Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Heart appeal aims to save lives in Coventry (UK)

Heart appeal aims to save lives in Coventry (UK)"Organisations in Coventry, UK, are being urged to support a campaign to introduce more defibrillators into the community in memory of a prominent businessman. The Derek Higgs Start a Heart Appeal wants to place 50 defibrillators across Coventry which will cost GBP50,000, and is calling on businesses to protect their workforce and customers by buying one of the life-saving machines. The appeal is in memory of Sir Derek Higgs, a trustee of the Alan Edward Higgs Charity, who died suddenly of a heart attack in April last year at the age of 64." -

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Veterinary cardiologist discovers gene for heart disease

Washington State University veterinary cardiologist Kathryn M. Meurs has discovered a mutant gene in the Boxer breed that causes a type of heart disease that can be fatal in animals and humans. Well known in the Boxer breed community, the disease is called Boxer cardiomyopathy. The more formal term is arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy or ARVC. This is same type of heart disease that caused the sudden death of 1950s college and pro football great Joe Campanella at age 36, as he played handball with the new head coach of the Baltimore Colts, Don Shula. In Boxers, the disease can be fatal and frequently occurs when the animals exercise or become excited. Occasionally, they perish from the disease while at rest, too. "Dr. Meurs' discovery of both the gene and its location is a tremendous achievement in the cardiology of humans and animals," said Bryan Slinker, dean of WSU's College of Veterinary Medicine, and a recognized cardiac disease researcher. "This achievement not only helps Boxer breeders avoid this disease but it also provides an extraordinary advancement to the study of human heart diseases resulting from electrical conduction defects and the resulting heart muscle changes that occur." - newswise

CMAJ 28 April 2009, Volume 180, Issue 9 online

The Canadian Medical Association Journal - 28 April 2009, Volume 180, Issue 9, is now available online

Smoking is top cause of preventable death (USA)

Smoking remains the top cause of preventable death in the U.S., followed closely by high blood pressure, according to a new study that shows each accounted for about one in five adult deaths in 2005. The report also shows being physically inactive, overweight, or obese accounted for nearly one in 10 preventable deaths; high salt intake was responsible for one in 25 deaths. Researchers say the results show that targeting a handful of risk factors has the potential to substantially reduce preventable deaths. "In particular, effective interventions are available for tobacco smoking and high blood pressure, the leading two causes of mortality in the U.S.," write researcher Majid Ezzati, of the Harvard School of Public Health, and colleagues in PLoS Medicine. "Despite the availability of interventions, blood pressure and tobacco smoking decline in the U.S. have stagnated or even reversed, and there has been a steady increase in overweight-obesity."

Heartfelt thanks for new St John of God Hospital procedures (Australia)

"New procedures at St John of God Hospital are already saving the lives of cardiac patients. In a first for regional Victoria, the hospital's catheter laboratory is now doing cardiac angioplasty and stenting, which opens artery blockages and allows blood flow to the heart. Previously, patients needing the procedure were sent to Melbourne or Geelong. Cardiologist Dr Chris Hengel said having the procedures in Ballarat meant patients no longer had to travel for treatment, where they often had to wait days. "Patients can have the stents when they need, as opposed to when Melbourne labs can fit them in," Dr Hengel said. When Ballarat man Stewart Hutchison, 67, had a heart attack on Saturday, he expected to go to Melbourne this week for treatment. But thanks to the new service, Mr Hutchison was treated in Ballarat on Monday and was going home today. Coronary angioplasty and stenting is the use of a balloon to open up a coronary blockage, followed by the insertion of a stent, which is a tiny metal scaffold used to hold the artery open. Mr Hutchison could not praise the service enough. "It's just fantastic and I'm fortunate I could have it here," he said. The laboratory has done up to 18 stents with the new service and aims to perform 200 stents per year. SJOG chief executive officer John Fogarty said the hospital now provided almost the whole range of cardiac procedures using state-of-the-art technology" - The Courier

Cardiac patients trial home-based rehabilitation (Australia)

"Patients who have been treated in hospital for cardiac health problems, such as a heart attack, are being given a powerful new option to help set them on the path to good health. CSIRO's Australian E-Health Research Centre (AEHRC) and Queensland Health are reinventing cardiac rehabilitation programs by using mobile phone and web technology that will allow patients to undergo healthy lifestyle programs at home and still receive the appropriate medical support. AEHRC Chief Executive Officer, Dr Phil Gurney, said patients used the mobile phones to measure physiological data, such as the number of steps taken, and make their online wellness diary entries. "Daily motivational and educational text messages are sent by phone and mentors set personalised goals at weekly phone or video conferences," Dr Gurney said. Currently less than 20 per cent of people who have been treated in hospital for a cardiac event complete the standard six-week outpatient rehabilitation program. Brisbane's Prince Charles Hospital Director of Cardiology, Associate Professor Darren Walters, said preventing further cardiac events in patients is as important as treating the initial acute heart attack. "The advantage of this technology is that it is personalised, accessible and has been widely adopted by Australians from all walks of life," Professor Walters said. "It's a novel approach that could provide a better option for the delivery of cardiac rehabilitation for a significant proportion of patients."" - GEN

Monday, April 27, 2009

May is National Stroke Awareness Month (USA)

"In 1987, National Stroke Association initiated and received a presidential proclamation to annually celebrate National Stroke Awareness Month in May. The goal of the annual campaign is to raise public awareness about the full continuum of stroke by managing stroke risk factors, better understanding of stroke symptom recognition and response and improving the quality of life during stroke recovery for millions of stroke survivors in the United States."

BHF Heart Runners at Flora London Marathon 2009

BHF Heart Runners at Flora London Marathon 2009"A huge well done and thank you to all of the British Heart Foundation Heart Runners who took part in the 2009 Flora London Marathon yesterday. All in all around 650 Heart Runners set out from the start in Greenwich to run the 26-mile course to the finish line in The Mall, raising hundreds of thousands of pounds to help the fight against heart disease"

Germy mouths linked to heart attacks, study finds

"People with the germiest mouths are the most likely to have heart attacks, U.S. researchers reported. A study that compared heart attack victims to healthy volunteers found the heart patients had higher numbers of bacteria in their mouths, the researchers said. Their findings add to a growing body of evidence linking oral hygiene with overall health" - Reuters

Chemical recipe could repair hearts (UK)

"A chemical recipe has been discovered that could pave the way to repairing failing hearts with stem cells. The cocktail of three proteins described by scientists kick-starts the transformation of embryonic stem cells into beating heart cells. Two of the proteins are "transcription factors", biological agents that influence the activity of genes. The third is a heart-specific "chromatin remodeller" that alters chromosome structure. Together they appear to hold the key to creating new heart muscle cells that one day could be used to rebuild failed hearts. Heart failure can occur as a result of a heart attack, or a condition that puts the heart under strain, such as a birth defect, faulty valve or high blood pressure. The result is a permanently damaged and weakened heart, causing symptoms of breathlessness and fatigue and greatly increasing the risk of premature death. An estimated 68,000 new cases of heart failure occur each year in the UK. According to official figures, the condition is responsible for around 11,500 deaths a year. However, the actual number is likely to be much higher, since the death certificates of people who die from heart failure often cite other causes such as coronary heart disease. Once damaged, the heart has little ability to regenerate itself. For this reason, it is a primary target for research into reconstructive stem cell therapies." - Channel 4

Smallest full support heart assist device on trial

"Northwestern Memorial Hospital's Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute is the first center in Illinois and among the first in the country to implant a new experimental left ventricular assist device (LVAD) into subjects with advanced heart failure, a condition where the heart cannot pump enough blood to the body's organs. The HeartWare Ventricular Assist System (HeartWare System) features the HVAD Pump, the smallest LVAD to provide full cardiac support currently under investigation in the United States. The HeartWare System is intended as a bridge to heart transplantation. Northwestern Memorial surgeons have implanted four subjects with the device, and are the first in the country to transplant a subject as part of this trial" - EmaxHealth

