children, because it affects a gene used by the brain for appetite control. Dr. Sadaf Farooqi of Cambridge University, who co-authored the study, is quoted in the report as stating that children with a chromosome 16 deletion, 'have a very strong drive to eat… They're very, very hungry, they always want to eat.' As noted by the AP, research on the deletion of chromosome 16 has helped in two cases where parents were accused by the British child welfare authorities of overfeeding their children, who were subsequently found to lack the missing DNA. Farooqi is quoted in the report as stating of the cases, 'It's a slightly unusual outcome of our research, but one we think is very important.' More information about the study findings may be found in the recent online publication of the Nature journal"

ACHIEVE New London (USA)

"ACHIEVE New London, an initiative of Ledge Light Health District, Groton, CT, USA, is asking for the public's help in selecting community projects that will increase access to healthy food, increase opportunities for physical activity, improve chronic disease management and reduce tobacco use"

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Jerry Morris: The man who invented exercise (Scotland)

"Jerry Morris, a Glasgow-educated epidemiologist who recently died aged 99, has been credited as 'the man who invented exercise'. His research was vital in showing the links between exercise and health. In 1948, he helped found the Medical Research Council's social medicine unit. His work focused on coronary heart disease and physical activity and infant mortality. Later, in the 1950s, Jerry's book Uses of Epidemiology was used as a blueprint for public health activities and influenced the reform of health and social services under the Labour governments."

Exercise important in teens' blood pressure control (Canada)

"Regular exercise may help keep teenagers' blood pressure in check, regardless of their body weight, a new study suggests. Researchers found that among nearly 1,300 Canadian teenagers they followed for five years, declining exercise levels over time were linked to small increases in blood pressure. Gains in body fat were also linked to blood pressure increases, but excess weight did not fully account for the relationship between exercise and blood pressure changes - especially in girls. The implication, the researchers report in the American Journal of Epidemiology, is that both weight and exercise habits independently affect teenagers' blood pressure. And that means that getting teens off the couch might help keep their blood pressure under better control, write Katerina Maximova and colleagues of McGill University in Montreal. The findings are based on 1,293 boys and girls who were 12 to 13 years old at the start of the study. The teens reported on their typical physical activity levels and had their body fat and blood pressure measured at the outset, and then periodically over five years"

WHO launches new tobacco control effort in Africa

The World Health Organization is increasing its attention to tobacco control in Africa with the overall goal of preventing tobacco use from becoming as prevalent there as it is in other parts of the world. The focus of the programme will be on strengthening countries' ability to implement the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), the international health treaty that guides national efforts to counter the tobacco epidemic, and the establishment of a regional centre of excellence to support the development of countries' capacity to resist the spread of tobacco use. "Tobacco use is the most preventable cause of illness and death," said WHO Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health Dr Ala Alwan. "It kills more than 5 million people per year. Unchecked, it will kill more than 8 million people per year by 2030, with more than 80% of those deaths occurring in developing countries. Although tobacco use is less prevalent in Africa than in other regions of the world, that will change unless we act." Tobacco use is a risk factor for the major noncommunicable diseases - heart attacks, strokes, cancers, diabetes and asthma and other chronic diseases - which together account for 60% of all deaths. In the 46 countries of WHO's Africa region (AFRO), noncommunicable diseases are expected to account for 46% of deaths by 2030, up from 25% in 2004

Cardiac Output Monitor from Alfred E. Mann Institute (USA)

"AMI's Cardiac Output Monitor and Blood Volume Measurement System has multiple applications in the clinical setting with a potential market above one billion dollars. This minimally invasive procedure allows the use of this system in clinical settings, such as the emergency room, where other technological solutions are not available. The Cardiac Output System combines a well-established technique for cardiac output measurement with modern optical technology for simultaneous, minimally invasive monitoring of cardiac output and circulating blood volume in a simple and straightforward manner that can be applied to adult and pediatric patients" - Alfred E. Mann Institute

Diabetics warned over heart failure (UK)

