Friday, December 31, 2010

Cardiac calls spike with snowfall (Canada)

Cardiac calls spike with snowfall (Canada)"Ambulance New Brunswick says it's seeing its traditional winter spike in calls related to emergencies triggered by shovelling snow. The number of cardiac arrest and chest pain calls goes up by about 20 per cent after a snowstorm, said Jean-Marc Dugas, manager of safety programs for Ambulance New Brunswick. He had a few helpful tips for shovellers. "Take your time, take a smaller shovel so you don't lift as much as a bigger shovel would," said Dugas, adding that individuals should stretch just as they would before any sporting activity. "And the important thing is, if you're shovelling and if you start to have symptoms of a heart attack - that would be having chest pain, shortness of breath, you feel dizzy, you don't feel good, something doesn't feel right - then stop and by all means, call 911," said Dugas. And, suggested Dugas, sometimes it's better to just wait for the plow

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Diabetes growing burden on health system, says advocacy group (Canada)

The growing prevalence of diabetes among Canadians threatens to not only become a health crisis for this country, but also an economic one, says a leading organization in the fight against the disease. The Canadian Diabetes Association says diabetes costs the Canadian health system $12.2 billion in 2000 and predicts that figure will rise to $16.9 billion by 2020

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why exercise helps the heart

"Although doctors know exercise benefits the heart, U.S. researchers say they now have a better understanding of how it does so. Bruce Spiegelman of Harvard Medical School in Boston says studies in mice suggest exercise turns on a genetic program that leads the heart to grow as heart muscle cells divide. It appears that shift is driven in part by a single transcription factor - a gene that controls other genes - known to play important roles in other parts of the body, but this is the first evidence C/EBPb influences the heart, Spiegelman says. "We've identified a pathway involved in beneficial cardiac hypertrophy - the good kind of heart growth," Spiegelman says in a statement. Researchers say the heart muscle adapts to increased pressure and volume by increasing in size both in a beneficial way during exercise, but also in a bad way due to high blood pressure. The researchers sought to better understand these differences to quantify changes in the expression of transcription factors in the heart at the genome-wide level in both exercised mice and those who had their aortas surgically constricted, which increases heart size. The findings are published in the journal Cell"

Poor response to anti-anemia drug predicts higher risk of heart disease or death

Patients with diabetes, kidney disease and anemia who don't respond to treatment with an anti-anemia drug have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease or death, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found. The results suggest that testing such patients' responsiveness to the drug and keeping blood iron levels a little low might reduce their risk, said Dr. Robert Toto, professor of internal medicine and clinical sciences and a senior author of the study, which appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine. "These patients required higher doses and ended up having lower hemoglobin anyway," Dr. Toto said. "The results of this study might lead us in directions that can help." The results were an unexpected finding of a study on darbepoetin alpha, which stimulates the production of red blood cells to counteract anemia. The drug, manufactured by Amgen, is sold under the name Aranesp. The study, called the Trial to Reduce Cardiovascular Events with Aranesp Therapy (TREAT) showed that darbepoetin alpha works no better than a placebo for improving cardiovascular and kidney outcomes, but it did lower the risk for blood transfusion and resulted in modest improvement in patient-reported outcomes among people with diabetes, kidney disease and anemia. However, people receiving darbepoetin alpha had nearly a twofold higher risk for stroke. Cancer deaths were also higher among people receiving the drug - EurekAlert

Smokers to get free nicotine patches (UK)

Smokers to get free nicotine patches (UK)"Free nicotine patches are to be offered on the NHS as part of a major drive to help smokers quit their habit in the New Year. Coupons giving smokers a week's free trial of the patches will be added to "Quit Kits" for the first time, the Department of Health announced. The kits, which also contain items such as calming audio downloads and "health and wealth" wheels showing the benefits of giving up, will be available at participating pharmacies across the country. The Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) patches work by gradually releasing nicotine into the bloodstream without the cancer-causing substances found in cigarettes. Smokers can double their chances of giving up successfully by using them, and research shows that two-thirds of smokers want to stop. Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: "Smoking costs the NHS billions every year and can cost a 20-a-day smoker around £2,000 a year, so giving smokers help to quit not only improves their health, but saves them and the NHS money." From January 1, the kits will be at Co-operative and Whitworth pharmacies and later at Sainsbury's, Tesco and Manichem pharmacies, followed by Superdrug and a range of independent pharmacies in February and March"

Monday, December 27, 2010

New hope for atrial fibrillation patients (Canada)