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A pre-workout meal to help you burn fat (UK)

"The type of carbohydrates you eat before a workout may influence how much fat you burn during your exercise session, new research suggests. Women who ate a breakfast rich in carbohydrates that do not cause a spike in blood sugar - think muesli, yogurt, skimmed milk - burned 50% more fat during a post-breakfast workout than did those who ate a breakfast rich in the kind of carbohydrates known to make blood sugar rise sharply, such as cornflakes and white bread. Carbs that cause a sharp blood sugar rise are known as high-glycemic index carbs, while those that don't are called low-glycemic index carbs. While other researchers have also found that a low-glycemic menu is beneficial to fat-burning, the new study has some unique points, noted lead author Emma Stevenson, a senior lecturer at Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, U.K. She conducted the study while at the University of Nottingham. The study was funded by Mars UK, the food and candy company. It is published in the May issue of The Journal of Nutrition"

Swine Flu fears prompt global quarantine plans

"Countries planned quarantines, tightened rules on pork imports and tested airline passengers for fevers as global health officials tried Sunday to come up with uniform ways to battle a deadly strain of swine flu" - AP

Mission: Lifeline - American Heart Association

Mission: Lifeline - American Heart Association"Every year, almost 400,000 people experience ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) - the deadliest type of heart attack. Unfortunately, a significant number do not receive prompt reperfusion therapy, which is critical in restoring blood flow. Worse yet, 30 percent of STEMI victims don't receive reperfusion treatment at all. Mission: Lifeline™ seeks to save lives by closing the gaps that separate STEMI patients from timely access to appropriate treatments. Although Mission: Lifeline is focusing on improving the system of care for the nearly 400,000 patients who suffer from a STEMI each year, improving that system will ultimately improve care for all heart attack patients"

National Emergency Medical Services Week (USA)

"National Emergency Medical Services Week, May 17-23, brings together local communities and medical personnel to publicize safety and honor the dedication of those who provide the day-to-day lifesaving services of medicine's "front line." This information can be used throughout the year for public education and safety programs"

Saturday, April 25, 2009

New target for maintaining healthy blood pressure discovered

In trying to understand the role of prostaglandins – a family of fatty compounds key to the cardiovascular system – in blood pressure maintenance, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and colleagues discovered that mice that lack the receptor for one type of prostaglandin have lower blood pressure and less atherosclerosis than their non-mutant brethren. The results indicate that the normal role for the type of prostaglandin studied, PG F2-alphais to increase blood pressure and accelerate atherosclerosis, at least in rodents, and suggest that targeting this pathway could represent a novel therapeutic approach to cardiovascular disease. The results appeared this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Exercise attacks bad effects of belly fat

U.S. researchers say moderate exercise reduces inflammation linked to metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors predicting heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The syndrome has been linked to inflammation found in visceral fat - better known as belly fat. "In the study, the benefits of exercise were apparent, even without a change in diet. We saw improvements in insulin sensitivity, less fat in the liver, and less inflammation in belly fat," study researcher Jeffrey Woods of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign said in a statement. The researchers assigned mice to either a sedentary group, an exercise group, a low-fat diet group, or a group that combined a low-fat diet with exercise for six or 12 weeks. Combining diet and exercise didn't yield dramatically different and better results than diet or exercise alone. The only significant increase from six to 12 weeks in belly fat was in the sedentary mice. Woods said this is a promising finding. "The benefits of exercise were apparent even if the animals were still eating a high-fat diet," Woods said. "That tells me that exercise could decrease or prevent these life-threatening diseases by reducing inflammation even when obesity is still present." The findings are published in the American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology and Metabolism. - redOrbit

Taxis in Stockholm to be equipped with defibrillators

Taxis in Stockholm to be equipped with defibrillators"More than 100 Stockholm taxis will be equipped with defibrillators and their drivers trained to help cardiac arrest victims, medical and taxi officials said on Friday. The taxis, which will also respond to emergency calls when they have no customers, are sometimes closer to the scene than an ambulance, according to Jeanette Lindstroem, who heads the project at Stockholm's biggest cab company Taxi Stockholm. "The sooner the patients get help the greater their chances of survival. We are out on the roads 24 hours a day. In the event of an emergency, we can get there quickly and begin life-saving measures," Lindstroem said" - MedIndia

World Hypertension League Newsletter No. 123

World Hypertension League Newsletter No. 123, February/March 2009 is now available online

Friday, April 24, 2009

Professional Football Players Mothers' Association teams up with Go Red For Women® to beat the no. 1 killer of women

Go Red For Women® is heading to the 2009 NFL Draft to announce its new partnership with the Professional Football Players Mothers' Association (PFPMA). NFL Moms Wilma McNabb, mother of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, and Gladys Bettis, mother of Jerome "The Bus" Bettis, will announce the partnership in advance of the 2009 NFL Draft on Friday, April 24 at national sponsor and leading fundraiser, Macy's Herald Square store in New York City. The PFPMA has joined forces with Go Red For Women to raise awareness of heart disease, the No. 1 killer of women in the U.S.

Mayo Clinic Health Manager (USA)

Mayo Clinic Health Manager (USA)"Mayo Clinic Health Manager is a free tool that enables you to easily manage your family's health online. You'll get interactive, personal guidance based on health information from Mayo Clinic experts. Plus, you can easily access and organize your family's health information all in one place."

The Summer Solstice Bike Ride (UK)

The Summer Solstice Bike Ride (UK)"The Summer Solstice Bike Ride is a fabulous new event taking place on the longest day of the year (21 June 2009) where participants cycle from sunrise to sunset. But this is not just any horizon. The journey begins with participants watching sunrise at Glastonbury Tor before embarking on a 125 kilometre bike ride to historical Stonehenge, in time for sunset. The route takes cyclists from Glastonbury Tor onto the renowned Cheddar Gorge. From here we cycle past the beautiful Mendip Hills (an area of outstanding natural beauty) and through the Salisbury Plain, before we embark on the final leg of our journey - making our way to the majestic Stonehenge. Passing through small villages and stopping for regular breaks including lunch and dinner, this really is a wonderful and unique cycling experience. The bike ride is challenging, but definitely achievable and something that anyone can do. You will be part of a fantastic team all cycling for one great cause. So get in gear and join the others taking part and help raise funds that will make a real difference to people whose lives have been affected by stroke."

From pianist to carer in a couple of hours (UK)

From pianist to carer in a couple of hours (UK)"Geoffrey Saba dedicated his life to music – until his wife had a stroke. He talks here about his new career as a carer." - Telegraph

Smokers 'need anger help to quit'

Smokers 'need anger help to quit'"Smokers should be given anger management lessons to help them give up smoking, a study suggests. University of California tests on 20 people found nicotine helped calm aggression, but it was more likely from people not wearing nicotine patches. Researchers hypothesised smokers were more likely to be people prone to anger and said tackling this could be a vital part of smoking cessation services. NHS stop smoking services said the research would be considered" - BBC

Relapse prevention in UK Stop Smoking Services: a qualitative study of health professionals' views and beliefs

"NHS Stop Smoking Services in the UK provide cost effective smoking cessation interventions, but approximately 75% of smokers who are abstinent at 4 weeks relapse to smoking by 12 months. This study aimed to explore health professionals' understanding of relapse prevention interventions (RPIs), the feasibility of offering such support and whether and how these are currently used in UK NHS Stop Smoking Services" - BMC

E-connect: Saskatoon Health Region's employee newsletter 4/8

E-connect: Saskatoon Health Region's employee newsletter volume 4, issue 8, April 17, 2009 is now available online

New, automated system for diagnosis of major coronary artery stenosis allows radiologists to prioritize critical cases