"A class of drugs used by some diabetics could increase their risk of heart failure and death, experts have said. People taking tablets known as sulphonylureas as their only therapy had a 24% to 61% increased risk of dying and up to a 30% increased risk of heart failure compared with people taking the drug metformin. The researchers said their findings back up current UK guidance that patients should be given metformin as a first treatment for Type 2 diabetes. Only those who cannot tolerate metformin should be given sulphonylureas as their only treatment, they said. The researchers found no increased risk for people taking a combination of metformin and sulphonylureas medicines, although they said more research was needed. Examples of sulphonylureas drugs include glibenclamide, gliclazide, glimerpirizide, glipizide, and gliquidone. Lead researcher Dr Ioanna Tzoulaki, from Imperial College London, said: "When we looked at metformin and sulphonylureas together we didn't see an increased risk of heart failure or death...."" - Press Association

Texas Health Dallas researchers publish major study examining connection between nausea and heart attacks

Researchers at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas are investigating what symptoms could help doctors better spot heart attacks and if certain symptoms might indicate different types of heart attacks. Their most recent work, "Relation of Nausea and Vomiting in Acute Myocardial Infarction to Location of the Infarct," appears in the December edition of the American Journal of Cardiology. According to the findings, almost two-thirds of heart attack patients suffer nausea when arriving in the ER - but whether they have an upset stomach does not indicate where cardiac blood flow is blocked, said senior author Dr. Mark Feldman, chair of internal medicine at Texas Health Dallas and director of the hospital's internal medicine residency program - Texas Health Resources

Friday, December 4, 2009

Pumps and Pipes: Sparking innovative collaboration (USA)

"Energy and medicine are two of Houston's primary industries, and thanks to its concentration of universities, the city is also home to world-class research. The Pumps and Pipes collaboration brings together energy, medicine, and higher education in a unique shared effort, exploring ideas and research common to these important fields and stimulating discussion and sharing technologies that can further the reach and goals of each individual area. The 2009 event, Pumps and Pipes 3: Better Together, will be held December 7, 2009. Presentations will focus on the intersections between medicine and energy where research and technology come together with common uses and purpose. Medical researchers may be able to adapt research techniques pioneers in the energy fields, for instance, or a technology that has helped doctors may prove useful for petroleum engineers.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Long-term physical activity has an anti-aging effect at the cellular level (USA)

"Intensive exercise prevented shortening of telomeres, a protective effect against aging of the cardiovascular system, according to research reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. Researchers measured the length of telomeres - the DNA that bookends the chromosomes and protects the ends from damage - in blood samples from two groups of professional athletes and two groups who were healthy nonsmokers, but not regular exercisers. The telomere shortening mechanism limits cells to a fixed number of divisions and can be regarded as a "biological clock." Gradual shortening of telomeres through cell divisions leads to aging on the cellular level and may limit lifetimes. When the telomeres become critically short the cell undergoes death. The 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to researchers who discovered the nature of telomeres and how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase."

London to Brighton Bike Ride 2010 - registration (UK)

London to Brighton Bike Ride 2010 - registration (UK)The British Heart Foundation states: "Our next London to Brighton Bike Ride is on Sunday 20 June 2010. Standard Individual and Team registration opens at 10am GMT on Wednesday 3 March 2010. If you don't want to register online, paper application forms will be available from January 2010. We'll post more details on this page closer to the time. If you qualify for a Priority place, you'll receive your invitation and further information at the end of December"

Coverage of inexpensive drugs may increase length and quality of life after heart attack (Canada)

"Providing free medications to people after heart attack could add years to patients' lives at a relatively low cost for provincial governments, according to a new study by researchers at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. "“Many patients are not benefiting from effective prescribed medications because they simply don’t fill their prescriptions," says Dr. Irfan Dhalla, the study's lead author and a physician at St. Michael's Hospital. "There is growing evidence that having to pay for medications out of pocket is a major reason." Public coverage of pharmaceuticals in Canada is neither universal nor uniform because the Canada Health Act covers only physician and hospital services. According to data published in 2005, 11 per cent of Canadians had only catastrophic public coverage, and 4 per cent had no coverage at all. The goal of the study was to demonstrate to policymakers what would happen if governments fully covered the costs of five heart attack medications - a beta blocker, low-dose aspirin, an ACE inhibitor, a statin, and a relatively new drug called clopidogrel - which are routinely prescribed for patients who have survived a heart attack" - St. Michael's Hospital. The use of these effective and relatively inexpensive drugs has led to a dramatic decline in deaths from cardiovascular disease in recent years. Between 1980 and 2000, mortality from cardiovascular disease in Canada decreased by approximately 50%"