New hope for atrial fibrillation patients (Canada)"Canadian doctors are testing a simple "plug" to help treat atrial fibrillation, a condition that affects about 250,000 patients in this country and often can't be cured with medication. Atrial fibrillation can be a frightening condition as the heart doesn't beat normally, causing fainting and chest pain. The irregular heartbeat causes blood to pool and thicken in a chamber around the heart, seriously boosting the chance of clots and a stroke. Atrial fibrillation is responsible for about 15 per cent of all eschemic strokes"

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Patient Channel works with the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association to fight cardiovascular disease in hospitals

The Patient Channel works with the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association to fight cardiovascular disease in hospitals"The American Heart Association, the nation's oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke, and the Patient Channel, the largest hospital-based health and wellness TV channel in the United States, have announced a new year long campaign to help consumers understand the risks of cardiovascular disease, the nation's number one killer. The joint campaign will kick off in December with the simultaneous launching of a series of heart health related programming online and the distribution of four million educational pamphlets to hospitals, free of charge"

Psoriasis, Heart Disease, and Diabetes: What's the Link?

Psoriasis, Heart Disease, and Diabetes: What's the Link?"Having psoriasis appears to double the risk that a person will also have a dangerous clustering of risk factors for heart disease and diabetes known as metabolic syndrome, a new study shows. Previous research has found patients with psoriasis to be at higher risk for getting diabetes and high blood pressure, but the new study, which is in the Archives of Dermatology, is one of the first to document the broader complement of cardiovascular risks associated with the disease"

Why the day after Christmas is hazardous to your heart (USA)

Why the day after Christmas is hazardous to your heart"December 26 is historically one of the most dangerous days of the year for people vulnerable to cardiac problems, including heart attacks, arrhythmias, and heart failure. And many of these so-called Merry Christmas coronaries will hit people who didn't even realize they were at risk when they unwrapped their gifts the day before. But the holiday season isn't good for heart health to begin with. A 2004 study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego and Tufts University found that heart-related deaths increase by nearly 5% during the holidays, perhaps because patients delay seeking treatment for heart problems or because hospital staffing patterns change. But anecdotally, doctors say that their ERs stay quiet on Christmas Day itself. Then, come December 26, they see a surge of cardiac traffic. A 2008 study found that daily visits to hospitals for heart failure increased by 33% during the four days after Christmas"

Stroke news - Winter 2010 (UK)

Stroke news - Winter 2010 (UK)"This issue, award-winning actress Liz Smith tells us about her battle with high blood pressure, stroke survivor Michael Bell reveals how art helped his recovery and 13-year-old Eliza Cooke shares her story of childhood stroke. In research news, we ask 'could computer games help people with aphasia?"

Smokers and fat patients thrown off NHS waiting lists (UK)

Smokers and fat patients thrown off NHS waiting lists (UK)"Smokers and overweight patients in need of major operations could be thrown off hospital waiting lists under "desperate" cost-cutting plans. Patients' groups described the tactics as an "appalling scam" to enable NHS bosses to claim waiting times are far shorter than they are, simply by denying a place in the queue to many of those referred for surgery. Under the plans drawn up by NHS bureaucrats in Kent, any smoker referred for "non-urgent" operations – such as hip replacements or cataract surgery – will not be allowed to join the queue until they have either given up smoking, or completed a 12-week course to help them ditch the habit. Those who are seriously overweight will also be denied a range of operations until they have completed a three-month NHS diet programme. Although every patient has a legal right to be treated in 18 weeks of being referred for treatment by their GP, the protocols agreed mean different rules could be applied for anyone with a body mass index of more than 30, or those who smoke. Patients groups said delays getting a place on 12-week "smoking cessation" and "weight loss" programmes could leave many patients waiting even longer than 30 weeks implied by proposals drawn up by NHS West Kent Primary Care Trust" - Telegraph

Wood stoves in Germany shortens lives

"Scientists say fine dust particles from single-room combustion wood-burning stoves and boilers are reducing average German life expectancy. World Health Organization officials say life expectancy has been shortened in Germany by about 10 months by particles in the air that are known to cause coughs and stress the cardiovascular system, and may cause cancer. Officials at Germany's Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety are concerned a growing portion of fine-dust particles is being produced by the country's 14 million single-room combustion wood-burning stoves and boilers. As of 2004, emissions from domestic heating systems have for the first time exceeded those from road traffic, the scientists say. A law regulating wood-burners rated at 4 kilowatts or more will go into effect at the end of March. Previously, only systems with more than 15 kilowatts output were affected" - UPI