"A new automated system designed for the interpretation of coronary CT angiography (CCTA), helps radiologists determine which cases are high priority and should be read first, according to a study performed at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA. The study included 100 CCTA studies submitted for evaluation using the new automated system (COR Analyzer II Software). 'The software detected 10/13 patients with artery stenosis 50% or greater and correctly identified 59/80 patients with less than 50% artery stenosis,' said Shaoxiong Zhang, MD, lead author of the study. The negative predictive value for the study population was high, 95%,' said Dr. Zhang." - American Roentgen Ray Society

Study shows ability available to 'grow' new veins

"There are many times when "new" veins are needed for grafting. Veins are taken from the legs to use in coronary artery bypass surgery routinely. Artificial grafts are sometimes used to create arteriovenous fistulas or shunts in renal patients for use in dialysis. Now there is a way to create a small diameter vascular grafts using the patient's own skin cells. The technique is one developed at Cytograft who funded the study published in the April 25 issue of The Lancet." - EmaxHealth

Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists Foundation and Dr. Peter Pronovost to collaborate

"At the 31st Annual Meeting of the Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists, the Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists Foundation and Peter Pronovost, M.D., PhD, Director of the Quality and Safety Research Group at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, formally announced that they have entered into a collaborative endeavor to reduce human error in the setting of cardiovascular anesthesia and surgery. The FOCUS project (Flawless Operative Cardiovascular Unified Systems), a multi-year, multi-center initiative, will examine the physical and cultural environment of the cardiac surgery operating rooms, and will seek to define processes by which the cardiovascular operative teams can reduce the occurrence of human error. The research will be based on the cockpit (or crew) resource management (CRM) model, implemented worldwide by the commercial aviation industry. The CRM model is based on the concepts that 'although individuals may make mistakes, it is possible for teams to be flawless' (John Nance), and embraces a culture in which everyone involved in servicing, preparing, or flying an aircraft is granted responsibility for that aircraft's safety" - GEN

Judith Mackay wins BMJ Lifetime Achievement Award

Judith Mackay wins BMJ Lifetime Achievement Award"The Lifetime Achievement award goes to a tireless and courageous campaigner on behalf of patients and public health care. Professor Judith Mackay has been based in Hong Kong since 1967, and worked as a hospital physician until 1984.Then she started campaigning against the tobacco industry in Asia and was labelled 'one of the three most dangerous people in the world' by the industry five years later. She is a consultant to the World Health Organisation and was instrumental in developing the WHO's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which places governments under international obligation to implement tobacco control policies. Currently she works for the World Lung Foundation component of the Bloomberg Initiative to reduce tobacco use in low and middle income countries. She is truly a global leader in health care."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lub Dub Run (USA)

Lub Dub Run
May 2nd 2009
Bothwell Regional Health Center, Sedalia, Missouri
Both courses are a single loop, starting at Bothwell Regional Health Center.
Course is paved with some hills.
Course is open to traffic, so headphones, strollers and pets not allowed.
Aid stations will be provided

Scientist 'worried' at Vioxx heart risk

"A MERCK scientist involved in developing the company's anti-arthritis drug Vioxx admitted in an internal email two years before the drug was released that the possibility of increased heart attacks was "of great concern". A 1997 email written by Alise Reicin, tendered to the Federal Court as part of a case against the US pharmaceutical giant, reveals she was worried about the increased cardiovascular risks of the new anti-inflammatory drug when designing a clinical trial of Vioxx. "The possibility of increased CV (cardiovascular) events is of great concern - (I just can't wait to be the one to present these results to senior management!)," she writes in the email, dated February 25. Ms Reicin goes on to suggest they "exclude" any patients with a history of heart problems so the difference between the two study groups "would not be evident"." - The Australian

Crash drama as man suffers heart attack at wheel (UK)

"Pensioner Ernie Webster leapt to the rescue after he spotted a passing driver suffer a heart attack behind the wheel of his car. But little did the 71-year-old city man realise he was going to the rescue of one of his drinking pals as he made a brave leap for the handbrake, which ended in his leg being run over by the out-of-control car. And today he was anxiously awaiting news of friend Billy Blackburn, who remained critically ill in hospital after yesterday's drama, which unfolded outside the Windmill pub in Aylsham Road, Mile Cross, where they are both regulars." - Norwich Evening News

First patients in United States receive innovative device to treat moderate heart failure

Sunshine Heart, a global medical device company focused on innovative heart assist technologies, has announced that The Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio has successfully completed the first two implants of the Company's C-Pulse™ heart assist system under a 20 person clinical trial approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These C-Pulse systems were implanted by Dr. Benjamin Sun, Chief, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Director, Cardiac Transplantation and Mechanical Support

Cheese and pickle sandwich and a heart attack anyone? (UK)

Cheese and pickle sandwich and a heart attack anyone? (UK)"You've shunned a lunchtime pasty and chips and feel virtuous tucking into a lean and healthy sandwich. Looks can be deceptive, however. Some pre-packaged sandwiches are laced with the same levels of salt as in 11 bags of crisps, according to a new study - and a cheese sandwich sold by Asda was found to have more saturated fat than a Big Mac. Customers are being warned by Which?, the consumer organisation, to be more vigilant in their choice and to be wary of higher prices, which are no guarantee of quality. Sandwiches are the nation's favourite lunchtime snack, with two billion bought each year in a market worth £5.3 billion. But at Subway a six-inch Meatball Marinara contained the equivalent of 11 small bags of Walkers crisps and more than three quarters of the recommended daily limit for adults" - Times Online

Dr. Dorothy L. Smith interviewed by the American College of Cardiology: Getting to the Heart of Patient Adherence

Dr. Dorothy L. Smith, founder and president of Consumer Health Information Corporation, was recently interviewed on the subject of patient adherence by Dr. Janet S. Wright, senior vice president for science and quality at the American College of Cardiology. The taped interview can be viewed on ACC's Cardiosource Video Network. Dorothy Smith is a graduate of the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan

CARG Program at the Shaw Centre

CARG Program at the Shaw CentreA second C.A.R.G. exercise program is slated to commence operation at the Shaw Centre this September.

On Friday, April 17th members of the C.A.R.G. Executive met with Shan Landry, V.P. for Community Services with the Saskatoon Health Region. She informed us that the Health Region was committing funds on an ongoing basis to deliver a cardiac exercise program at the Shaw Centre, on the west side of the city.

Ms Landry complimented C.A.R.G. on our lobbying efforts to obtain this second program. It was those efforts, she said, that convinced senior management of the need for such a program. Ms Landry further stated she would like to have C.A.R.G. join with her on comparable future initiatives and to meet with us annually.

We will have information available for the membership, as Fall approaches, regarding times and other specifics.

We owe a word of thanks to several other organizations and individuals for their efforts on behalf of the new program. More will be published about this in the September newsletter. - Larry Mullen, President, C.A.R.G.

Spring Social Event - CARG Family B.B.Q.

Spring Social Event - CARG Family B.B.Q.
Homemade beef burger plate with all the fixings
Date: Wednesday May 27, 2009
Time: 11:00 am to 12:30
Place: Saskatoon Field House - Willey's Place
Tickets: $8.00 per person
On sale: May 11, 13, 20, 22
Tickets must be purchased in advance (last day to buy May 22)
Look out for posters with more details at the Field House

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Breastfeeding may reduce cardio risk later in life

"Women may be able to stave off cardiovascular disease after menopause by breastfeeding their children, an observational study showed. Total time spent breastfeeding over a lifetime was associated with reductions in the risk of prevalent hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and cardiovascular disease among postmenopausal women in the Women's Health Initiative, according to Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues. Women who breastfed for at least one year were 9% less likely have cardiovascular disease at baseline than those who had never breastfed their children, they reported in the May issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology"

Transplant family's 'heart trick' (Scotland)

A Scottish family could become the first in the UK to undergo three heart transplants. Stephen Moffat, 12, from Cleland, Lanarkshire, and Rachael, 7, were the first siblings to have transplants for a hereditary heart problem. Now their father, Andrew, 45, requires the operation for the same condition. He told the BBC Scotland news website: "It is very rare. Rather than a hat trick - we would be going for a 'heart trick'."