Study suggests adult stem cells may help repair hearts damaged by heart attack (USA)

"Adult stem cells may help repair heart tissue damaged by heart attack according to the findings of a new study to be published in the December 8 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Results from the Phase I study show stem cells from donor bone marrow appear to help heart attack patients recover better by growing new blood vessels to bring more oxygen to the heart. Rush University Medical Centre was the only Illinois site and one of 10 cardiac centres across the country that participated in the 53-patient, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase I trial. Rush is now currently enrolling patients for the second phase of the study. Researchers say it is the strongest evidence thus far indicating that adult stem cells can actually differentiate, or turn into heart cells to repair damage. Until now, it has been believed that only embryonic stem cells could differentiate into heart or other organ cells." - Science Centric

Leg artery narrowing may be clue to heart disease (Netherlands)

"A fifth of patients who have narrowing of the leg arteries also have narrowing of the arteries in the heart, but they don't know it, researchers said. In a randomized controlled trial in the Netherlands, 19% of patients with peripheral arterial disease also had coronary artery disease, Rozemarijn Vliegenthart Proenca, MD, PhD, of the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands, said at the Radiological Society of North America meeting. "Peripheral arterial disease patients are known to be at increased risk of mortality due to heart disease, and our results confirm the importance of strict cardiovascular risk factor treatment in these patients," Proenca said. She explained that little is known about silent heart disease in patients with leg artery narrowing. However, new technologies, such as CT angiography, have made it easier to detect the extent of coronary artery disease in a noninvasive manner" - medpage

Study explains how walking and exercise help patients with peripheral artery disease (USA)

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) affects 5 million individuals in the U.S. and is the leading cause of limb amputations. Doctors have long considered exercise to be the single best therapy for PAD, and now a new study helps explain why. Led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and published in this week's Online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the findings demonstrate that a protein called PGC-1alpha plays a key role in the process. "Exercise is a staple of healthy living," notes senior author Zoltan Arany, MD, PhD, an investigator in BIDMC's Cardiovascular Institute and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. "One of the many benefits of exercise, endurance exercise in particular, is the generation of new blood vessels in leg muscles." Known as angiogenesis, this naturally occurring process comes to the rescue when an injury or artery blockage leaves normal tissue starved for blood.

Obesity trends will snuff out health benefits gained by decline in smoking (USA)

If obesity trends continue, the negative effect on the health of the U.S. population will overtake the benefits gained from declining smoking rates, according to a study by U-M and Harvard researchers published in the New England Journal of Medicine. "Obesity plays a large role in life expectancy," said co-author Allison B. Rosen, assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan. "Despite the fact that we are smoking less, body-mass indexes (BMI) are going up. These increases in obesity are overtaking these changes in smoking behaviors." - U-M

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Stroke and heart disease trigger revealed (UK)

"Scientists have identified the trigger that leads to the arteries becoming damaged in the disease atherosclerosis, which causes heart attacks and strokes, in research published in the journal Circulation. The authors of the study, from Imperial College London, say their findings suggest that the condition could potentially be treated by blocking the molecule that triggers the damage. The research also suggests that bacteria may be playing a part in the disease. In atherosclerosis, 'plaques' form in arteries that feed the brain and heart, obstructing the blood flow. The plaques are made of substances like fatty deposits and cholesterol. Immune cells are attracted into these plaques, which form inside the wall of the artery, leading to the artery becoming inflamed and to the artery wall being damaged. Sometimes, the plaque can burst as a result of this damage, causing a stroke or a heart attack. This research, which was funded by the British Heart Foundation and the European Commission, reveals the trigger that leads to the inflammation and damage to the artery wall. The researchers hope they can block this trigger in order to prevent damage to the artery and, ultimately, heart attacks and strokes. The trigger identified in the research is a molecule called TLR-2. This 'receptor' molecule lives on the surface of an immune cell and when it recognises harmful molecules and cells, including bacteria, it switches the immune cell into attack mode, to protect the body. It can also switch on the immune cells when the body is under stress" - ScienceDaily