America's stroke belt partially fueled by fried fish

America's stroke belt partially fueled by fried fish"Eating a Southern staple, fried fish, could be one reason people in Alabama and across the "stroke belt" states are more likely than other Americans to die of a stroke, according to a study published in the December 22, 2010, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. In the stroke belt states – Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee – the risk of dying from stroke is higher than in other parts of the country. In Alabama, the stroke death rate is 125 per every 100,000 people, against a national average of just 98 per 100,000. The study was part of the long-running REGARDS (Reasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke) trial, led by George Howard, Dr. PH, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. REGARDS enrolled 21,675 people over the age of 45 between January 2003 and October 2007, and continues to follow them for health events. Studies have shown that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish, especially fatty fish, may reduce the risk of stroke, but other research has shown that frying fish leads to the loss of the natural fatty acids, the AAN said in a press release"

How exercise grows a healthy heart

How exercise grows a healthy heart"Everyone knows that exercise comes with metabolic and cardiovascular benefits, but scientists understand surprisingly little about how physical activity influences the heart itself. Now, a new study in the December 23rd issue of Cell, a Cell Press publication, offers some of the first molecular-level insights. The studies in mice suggest that exercise turns on a genetic program that leads the heart to grow as heart muscle cells divide. It appears that shift in activity is driven in part by a single transcription factor (a gene that controls other genes). That gene, known as C/EBPb, was known to play important roles in other parts of the body, but this is the first evidence for its influence in the heart. "We've identified a pathway involved in beneficial cardiac hypertrophy – the good kind of heart growth," said Bruce Spiegelman of Harvard Medical School. The findings may have clinical implications, particularly for those with heart failure or other conditions that make exercise difficult to impossible, the researchers say. "This is yet another reason to keep on exercising," said Anthony Rosenzweig of Harvard Medical School. "In the longer term, by understanding the pathways that benefit the heart with exercise, we may be able to exploit those for patients who aren't able to exercise. If there were a way to modulate the same pathway in a beneficial way, it would open up new avenues for treatment." There may also be ways to optimize training regimens such that they tap into this natural mechanism more efficiently, Spiegelman added"

Older people who eat healthy diets 'lead longer lives'

Older people who eat healthy diets 'lead longer lives'"Older people who follow healthy diets may live longer, a study suggests. Research in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found those who ate a low-fat diet that contained lots of fruit and vegetables lowered their risk of dying over 10 years. The study compared the diets of 2,500 US adults aged 70 to 79. Those who ate a high fat diet rich in ice cream, cheese, and whole milk, had the highest risk of death. The study showed that 12 extra people in every hundred survived over the ten years, if they ate healthily. Participants were split into six different groups, according to how often they ate certain foods. The groups were: healthy foods; high-fat diary products; meat, fried foods and alcohol; breakfast cereal; refined grains and sweets and desserts. Those who had a "healthy foods" diet ate more low-fat dairy products, fruit, whole grains, poultry, fish, and vegetables" - BBC

Big Bike teams making their community heart-safe! (Saskatchewan)

Big Bike teams making their Community Heart-safe! (Saskatchewan)"Eight Saskatchewan facilities will be better equipped to save a life with new automated external defibrillators (AEDs) thanks to ZOLL Medical Canada and a Heart and Stroke Foundation of Saskatchewan (HSFS) initiative. As a special incentive for teams riding the SaskEnergy Heart&Stroke Big Bike, ZOLL Medical Canada sponsored a contest to award eight AEDs to teams in various categories. Winning teams will receive an AED that they can use in their own facility or donate to a community site. The Heart and Stroke Foundation will provide the proper training for staff to ensure that the AED is used properly. The AEDs were awarded to the following teams for their outstanding fundraising efforts and the locations for the AEDs will be confirmed in the New Year: Mosaic (Belle Plaine), Yara Belle Plaine, Triple 4 Advertising (Moose Jaw), Dewey's Decimals (Weyburn), CIBC Meadow Lake, Bank of America (Regina), Ponteix Health Centre and California Fitness (Saskatoon). SaskEnergy Heart&Stroke Big Bike engages people across the province and encourages generous support for critical Heart and Stroke Foundation research, education and advocacy in Saskatchewan. The 30-person Big Bike traveled across the province to over 50 communities last summer helping to raise more than $500,000!"