Heart Health Roadshow is back (UK)

Heart Health Roadshow is back (UK)"The all new Heart Health Roadshow launches this May and will be in Newham & East London until the end of July. We will be offering free support and guidance to help you look after your heart from our Roadshow van. Improve your heart health. Come onboard for your Free Lifestyle Check (no need to make an appointment - just pop in!)

* You'll get a free assessment of your current lifestyle including a BMI check
* Our friendly heart health advisers will give you guidance and support
* They will help you understand how you can make real changes now to your lifestyle now to reduce your risk of developing a heart condition in the future" - British Heart Foundation

Heart failure patients may have trouble following low-sodium diets

"Even when they attempt to reduce their sodium intake, only one-third of heart failure patients in a small study were able to adhere to a recommended low-sodium diet, researchers reported at the American Heart Association's 10th Scientific Forum on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke. The recommended daily intake of sodium for heart failure patients is 2,000 milligrams (mg). However, the 116 heart failure patients in the study consumed an average 2,671 mg per day with a range of 522 to 9251 mg per day. The American Heart Association recommends healthy people aim to eat less than 2,300 mg of salt per day. Some people - African Americans, middle-aged and older adults and people with high blood pressure - should aim for less than 1,500 mg per day. 'The patients themselves were shocked to find out they were eating more than 2000 mg of sodium a day,' said Carolyn M. Reilly, R.N., Ph.D., abstract co-author and postdoctoral fellow at Emory University in Atlanta. Most of the patients thought they were taking steps to reduce their sodium, but focused on the wrong target, Reilly said." - AHA

Atkins Diet tougher on heart after weight loss

"In the "maintenance" phase that occurs after initial weight loss, the popular Ornish and South Beach diets seem to be easier on the heart than the high-fat, low-carbohydrate Atkins regimen, a new study finds. Unlike numerous studies that have evaluated diets to see which might be better at achieving weight loss, this study, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, looked at what happens to cholesterol levels and other cardiac risk factors when dieters reach their goal weight and remain on the diet." - HealthScout

Methadone used in addiction treatment implicated in sudden cardiac deaths, study reports

"A 2008 study from the Oregon Health & Science University suggests that methadone taken at therapeutic levels may be involved in sudden cardiac deaths. What that means is that even if it is not being abused, when it is simply taken for chronic pain or for treatment of addiction to opiates such as heroin or morphine, methadone may be killing people. The OHSU study analyzed sudden cardiac deaths in the greater Portland, Oregon area to compare deaths in which therapeutic levels of methadone were found to similar deaths in which no methadone was found. In the methadone group, 77 percent had no significant coronary artery disease which led researchers to conclude that the methadone present had very likely contributed to these deaths. The researchers recommended that a larger evaluation of methadone therapy be done and suggested that more safeguards might be needed when the drug is prescribed." - TransWorldNews

Eating fatty fish once a week reduces men's risk of heart failure

Eating salmon or other fatty fish just once a week helped reduce men's risk of heart failure, adding to growing evidence that omega-3 fatty acids are of benefit to cardiac health. Led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and reported in today's on-line issue of the European Heart Journal, the findings represent one of the largest studies to investigate the association. "Previous research has demonstrated that fatty fish and omega-3 fatty acids help to combat risk factors for a range of heart-related conditions, such as lowering triglycerides (fats in the blood) reducing blood pressure, heart rate and heart rate variability," explains first author Emily Levitan, PhD, a research fellow in the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Center at BIDMC. "Collectively, this may explain the association with the reduced risk of heart failure found in our study." - EurekAlert

Drug seen useful in preventing diabetes: study

A drug used to reduce sugar levels in diabetics appears to be useful in delaying or even preventing the disease in people predisposed to developing diabetes, a study in Japan has found. The study, published in The Lancet, found that fewer people who were given the generic drug voglibose went on to develop diabetes compared to those who received placebo, or dummy lookalike pills with no therapeutic value. While the study was supposed to last three years, researchers found that voglibose was much better than placebo before the end of the first year, and an independent monitoring panel terminated the study early. "Long term prophylaxis with this (drug) in high-risk individuals with impaired glucose tolerance could provide a pharmacological option, along with lifestyle modification, to help reduce the burden of type 2 diabetes in Japan," the researchers wrote in the article. The trial, headed by Ryuzo Kawamori of Juntendo University School of Medicine in Tokyo, involved 1,780 patients who were assessed to be at high risk of developing diabetes. Among them, 897 took voglibose three times a day, while 883 were given placebos. - Reuters

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Polyunsaturated fats help the heart

Substituting polyunsaturated fats for the saturated variety may help reduce coronary artery disease, according to a meta-analysis of studies involving more than 340,000 people on two continents. Their findings, pooled from 11 American and European studies involving mature adults of both sexes, were published in the May issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The researchers' advice was unequivocal: "To prevent coronary heart disease, saturated fatty acids should be reduced and replaced with polyunsaturated fatty acids among all middle-aged and older women and men." - Medpage Today

Exercise prescription coming your way? (USA)

The next time you see your doctor, he or she might do more than just tell you to get some exercise - they could pick up their prescription pad and prescribe exercise. Exercise prescriptions get inactive adults moving, a new study shows. The study, published in this week's Archives of Internal Medicine, is a 'milestone' because it proves that exercise prescriptions work, says Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP. Peeke, who is the spokeswoman for the American College of Sports Medicine's 'Exercise is Medicine' campaign, says it's 'quite rare' for U.S. doctors to prescribe exercise, but that's changing. - webMD

Blueberries may banish belly fat

"Busting belly fat may be yet another of blueberries' health benefits. A new study shows rats who ate a diet rich in blueberries lost abdominal fat - the kind of fat linked to heart disease and diabetes - as well as experienced other health benefits like lowered cholesterol and improved glucose control even if their diet wasn't otherwise heart-healthy. 'Some measurements were changed by blueberry even if the rats were on a high-fat diet,' researcher E. Mitchell Seymour, MS, of the University of Michigan's Cardioprotection Research Laboratory, says in a news release"

Fund-raiser hit by heart attack (UK)

Fund-raiser hit by heart attack (UK)"A super-fit fund-raiser has been forced to postpone his latest extreme charity challenge after suffering a heart attack. Gary Crompton (right) collapsed at his Standish home and has since had to undergo surgery. A cardiologist told the 45-year-old dad that if he went ahead with his latest punishing stunt - carrying a 200lb fridge-freezer from Manchester to Wigan - in three weeks' time it would most likely kill him. Plasterer Gary said he would heed the medical expert's words but remains determined to complete this third venture, in aid of The Christie cancer hospital, perhaps later in the summer."

Danny Ainge suffers heart attack (USA)

Danny Ainge suffers heart attack (USA)"Danny Ainge, the architect of the Celtics' 17th NBA title last year, is resting comfortably at Massachusetts General Hospital after suffering a mild heart attack. The team's executive director of basketball operations, who didn't attend Wednesday night's season finale against Washington because he felt sick, woke up with chest pains. Ainge was treated for a clogged artery, and is expected to stay in the hospital for several days" - Boston Herald

Mum gives birth to twins after heart attack (UK)

Mum gives birth to twins after heart attack (UK)"A mum has told of her incredible battle for life after suffering a massive heart attack just before giving birth to twins. As the babies were rushed for special care Nina Whear was given only a seven per cent chance of survival and said a heartbreak goodbye to her husband. But she went on to stage an amazing recovery and is now almost well enough to cuddle little Eva and Alfie - who had weighed in at 3lb 11oz and 4lb 10oz. Nina, 38, said: 'It was the most frightening night of my life.' The new mum had the devastating heart attack at home two weeks before she was due to give birth. Paramedics found her 'blue from head-to-toe and covered in sweat'. They kept her alive with oxygen during the dash to hospital where she had a caesarean followed by open-heart surgery. Before the op doctors feared the worst and asked the hospital chaplain to see her. Then they left her alone with husband Andy, an Army sergeant who had sped 100 miles from his base so they could say goodbye." - Mirror