Cardiovascular fitness may sharpen mind (Sweden)

"A healthy body may be the first step to achieving a healthy mind and appetite for learning. A large new study links cardiovascular fitness in early adulthood to increased intelligence, better performance on cognitive tests, and higher educational achievement later in life. Researchers say the results suggest that promoting physical and cardiovascular fitness as a public health strategy could maximize educational achievement as well as prevent disease at the societal level. "We believe the present results provide scientific support for educational policies to maintain or increase physical education in school curricula as a means to stem the growing trend toward a sedentary lifestyle, which is accompanied by an increased risk for diseases and perhaps intellectual and academic underachievement," write researchers Maria Aberg and colleagues of the University of Gothenburg in Gothenburg, Sweden in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study followed more than 1 million men born in 1950 through 1976 who were enlisted for military service in Sweden at age 18. The sample included 3,147 twin pairs, of which 1,432 were identical. - webMD

10th Anniversary of Healthy Heart Programme (Dundee, Scotland)

"The University of Dundee's Institute of Sports and Exercise (ise) will this week celebrate 10 years of helping to improve the health of local heart disease-sufferers. The Phase IV Cardiac Rehab class is part of the ise's Specialist Populations exercise programme, which also works with diabetes sufferers. Since its inception in 1999, the class has been attended by more than 450 people from Dundee and the surrounding area as part of their recovery from a range of conditions and treatments including heart attacks, bypass surgery, angina, heart transplants and valve replacements"

Rhodri Morgan affirms commitment to cardiac care (Wales)

"The First Minister, Rhodri Morgan, has reaffirmed the Welsh Assembly Government's commitment to reduce incidence of cardiac disease in Wales. Speaking at the 11th Cardiology Study Day at the University of Glamorgan, Mr Morgan outlined measures to improve people's lifestyle and diet to reduce heart disease and care and support for people who develop the potentially life-threatening condition. The event was organised by Cwm Taf Health Board to share views on the achievements and development of cardiology services across Wales"

Emerson Hospital cardiac rehab program receives certification (MA, USA)

Emerson Hospital's cardiac rehabilitation program was recently certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. AACVPR certification signifies that Emerson's program meets the essential standards for quality patient care in cardiac rehabilitation, including exercise programming, risk factor education, psychosocial well-being, and nutrition. The AACVPR program certification committee reviews each hospital program for adherence to standards. If the program is approved, the AACVPR Board of Directors issues a certificate, which is valid for three years. The certification process takes about 10 months from start to finish. The mission of the AACVPR is to reduce morbidity, mortality, and disability from cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases through education, prevention, rehabilitation, research, and disease management. "Ginny Dow, manager of cardiac rehabilitation, and her team submitted a substantial portfolio demonstrating 100 percent compliance with AACVPR standards in December 2008," said Kevin Whitney, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer at Emerson Hospital, MA, USA. "Following a lengthy review process, we received notification in early September that we met the criteria for the three-year certification. The AACVPR is a national association whose mission, promoting health and preventing disease, is recognized as the gold standard. Congratulations to Ginny and her team for the excellent service they provide to our patients and for this outstanding achievement"

Montreal Heart Institute performs its first implant of new prosthesis for cardiac arrhythmia (Canada)

"A multidisciplinary team from the Montreal Heart Institute performed its first catheter implantation of a new prosthesis (Amplatzer® Cardiac Plug) closing the appendage of the left atrium of the heart, which will have the effect of preventing the formation of blood clots and avoiding open-heart surgery. This is excellent news for patients suffering from atrial fibrillation, the most common form of cardiac arrhythmia, affecting at least 5% of Canadians over the age of 70. This innovation takes place within the framework of a pan-Canadian program that includes the Institut de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec, the Toronto General Hospital, St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver, as well as the MHI"

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hospitals will get heart data via Bluetooth (USA)