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Surgery offers new start - Chris Daly, Guinness World Record holder (Saskatchewan, Canada)

Surgery offers new start - Chris Daly, Guinness World Record holder"Chris Daly is the world's longest survivor of quintuple-bypass surgery - a feat recognized by Guinness World Records earlier this year. The agency of all things superlative created a category specifically for Daly and his quintuple-bypass brethren. A record for quadruple-bypass survivors - 30 years and 213 days - already existed. Former Hamilton resident Alfred Revell, who died in 2009 at age 94, owns that mark. When Daly turns 92 on Christmas Day, he'll be celebrating 30 years, two months and 20 days with his record-setting heart. Daly lives on a Saskatoon-area acreage" - Star Phoenix

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Abbott Laboratories recalls millions of diabetes testing strips over incorrect readings

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said that Abbott Laboratories is recalling up to 359 million testing strips used by diabetics because they can give falsely low blood sugar readings. The testing strips are used to help diabetes patients check their blood sugar levels. But the FDA says the products being recalled by Abbott can give inaccurately low measurements. As a result, patients may try to raise their blood sugar levels unnecessarily or fail to detect dangerously high blood sugar levels. The FDA said the problems are caused by a defect that limits the amount of blood absorbed by each strip. North Chicago-based Abbott is recalling 359 lots marketed under a half-dozen brand names, including: Precision Xceed Pro, Precision Xtra, Medisense Optium, Optium, OptiumEZ and ReliOn Ultima

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dairy fat may cut Type 2 diabetes risk: study

Dairy fat may cut Type 2 diabetes risk: study"A natural fatty acid found in whole-fat dairy products may lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes, U.S. scientists have found. Studies on populations show that diets rich in dairy foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt and butter are linked to lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. Animal studies also suggest naturally occurring palmitoleic acid helps protect against insulin resistance and diabetes. The reasons for the effect are unknown. To find out more about the fatty acid and its potential health benefits, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health analyzed data from more than 3,736 American seniors who have been followed for 20 years as part of a study on risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Unlike industrially produced trans fats found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, which have been linked to higher risk of heart disease, trans-palmitoleic acid is found mainly in naturally-occurring dairy and meat. Previous studies have not linked this type of trans fat to higher risk of heart disease. In the study, participants who said they consumed more whole-fat dairy products had higher levels of trans-palmitoleate in their blood three years later, the study's lead investigator, Dariush Mozaffarian, an epidemiology professor at Harvard and his co-authors report in the December issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. People with the highest levels of the fatty acid circulating in their blood had about two-thirds the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes than those with the lowest levels, the researchers found.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Heart saver that clears arteries then dissolves (UK)

"A heart patient has become the first in London to be fitted with a device that opens up a blocked artery and then disappears. Medics at King's College Hospital fitted the 67-year-old typesetter from Kent with bioresorbable vascular scaffolds (BVS). They are being hailed as a big step forward in the battle against coronary heart disease. Previously, patients would have been fitted with a metal stent, which opens up the clogged artery, allowing oxygen-rich blood to pass through. But the stent remains in the body and this can lead to complications because it is pressing on the vessel. A BVS does the same job — but it dissolves slowly after the vessel has healed and no longer needs support. It is made of polyactide, a material used in implants such as dissolvable sutures for wounds."

Beetroot juice could help people live more active lives

Beetroot juice could help people live more active lives"New research into the health benefits of beetroot juice suggests it's not only athletes who can benefit from its performance enhancing properties – its physiological effects could help the elderly or people with heart or lung-conditions enjoy more active lives. Beetroot juice has been one of the biggest stories in sports science over the past year after researchers at the University of Exeter found it enables people to exercise for up to 16% longer. The startling results have led to a host of athletes – from Premiership footballers to professional cyclists – looking into its potential uses. A new piece of research by the university in conjunction with the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry has revealed the physiological effects of drinking beetroot juice could help a much wider range of people. In the latest study, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, the researchers looked at low intensity exercise and found that test subjects used less oxygen while walking – effectively reducing the effort it took to walk by 12%"

AstraZeneca shares hit by US drug approval delay

"Shares in AstraZeneca dropped 5% in early London trading after US regulators further delayed approval of its heart drug Brilinta. Markets had expected the UK drugmaker's blood thinner to get the go-ahead. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it wanted further analysis of existing drugs studies, although no further studies are needed. Brilinta, which is already approved in Europe, is expected to reach $2bn (£1.3bn) sales in the US once approved. The FDA had already postponed its review of the heart drug since September after patients in a North American trial of the drug failed to show significant benefits. AstraZeneca is hoping Brilinta will challenge Plavix produced by rivals Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi-Aventis, which is the second best-selling drug in the world with over $9.5bn sales last year. The UK company is about to see patents on some of its other major brands expire, including schizophrenia drug Seroquel and heartburn relief Nexium" - BBC