'Silent' heart attacks are very common

"According to U.S. researchers, the medical phenomenon known as the 'silent' heart attacks is likely far more prevalent - and dangerous - than experts had previously suspected. According to current estimates, some 200,000 Americans per year experience these painless heart attacks - known in medical terminology as unrecognized myocardial infarctions - often without even realizing it. Dr. Han Kim of Duke University recently conducted a study on the subject that is set to appear in next week's Public Library of Science Medical journal. According to him, there is reason to suspect that current figures on silent heart attacks may be far too low - redOrbit

Post-op transfusions for cardiac patients 'wasting blood supplies' (UK)

"Blood transfusions routinely carried out after heart surgery could be wasting vital blood supplies and putting patients at risk, researchers suggest. Cardiac surgery uses almost ten per cent of all donor blood in Britain. Although the benefits of red-cell blood transfusions for managing life-threatening bleeding are clear, researchers at the University of Bristol believe that routine transfusions given after cardiac operations may be unnecessary and cause more medical problems than they solve" - Telegraph

Heart surgery is just the start (USA)

Heart surgery is just the start" Think of the worst traffic jam imaginable, Southern California bad. Imagine congestion choking off movement to all but a trickle, idling automobiles and causing noxious exhaust to build up until only gridlock remains. That was the shape of Robert Elam's heart back in December 2004. Three arteries were completely blocked and two were 90 percent clogged. Blood was still pumping, all right, but the backup was so pronounced that it seeped rather than flowed through his system. Quintuple coronary artery bypass surgery saved Elam's life. But had the 60-year-old Sacramento man not made the conscious, postoperative decision to dedicate himself to a cardiac rehabilitation program, it's doubtful he'd be hale and hearty enough to jump on his road bike and join his wife, Sue, next month on the four-day, 330-mile NorCal AIDS Challenge" - Sacramento Bee

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Songs soothe symptoms in heart disease patients

If you have heart problems, you might want to plug in that iPod or pop in a CD of mellow songs. Hospital patients with coronary heart disease reduced their heart rates, breathing rate and blood pressure just by listening to music, a Temple University review of 23 previous studies found. The report, published in the latest issue of The Cochrane Library, found that the soothing effects were greatest when these patients chose their own tunes. For example, patients' pulse rates fell by more beats per minute when they made the selections compared with those who listened to music selected by researchers. - USA Today

Angioplasty from the wrist: interest growing but lack of training limits spread in U.S.

The transradial approach to catheter-based procedures, where the radial artery in the wrist is used for angioplasty and stents, is in its infancy in the United States, even though it is widely utilized in the rest of the world. In the past two years a number of large studies have been published showing a significant reduction in bleeding complications and mortality with the wrist approach, as compared to the standard access site used in the U.S. - the femoral (or groin) artery. Moreover, patients are able to sit up and walk almost immediately after the wrist procedure, increasing not only their comfort and recovery time, but the cost-effectiveness of the procedure, a major issue in today's healthcare environment. The question raised by this information is why the use of radial access in the United States is in the low single digits, when it is the default access site for many cardiologists in other countries?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Walking track ready to get a workout (Australia)

Walking track ready to get a workout (Australia)"Rehabilitation patients can finally escape the confines of hospital walls thank to the completion of a walking track at Albury Base Hospital. The $10,000 track has been three years in the making, with significant donations from Turner Constructions, The Rockyard and Mini-Crete as well as funding and more than 150 hours of volunteer labour from the Albury West Rotary Club. The 250m track starts at a concrete ramp outside the rehabilitation gym, leads into a concrete path that moves around the western corner of the building and finishes with a clay loop around native gardens and bench seats. Cardiac care co-ordinator Tracy Ehlers said the track would be used daily by cardio rehabilitation, physiotherapy and occupational therapy patients. 'It's good for the cardio patients to get away from the hospital ward because there are no nurses there to guide them, so it builds their independence back up again,' she said. After three years of hard work, Albury West Rotary Club president Greg Barlow said his members were pleased to see the project completed." - Border Mail

Secondhand smoke quickly affects blood vessels

"Cardiovascular function can be affected by as little as 10 minutes exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke and other air pollutants such as wood smoke and smoke from cooking oil, say U.S. researchers. There's increasing evidence that higher levels of air pollution are associated with an increase in heart attacks and deaths, according to background information in an American Physiological Society news release. Smoke pollutants contain fine particles that trigger responses in heart and blood vessels." - Forbes

Washington County board OK's plan to respond to cardiac arrests in public buildings (USA)

The Washington County (MN) Board of Commissioners recently approved a plan to place automatic external defibrillators in many county facilities as a life-saving measure for people experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. Defibrillators will be located in county parks, the law enforcement center, as well as in sheriff department squad cars, county branch libraries, the historic courthouse in Stillwater, the service centers in Cottage Grove, Forest Lake and Woodbury, and the county government center. - Woodbury Bulletin

CPR Anytime (Canada)

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada's CPR Anytime Family & Friends Personal Learning Program allows families, friends and the general public - those who most likely would never attend a traditional CPR course - to learn the core skills of CPR for adults and children in just 20 minutes using their own personal kit. The kit contains everything needed to learn basic CPR, and skills can be learned anywhere, from the comfort of a family home to a large community group setting

Risking It, Cholesterol - Julian's Story

This video tells the story of City worker Julian, who has been diagnosed with high cholesterol, one of the main risk factors for heart disease. The episode is taken from the British Heart Foundation DVD Risking It:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Advanced X-ray system expected to benefit Ottawa heart patients

"Heart patients at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute can look forward to shorter wait times and less radiation as doctors hunt down artery blockages, according to a release put out by the institute Thursday. The institute has just installed a special cardiac X-ray that only requires one dye injection into the heart to map out where the blood flow stops – a 20-per-cent reduction possible because the machine can rotate around the patient as it maps out the body. It's a first in North America. "As part of our research mandate, we are also planning to investigate the full impact of this advanced X-ray technology on patient risk and improved effectiveness," stated Marino Labinaz, director of the institute's catheterization laboratory. In addition, the dual-axis rotational cardiac X-ray system lets doctors view a live 3D image of the artery, which the institute expects will make diagnosing problems more efficient. Radiation levels are also lower by as much as a third, reducing the risk of side effects" - Ottawa Business Journal

Statins may drain energy

Statins, taken by 13 million Americans to lower cholesterol, may also drain energy levels:

The University of Ottawa's Cochrane Center now offers Canadians free access to the health information found in The Cochrane Library

"The Canadian Cochrane Network and Centre has announced that everyone in Canada with access to the Internet will be able to view the full content of The Cochrane Library, an on-line resource that provides evaluations on health treatments

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Minimally invasive bypass surgery in Toronto, Canada

Sunnybrook's Schulich Heart Centre became the first centre in Toronto, Canada, to perform minimally invasive, beating-heart bypass surgery to fix clogged arteries and improve blood flow to the heart:

Walk for Hearts helps local cardiac care initiatives (Canada)

Walking will benefit local residents with heart disease in more ways than one during the Walk for Hearts. The walk, which is the major fundraiser for the Comox Valley Chapter of the First Open Heart Society, (British Columbia) raises money to support local cardiac-care initiatives. "It's very simple and easy to do a walk, and it does so much, it really does," said Anne Poole, chairperson of the Comox Valley Chapter. "This is First Open Heart, not Heart and Stroke, so our money is local. It stays here." The third annual Walk for Hearts will be held April 26 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., beginning at the Florence Filberg Centre in Courtenay. Participants walk along the river walkway and around the Courtenay Airpark and back. - Comox Valley Record

Seasonal Naples resident meets 911 dispatcher who helped save his life (USA)