"Trauma doctors in Brevard County will soon be armed with technology that makes life-saving care available to patients before they roll up to the emergency room door. Brevard County Fire-Rescue is implementing Bluetooth technology to transmit electrocardiogram readings from cardiac patients in the field to hospitals so doctors are better prepared to treat them. In about three or four months, more than 93 units, including 40 fire-rescue ambulances, will be equipped with the new technology for rapid transmission of EKG readings. Melbourne and Palm Bay are among seven other fire departments that will benefit from the technology. It will cost about $155,000 to equip ambulances for the new technology, and the entire cost is funded by a Florida Department of Health grant, including server and modem costs for the next five years. Hospitals will set up receiving centers to receive the EKG readings." - Florida Today

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Health Canada: important information on changes to heparin potency

Health Canada is informing health care professionals and Canadians of recent changes to heparin manufacturing standards in the United States that will result in a decrease in the potency of certain heparin products by about 10 per cent

The Branson Landing Well Walker program (USA)

"The Branson Landing Well Walker program (Missouri, USA) is sponsored by Skaggs Regional Cardiac Center. This free program is dedicated to helping keep its members healthy, active and living more productive lives. The Well Walker program is designed for people of all ages, body types and fitness levels. The Branson Landing provides 2 miles of beautiful scenery, perfect for walking. Walkers can enjoy unique shopping, entertainment and the peaceful boardwalk along Lake Taneycomo. Registration for the program begins during a kick-off ceremony at Branson Landing square, Thursday, December 3, 2009, 11 a.m. Wear your walking shoes, following registration we'll take a walk together! All registered members receive a welcome bag full of goodies that'll help get your walking program started off on the right foot. If you're unable to attend the Well Walker kick-off ceremony, registration for the program will be available here online later that day or visit Branson Landing Management located on the Landing, Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Average dog owner 'gets more exercise than gym-goers' (UK)

Average dog owner 'gets more exercise than gym-goers' (UK)The average dog owner gets more exercise walking their pet than someone with a gym membership, a pet health care expert has claimed. Researchers found animal lovers exercise their pet twice a day for 24 minutes each time – a total of five hours and 38 minutes a week. On top of that, the average dog owner also takes their pet out on three long walks each week adding another two hours and 33 minutes to the total. But in comparison, those without a dog spend an average of just one hour and 20 minutes per week exercising by going to the gym or heading out for a stroll or jog. And almost half (47 per cent) of non-pet owners admit they do absolutely no exercise whatsoever. A spokesperson for pet health care experts Bob Martin said the difference between the two was that going to the gym can feel like a chore while dogwalking can be far more enjoyable. "With increasing focus on leading an active healthy lifestyle it seems that owning a dog makes us more healthy," the Bob Martin spokesperson said. "The Government recommends 30 minutes of moderate cardio vascular exercise 3-5 times per week and it's encouraging to see that dog walkers are exceeding this target and enjoying it at the same time." - Telegraph

Salt intake, stroke, and cardiovascular disease: meta-analysis of prospective studies (BMJ)

"During the past century, the evidence for the risks imposed on human health by excess salt consumption has become compelling. The causal relation between habitual dietary salt intake and blood pressure has been established through experimental, epidemiological, migration, and intervention studies. Most adult populations around the world have average daily salt intakes higher than 6 g, and for many in eastern Europe and Asia higher than 12 g. International recommendations suggest that average population salt intake should be less than 5-6 g per day." - BMJ

Bacteria in cigarettes may harm health

"Cigarettes are widely contaminated with bacteria, including some known to harm health, French and U.S. researchers said. Researchers at the University of Maryland in College Park and Ecole Centrale de Lyon in France found cigarettes could be the direct source of exposure to a wide array of potentially pathogenic microbes among smokers and those exposed to secondhand smoke. "We were quite surprised to identify such a wide variety of human bacterial pathogens in these products," lead researcher Amy R. Sapkota of the University of Maryland School of Public Health said in a statement. "If these organisms can survive the smoking process - and we believe they can - then they could possibly go on to contribute to both infectious and chronic illnesses in both smokers and individuals who are exposed to environmental tobacco smoke." Sapkota and colleagues used DNA microarray analysis to estimate the so-called bacterial metagenome -- the totality of bacterial genetic material present in the tested cigarettes. The findings are scheduled to be published in Environmental Health Perspectives" - UPI