Seasonal Naples resident meets 911 dispatcher who helped save his life (USA)Collapsed on the floor, Lee Lustig's tongue began to swell as his face turned black. Only moments earlier Lustig, 62, had been sharing a coffee with his wife, Diane, 62, inside their fourth floor North Naples condominium in the early morning hours of March 25. Out of the blue he said 'oww' and fell forward. In a panic, Diane Lustig called 911. 'Listen carefully. I'll tell you how to do chest compressions," Collier County Sheriff's Office 911 supervisor Julie Becker told her. Becker, 51, instructed Diane Lustig on how to position her husband's body, and where to place her hands. "I want you to pump the chest hard and fast," Becker said..." - Naples News

New heart centre for Leicester hospital (UK)

"A new national £5.5 million research centre for heart disease is to be set up at Leicester's Glenfield Hospital. Thousands of local people will benefit from ground-breaking and life-saving research and treatment at the new centre. More than 100 doctors and scientists will be involved in the work which will be carried out there and 15 jobs will be created. Key areas of research will include looking into the genetics and inheritance of heart disease, as well as studies of high blood pressure. Researchers will also work on the introduction of new treatments, including different types of cardiac stents - used to keep arteries open when a patient has undergone a procedure to clear blockages. The centre will have an outpatient suite which will be just inside the main entrance at Glenfield Hospital - which is already ranked among the best in Britain for its cardiac surgery." - This is Leicester

2009 Lobby Day - You're the Cure on the Hill (USA)

2009 Lobby Day - You're the Cure on the Hill (USA)"You're the Cure advocates call on Congress to step up the fight against heart disease and stroke. Nearly 500 advocates, including American Heart Association president Timothy Gardner, M.D., president-elect Clyde Yancy, M.D., FACC, FAHA, FACP, and other officers wearing red will meet their representatives in Congress on Capitol Hill on April 20-21 to pass meaningful and affordable heath care coverage, boost funding for heart and stroke research and prevention programs. Youth advocates, researchers, heart and stroke survivors will make a personal plea to their representatives: Help us save lives. As part of the American Heart Association’s You're the Cure on the Hill, these advocates will urge their members of Congress to support public policies that will help reduce death and disability from heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, the nation’s No. 1 killer. During Lobby Day, You're the Cure advocates will ask lawmakers to significantly boost funding for heart disease and stroke research and prevention"

Pilot has heart attack (Ireland)

"An Italian aircraft has made a safe landing at Shannon airport in Ireland despite the pilot suffering a suspected heart attack. The Alitalia aircraft was carrying 179 passengers and crew and was forced to make an emergency landing as it flew from Milan to New York. The Boeing 767 plane transmitted a distress call to Shannon Air Traffic Control when it was about 30 degrees west of the airport over the North Atlantic. Emergency services from Shannon, Ennis and Limerick were standing by at when the plane landed shortly after 5pm. An airport spokeswoman said the plane landed safely" - Yahoo

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

CMAJ 14 April 2009, Volume 180, Issue 8 online

The Canadian Medical Association Journal - 14 April 2009, Volume 180, Issue 8, is now available online

Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center to broadcast first live surgery via Twitter in Wisconsin

Aurora Health Care will be the first hospital system in Wisconsin to provide live updates of an exclusive, bi-lateral knee replacement surgery on the Internet. Through the social networking site Twitter, Aurora caregivers will provide a running commentary, updates of activities and photos of the procedure. Twitter users will continuously receive messages of 140 characters or less, called 'Tweets' and images through 'TwitPic'. Twitter broadcast begins at 8:00 AM CST, Thursday, April 16, 2009 - redOrbit

Standards proposed for development of cardiovascular risk markers

"Haphazard trial design doesn't cut it for development of cardiovascular risk predictors, the American Heart Association said. Given the proliferation of proposed genetic, imaging, and biological markers and recent debate over C-reactive protein, a scientific statement from the association laid down the basics for evaluation of new markers of cardiovascular risk"

Depression after heart disease ups risk of heart failure

"Patients with heart disease who are subsequently diagnosed with depression are at greater risk for heart failure, a condition in which the heart can't pump enough blood throughout the body, according to a new study published in the April 21, 2009, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. This study - the first to investigate the influence of depression after heart disease on the likelihood of developing HF - also found that taking antidepressant medications to ease depressive symptoms did not appear to mitigate this risk." -

Ex-inmates more prone to high blood pressure (USA)

"A new study shows that young adults who have served time in prison have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure and an enlarged heart than those who have never been incarcerated. Ex-inmates are also less likely to have access to regular health care, according to a report of the study appearing in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Between 1987 and 2007, the U.S. prison population tripled, making it "especially important to understand the implications of incarceration on future health status," Dr. Emily A. Wang of San Francisco General Hospital and colleagues note" - MSNBC

Three medical centers awarded funds to study generation of cardiac muscle cells

The American Heart Association, with support from the Jon Holden DeHaan Foundation, has awarded funding for three research centers to study the development and mechanisms of generating new cardiac muscle cells. Over the next four year, the centers will be conducting studies to ultimately determine how regeneration of those cells can help improve outcomes for heart attack and heart failure patients. The grants total $6 million and have been awarded to the following facilities, each to become home to an American Heart Association-Jon Holden DeHaan Foundation Cardiac Myogenesis Research Center:
* University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Penn. - Center Director: Jonathan Epstein, M.D.
* University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas - Center Director: Eric Olson, Ph.D.
* University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn. - Center Director: Doris Taylor, Ph.D.

Mediterranean diets healthiest, study finds

Mediterranean diets healthiest, study finds"A little red wine is in. Red meat is unquestionably out. And the Mediterranean diet is simply golden. That is the conclusion of a study out of McMaster University that seeks to offer the most definitive word yet on the foods that are good for your heart. The study, which examined almost 60 years' worth of existing research on diet and heart disease, attempts to separate the whole wheat from the chaff on foods in a way that doctors and consumers can swallow with confidence, says Dr. Sonia Anand, the study's senior author. It ran yesterday in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine" - The Star

Monday, April 13, 2009

Confessions of a weight-loss cyclist (UK)

Confessions of a weight-loss cyclist (UK) For 10 years Frank Kinlan's bike remained unused and gathering dust in his attic. He piled on the pounds and did no exercise, but refused help to lose weight. Then one morning, weighing 21 stones (133kg) Frank decided he had to do something. "One morning I looked in the mirror and thought that I had got to do something, so I picked the phone up and got an assessment with my local health trust." Frank was morbidly obese, with a BMI (body mass index) of 42. "I was massive, with a 46-48 inch waist, and I found it difficult to get clothes to fit," he said. Assessors told Frank, aged 49 who is from the Wirral, that he needed to lose weight and exercise more. They signed him up for their initial 12-week course, which used British Heart Foundation guidelines. But the idea of exercise was an anathema to Frank, who was so worried about the effect of his weight on his health and his extremely high blood pressure, that he was doing nothing. "I had slowed my life down to an absolute nothing and did nothing. The diet was bad and I was probably on the verge of diabetes and some other problems," he said. "I would be out of breath going up the stairs because I was winded carrying the extra weight. "I turned up at the first class and they told me to do 30 minutes of exercise a day, five days a week." So Frank decided to get on his bike and do something about it. "Welcome to the world of overweight cycling," he says. At first he was just doing short runs, but gradually he started to drop the pounds and set up a blog to record his progress, initially just for the others on his course - BBC

The gel jab that can strengthen the muscles of a weak heart

"An injectable gel could help heart attack victims make a speedier recovery. The gel binds itself to damaged heart muscle to strengthen it during the recovery process. Because it solidifies on contact with heart tissue, the gel takes some of the strain off the body's hardest-working organ while it is recuperating. After six weeks, when recovery is normally well under way, the gel dissolves and is excreted through the kidneys. Every year, around 270,000 people in Britain suffer a heart attack - and coronary disease remains Britain's biggest killer. The revolutionary gel, being developed by Israeli firm BioLineRx Ltd, could protect many patients against heart failure" - Mail Online