Diabetes rate may double by 2034

If nothing is done, the number of Americans with diabetes will nearly double in the next 25 years and spending on the disease will nearly triple, a new study shows. An aging population combined with a dramatic rise in obesity has created a perfect storm for diabetes in the U.S., researchers say. "A perfect storm is a good way to look at it," study researcher Elbert S. Huang, MD of the University of Chicago tells WebMD. "If things stay the way they are right now we will have massive increases in diabetes incidence in this country over the next two decades." By 2034, as many as 44 million Americans will have diabetes, up from 23 million today, according to the new projections, published in the November issue of the American Diabetes Association journal Diabetes Care. The cost of caring for diabetes patients is projected to rise from $113 billion to $336 annually, and that is before adjusting for inflation. These costs will outpace the increase in cases because more diabetes patients will be older and sicker and will require more expensive medical care, experts say

Diabetes Care - November 2009

Diabetes Care - Volume 32, Number 12, November 2009, is now available from The American Diabetes Association


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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thomas Wallace - Obituary

Thomas Glen Edward Ted Wallace 1926 to 2009. It is with sadness that the family of Ted Wallace announces his passing. Ted passed away at RUH on November 21, 2009 at the age of 83 years. Ted leaves to mourn his wife of 48 years, Helen Wallace; daughter, Brenda and husband, Don Reiter; grandchildren, Kyle and Kimberley Reiter; son, Neil Wallace and wife, Marie; brother-in-law, Roger Stacy and wife, Maureen. Ted was born and raised in the Dafoe area and was a farmer and beekeeper until he and Helen retired to Saskatoon in 1994. Upon graduation from high school, Ted enlisted in the army during World War II and was a legion member. After WWII at the age of nineteen, Ted left the army and briefly enrolled in the College of Agriculture in Saskatoon until the death of his father required him to assume responsibility for the farm. During his life, Ted also enjoyed woodworking, cross-country skiing, dancing, golf and curling. Ted and Helen were active members of the vibrant FooteCopeland community. After their retirement to Saskatoon, Ted became an enthusiastic participant in the Coronary Artery Rehabilitation Group (CARG) Program. He has met many friends at CARG and was extremely grateful to the staff and program. A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, November 28, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. from McClure United Church (4025 Taylor Street East, Saskatoon, SK S7H 5N7). In lieu of flowers, donations in Ted's memory can be made to CARG, Saskatoon Field House (2020 College Drive, Saskatoon, SK S7N 2W4) or McClure United Church (address above). Family and friends may send email condolences from the website Arrangements are entrusted to Neysa Gee, Hillcrest Funeral Home, 477-4400

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bottling anger at work can be deadly: Study

"Men who bottle up their anger at being unfairly treated at work are up to five times more likely to suffer a heart attack, or even die from one, than those who let their frustration show, a Swedish study has found. The study by the Stress Research Institutes of Stockholm University followed 2,755 employed men who had not suffered any heart attacks from 1992 to 2003. At the end of the study, 47 participants had either suffered an attack, or died from heart disease, and many of those had been found to be "covertly coping" with unfair treatment at work. The study was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health"

Video: Volunteer Heroes- British Heart Foundation

Meet some of the British Heart Foundation Shops volunteers who talk about what they enjoy most about working in our stores

CARG Newsletter - December 2009

CARG Newsletter - December 2009 is now available

Upstream Diabetes Study

We are looking for volunteers to participate in a study that is testing a new Canadian Diabetes Screening tool. You may have already been approached by a staff member regarding this project, but if you haven't, this could be your opportunity to make an easy $20.00.

Jaime (one of the staff) has been franticly recruiting people to participate in this study. If you are interested please talk to her.

Do you qualify for the study?

- Have to be between the ages of 40 and 74 years
- NOT diabetic already
- NOT pregnant

There are two ways to participate

1. Screening events are being held once a month. They are currently only at the field house but we are planning to expand to Shaw sometime in the near future. Your blood test will be done at this time and you will also receive education on nutrition, physical activity, and action planning. Posters and sign-up sheets will be found on the exercise log tables
2. If you would rather do the blood test on your own time, a lab requisition form can be obtained from Jaime. Before receiving the requisition, a meeting will need to be scheduled to complete the screening tool. After this is completed, a trip to the lab can be completed at your earliest convenience

If there are any questions or concerns, please talk to Jaime during the cardiac program or call 655-4804