G20 cop who hit Ian Tomlinson 'has a heart attack'

G20 cop who hit Ian Tomlinson 'has a heart attack'"The policeman filmed hitting a newspaper seller just before he died at the G20 protests has had a suspected heart attack. The officer, who has not been named, claims he did not realise he was the man who pushed Ian Tomlinson to the ground until he saw footage on Wednesday’s TV news. Badly shaken, he telephoned Scotland Yard chiefs to say he was the officer involved, then collapsed at his home. The PC was taken to hospital in Sussex, where he was kept in overnight with a suspected heart attack but was released the next day. The officer, who works for the Territorial Support Group who deal with riots and public order, was suspended on Thursday. He faces a criminal investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) following Mr Tomlinson's death" - Mirror

Former Spurs star Jimmy Neighbour dies (UK)

Former Spurs star Jimmy Neighbour dies Former Tottenham, Norwich and West Ham striker Jimmy Neighbour has died suddenly at the age of 58. Neighbour, who played in Spurs' 1971 League Cup-winning side, suffered a heart attack at home while recovering from a hip replacement operation. Neighbour was on Tottenham's books from 1966 to 1976 and returned to the club in 2000 as coach of the under-17 side.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Anti-smoking ads increase shock level (USA)

"The commercials are shocking - even devastating - all of it on purpose. The ads are the latest in New York's anti-smoking campaign - targeting the city's one million smokers"

Drinking water could curb obesity (USA)

"It's not just American adults who are faced with an epidemic of obesity. Children and adolescents are becoming overweight at an alarming rate. In fact, Centers for Disease Control statistics show the prevalence of obesity among children between the ages of 6 to 11 has more than doubled in the past 20 years. But now a study just published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine concludes there's a simple and effective way to reduce the excess intake of calories causing childhood overweight and obesity, as well as contributing to cavities and other health problems. The solution isn't a new drug - it is simply drinking more water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages." - Natural News Network

Large belly ups risk for heart failure

Large belly ups risk for heart failure"Medical research continues to point out that middle-aged and older people with big bellies live with a greater risk for heart failure. "By any measure - BMI, waist circumference, waist to hip ratio or waist to height ratio - our findings showed that excess body weight was associated with higher rates of heart failure," said the study's lead author, Emily Levitan of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "This study reinforces the importance of maintaining a healthy weight," she added. The researchers presented the new findings after analyzing the weight, height, and waist measurements of approximately 80,000 men and women from their mid-40s to early 80s. According to the study, women with extra weight around their stomachs were 15 per cent more likely to develop heart failure. Men, however, were 16 per cent more likely to develop the life-threatening condition if they had a larger belly. Heart failure occurs when the heart can no longer pump a sufficient amount of blood to meet the body's needs. It is typically caused by existing cardiac conditions, including high blood pressure or coronary artery disease. It is characterized by such symptoms as fatigue and weakness, difficulty in walking, rapid or irregular heartbeat, and a persistent cough or wheezing. The findings are published online in the April 7 Rapid Access Report of the journal Circulation."

Protein reverses damage caused by heart attack

The protein molecule Thymosin beta-4 (TB4) has been found to encourage new growth and repair damaged heart cells in mice, within 24 hours after it is injected. "This molecule has the potential to reprogramme cells in the body to get them to do what you want them to do," said J. Michael DiMaio, associate professor of cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern (UT-S) and senior author of the study. The study will appear in the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology. - New Kerala

High BP worrisome in expectant moms

High BP worrisome in expectant moms"Women who experience increased blood pressure during pregnancy are more vulnerable to developing cardiovascular diseases when young. Gestational hypertension is high blood pressure that develops after the twentieth week of pregnancy, affecting blood flow to organs such as the placenta, kidneys, brain and liver. According to a study published in Hypertension, gestational hypertension is strongly correlated to early cardiac events in pregnant women.

UTS Health

UTS Health - A free web service that allows you to keep tracks of your blood pressure readings, diabetes stats, and body weight records. Provides you with statistics that will give you a good picture of your health. You can also share you experiences with other fellow users

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Study links heart disease deaths with high lead levels in blood

"New research indicates that older women with high levels of lead in their blood are likely to die sooner from heart disease than those with lower lead levels, Reuters reported. The 12-year study followed 533 women aged 65 to 87 years old and showed that those women with lead concentrations above 8 micrograms per deciliter of blood were 59 percent more likely to die of any cause. They were also three times more likely to die of heart disease than women with lower blood lead levels, the study said. Dr. Naila Khalil of University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and colleagues wrote in BioMed Central's online journal Environmental Health that environmental lead exposure continues to be a public health concern, despite declines in blood lead concentrations during the past 30 years." - redOrbit

Genetic Information Service (UK)

Genetic Information Service (UK)"Around 500 young people die suddenly each year with seemingly no explanation or cause of death, leaving families devastated and bewildered. The British Heart Foundation and Department of Health's new Genetic Information Service helps relatives deal with the consequences of losing a loved one to an inherited heart condition. This service supports bereaved families get an assessment by experts in an appropriate clinic. This could potentially save hundreds of lives by detecting and treating an inherited heart condition in other family members. If someone in your family has been diagnosed with or died from an inherited heart condition call GIS on 0300 456 8383. Lines are open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday (calls are charged at local rate)." - BHF

Can Brown Fat Make You Thin?

"By activating the brown fat in your body, you could lose 9 pounds or more of bad white fat every year - without having to eat less or exercise more. Until recently, scientists thought adults didn't have brown fat. They thought it was there to help babies keep their bodies warm and went away as the body became more muscular. But three new studies in the New England Journal of Medicine now show that more than half of adult men and women have enough brown fat in their bodies to burn off substantial amounts of white fat - if the brown fat somehow is stimulated" - WebMD

WSMV-TV anchor Dan Miller dies

WSMV-TV anchor Dan Miller dies"Dan Miller, one of Nashville's legendary television broadcasters, died of an apparent heart attack Wednesday while visiting family in Augusta, Georgia, according to family. According to WSMV, Miller was in Augusta to watch The Masters golf tournament. The Emmy Award winning journalist had been a fixture at WSMV-TV Channel 4, since 1969. After spending 16 years as primary news anchor and seven years hosting the enormously popular "Miller & Company" talk show, Dan left in 1986 to become principal anchor at KCBS in Los Angeles. After returning to Nashville in 1992, Dan resurrected his talk show "Miller & Company" on The Nashville Network. Prior to Nashville and Los Angeles, Dan worked at stations in his hometown of Augusta, Georgia, and in Columbia, SC. Dan is survived by his wife, Karen, and has four children and two grandchildren."

Towards a natural pacemaker

Artificial heart pacemakers have saved and extended the lives of thousands of people, but they have their shortcomings - such as a fixed pulse rate and a limited life. Could a permanent biological solution be possible? Richard Robinson and colleagues at New York's Columbia and Stony Brook Universities certainly think so, and their work published in the latest issue of The Journal of Physiology brings the dream a step closer to reality -

Israel to treat Nigerian children with heart diseases

"The Israeli Embassy in Nigeria has commenced a programme that would ensure that poor Nigerian children with heart diseases are flown to Israel for treatment. Speaking to journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, the Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Moshe Ram, said the children would be identified and attended to on a case-by-case basis within the limits of the embassy's resources. He said the embassy would be working with an Israeli-based foundation, Save A Child's Heart, which had already helped over 2,000 children with heart diseases from 30 countries."

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Distance from grocery store determines weight: Study

Distance from grocery store determines weight: Study"Want to lose weight? Move closer to a grocery store. A new study from the University of British Columbia shows people who live within a kilometre of a grocery store are half as likely to be overweight, compared to those living in neighbourhoods without grocery stores. The study shows that old-style urban planning that mixes retail with residential zones gets people out of their cars, onto the sidewalks, and helps them keep their weight down. And if one grocery store is good, two or more is even better, the report released Monday showed." - Star Phoenix

Heart and Stroke Foundation's Novel and Exploratory Research Fund (Canada)

"Frederick Banting proved that sometimes you just have to follow your instincts. He had an idea about isolating part of the pancreas and, toiling in a Toronto lab in the long hot summer of 1921 with his assistant Charles Best, came up with insulin. Within a year of his discovery, diabetes ceased to be a death sentence for millions of people. The Heart and Stroke Foundation has always supported the kind of imaginative and innovative work that Banting and Best personified. That support has been formalized with the creation of the Foundation's Novel and Exploratory Research Fund (NERF) to help some of our most accomplished medical minds follow well-informed hunches. 'We know these researchers are brilliant because our review committees have rated them as leaders in their fields,' says Linda Piazza, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada director of research. 'The idea is to give them a chance to develop an idea that – if it works – could change the world.' The one-year award will allow innovators to test out bold new ideas. Three awards were granted this year" - HSF

Rally to put single payer healthcare on the table (USA)

CNA/NNOC Co-president, Geri Jenkins and other healthcare leaders addressed hundreds of nurses, physicians, school employees, clergy, seniors, patients at a rally this week outside a Los Angeles White House Forum on Healthcare Reform to strongly urge a real debate over single-payer/universal healthcare:

Wiley-Blackwell and the American Heart Association present new book series

The American Heart Association has partnered with Wiley-Blackwell to publish a new series of medical references, The American Heart Association Clinical Series, designed to help physicians translate scientific and technological advances into better patient care

Heart Failure Congress 2009

"Heart failure is by far the most prevalent chronic cardiac condition. Around 30 million people in Europe have heart failure and its incidence is still increasing: more cases are being identified, more people are living to an old age, and more are surviving a heart attack but with damage to the heart muscle. According to Professor John McMurray, President of the Heart Failure Association of the ESC, it was not long ago that acute heart failure admissions were "overwhelming" hospitals, but the better identification of symptoms as indicative of heart failure - and thus their more appropriate treatment - have brought about dramatic improvements. "We have seen a 40-50 per cent reduction in mortality rates in a short time," he says, "and this is mainly because of better diagnosis and better treatment. The trick is to identify the right patient and deliver the right treatment." However, despite the improvements, there are still huge challenges in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart failure. These will all be addressed at Heart Failure 2009, the annual congress of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology, which takes place in Nice, France, from 30 May to 2 June"

Video seems to show police-shove before death (UK)

An investigation into a man's death during protests against the G-20 meeting of leaders in London will assess video footage that appears to show police shoving him to the ground, Britain's police watchdog said Tuesday. Ian Tomlinson, 47, died after suffering a heart attack, a post-mortem examination showed. He collapsed among the protesters who had thronged London's financial district on April 1.

Exercise improves outcomes for heart failure patients

"Regular exercise is safe for heart failure patients and may slightly lower their risk of death or hospitalization, according to results from the largest and most comprehensive clinical trial to examine the effects of exercise in chronic heart failure patients. Supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health, the study also found that heart failure patients who add regular, moderate physical activity to standard medical therapy report a higher quality of life compared to similar patients who receive medical therapy only. Researchers with HF-ACTION (Heart Failure – A Controlled Trial Investigating Outcomes of exercise TraiNing) have published two papers in the April 8, 2009, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study was conducted at 82 centers in the United States, Canada, and France."

Families unveil new postcard to highlight tragic heart condition (UK)

Families unveil new postcard to highlight tragic heart condition (UK) Families from the Liverpool area and across the North West are joining together to help launch a major regional campaign to highlight shocking new statistics that show the number of young people who lose their lives to the tragic condition sudden cardiac death now stands at 12 every week – a staggering 50% rise on previous estimates. The new figures are based on official statistics citing the cause of sudden death among people aged 35 and under

Monday, April 6, 2009

Keyhole for old artificial valves (UK)

Keyhole for old artificial valves (UK)" Doctors in the UK say they have for the first time used keyhole surgery to replace an old prosthetic heart valve. The technique has already provided new valves for those too ill for open heart surgery, but this is the first time a replacement has itself been replaced. The procedure means elderly patients effectively have a second roll of the dice if their replacement valve fails. It was assumed that most would die before needing a new one, but increased life-expectancy has altered that view. Doctors at King's College Hospital in London carried out the surgery on a 78-year-old man whose first artificial valve was inserted during open heart surgery in 2002. This began to fail last year, causing breathlessness and fainting" - BBC

GBP7m bill for Ulster heart ops in England and Dublin

"Around GBP7 million has been spent sending Northern Ireland cardiac patients for surgery outside the region in the past year due to a lack of local capacity, a medical charity said today. Nearly a third of procedures (440 of 1,430) had to be carried out in England or the Republic, according to Northern Ireland Chest, Heart and Stroke. While the cardiac specialists at the Royal Victoria Hospital are on track to meet their target of 1,000 heart operations in the financial year (they had completed 990 by the end of March), the charity said more government funding was needed to ensure all surgery is done locally. Each operation in Dublin costs Stormont's Department of Health GBP17,000, with procedures in London priced at GBP14,000, said Andrew Dougal, chief executive of NICHS. He said it would be more cost-effective to spend the money increasing capacity at the Royal" - Belfast Telegraph

Cardiac implant keeps weak heart pumping

Cardiac implant keeps weak heart pumping"When someone's heart is about to quit, they're usually told to wait for a transplant or wait to die. Lately, doctors have found other options. "Transplant will never solve the public health dilemma which is posed by all these people with end-stage heart disease," said Dr. Edwin McGee, surgical director of heart transplantation at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Because there aren't enough donor hearts to meet the demand, "cardiologists are recognizing that these people need some type of help or they're going to die," McGee said. More and more, surgeons turn to cardiac implants to help weak hearts pump blood to the body. The newest versions of ventricular assist devices are smaller, quieter and more portable. Where once the devices were the size of a coffee maker, the latest versions have shrunk to the size of a D battery. They're not the equivalent of artificial hearts, which actually replace the heart. The implants attach to the heart and serve as a booster pump to increase blood flow. They can help reduce the symptoms of heart failure, including fatigue, shortness of breath and pain." - Press of Atlantic City

Brumbies mourn Mackay death (Australia)

Brumbies mourn Mackay death (Australia)Super 14 (rugby) side Brumbies are mourning the loss of forward Shawn Mackay, 26, who died in a Durban hospital on Monday morning (AEST) from complications arising from a bloodstream infection. Mackay had been involved in a collision with a vehicle following the Brumbies' Super 14 loss to the Sharks in Durban last weekend, suffering spinal damage, a fractured skull and a broken leg. He underwent surgery to fuse vertebrae and spent time in a medically induced coma before his death from cardiac arrest.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Nicotine may have more profound impact than previously thought

"Nicotine isn't just addictive. It may also interfere with dozens of cellular interactions in the body, new Brown University research suggests. Conversely, the data could also help scientists develop better treatments for various diseases. Pharmaceutical companies rely on basic research to identify new cellular interactions that can, in turn, serve as targets for potential new drugs. "It opens several new lines of investigation," said lead author Edward Hawrot, professor of molecular science, molecular pharmacology, physiology and biotechnology at Brown University. Hawrot's research is highlighted in a paper published April 3 in the Journal of Proteome Research. He and a team that included graduate students William Brucker and Joao Paulo set out to provide a more basic understanding of how nicotine affects the process of cell communication through the mammalian nervous system" - EurekAlert

G20 death man 'had heart attack' (UK)

G20 death man 'had heart attack'" A man who died during protests around the #G20 summit in London suffered a fatal heart attack, police have said. Ian Tomlinson, 47, collapsed on Wednesday evening while dozens of protesters were gathered near the Bank of England in the City of London. Mr Tomlinson, who lived in the area, was returning home from his work at a nearby newsagents when he collapsed. He was treated at the scene but medics were unable to save him and he was pronounced dead in hospital later" - BBC