Monday, December 13, 2010

Alcohol consumption linked to coronary artery disease in Chinese men

Alcohol consumption linked to coronary artery disease in Chinese men"A Chinese study has suggested that moderate-to-heavy alcohol consumption in Chinese men increases the risk of coronary artery disease. Among a large number of Chinese men presenting with chest pain or EKG changes, sequential subjects undergoing cardiac angiography were evaluated for obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) lesions according to their reported recent alcohol intake. The study population consisted of 1,476 consecutive men 36 to 84 years of age; participants were categorized as nondrinkers, light drinkers, moderate drinkers, or heavy drinkers. Adjusted odds ratios for angiographically proved CAD for light, moderate, and heavy drinking were 1.16, 1.78 and 2.18. Compared to non-drinking, adjusted odds ratios were 1.03 for drinking 0 to 15 years, 1.61 for 16 to 30 years, and 1.98 for >30 years. The authors concluded that moderate-to-heavy alcohol consumption increased the risk of CAD in Chinese men. CAD risk tended to increase with an increase in frequency and duration of drinking. This was a very select group of patients (those presenting with chest pain or EKG changes), and not typical of the Chinese population. It is not possible from the present study to say that the association of alcohol intake with CAD is different between Chinese and Western populations, as the present study gives results only for a very select group of patients. The most important outcome regarding CAD is the occurrence of clinical events (myocardial infarction, cardiac death, etc.). The detection of such events requires long-term follow-up studies to be able to judge the overall effects of alcohol drinking on CAD

Legacy's cardiac, pulmonary rehab programs receive national accreditation (USA)

The cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs at Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center (Oregon) and Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center recently earned national accreditation from the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. Certification recognizes those programs that are rigorously reviewed by a national board and found to meet strict national standards and guidelines for patient safety and treatment protocols. The cardiac and pulmonary teams at both hospitals include registered nurses, exercise physiologists, physical therapists, dietitians and medical assistants. The staffs know that accomplishing the recertification of their programs by AACVPR sends a powerful message that they provide the highest quality programs to serve the needs of their patients and their families. Good Samaritan Medical Center and Meridian Park Medical Center offer comprehensive services, including cardiac rehab (inpatient); cardiac and pulmonary rehab (outpatient); wellness programs in the hospitals; and partnerships with health clubs in the community - Oregon Live

'Ticking time-bomb' of United Arab Emirates diabetes

"Experts say the high rate of diabetes in the UEA is because in just a couple of generations, the population has transformed from tribes on the move, to people more used to a life based around shopping malls. It may be an oil-rich country, but if problems with diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases are not tackled, healthcare spending is predicted to spiral. The BBC's Katy Watson reports from Abu Dhabi:

Pfizer pulls hypertension drug Thelin off the markets and ends studies because of liver damage

Pfizer pulls hypertension drug Thelin off the markets and ends studies because of liver damage"Pfizer Inc. has said it is pulling its blood pressure drug Thelin off the market and stopping all clinical trials because the drug can cause fatal liver damage. Thelin is sold in the European Union, Canada, and Australia as an oral treatment for severe pulmonary arterial hypertension, or high blood pressure in the pulmonary artery. Pfizer said two patients who were taking Thelin died during a clinical trial, and a review of data from clinical studies and post-marketing reports showed a new link to liver injury. Liver damage was a known side effect of Thelin and similar drugs, the company said, but the review uncovered a link to liver damage that was not tied to identifiable risk factors. It said the problem was unlikely to be detected by routine monitoring, and in some cases, the problems did not go away after patients stopped taking Thelin. Pfizer said the withdrawal was voluntary and added that it has withdrawn its filing for marketing approval in the U.S."

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Lifesaving lessons offered at Heathrow airport (UK)

Passengers travelling through Heathrow are being given the opportunity to take a five-minute lifesaving skills lesson. London Ambulance Service staff are offering to show members of the public and airport staff how to respond if they see someone suffering a cardiac arrest. The demonstration includes instruction on how to perform CPR and how to use a defibrillator, a machine that can deliver a shock to restart a patient's heart. The training is part of an initiative to provide defibrillators in public spaces which can be used by members of the public until emergency services arrive

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Big difference in heart failure mortality rates shown by largest ever audit in England and Wales

The third report from the National Heart Failure Audit, which analysed more than 21,000 patient records, suggests about 32 per cent of heart failure patients will die within a year of their hospital admission. However the mortality rate falls to 23 per cent for those are seen by a cardiologist or have access to specialist heart failure services. In-patient mortality is also twice as likely for a heart failure patient if they are on a non cardiac ward; at 12 per cent compared to 6 per cent. Today's audit report presents the most robust findings to date about patient mortality for heart failure – which affects about one in every hundred people in the UK and rises to one in 15 for those aged 75 and over. Run jointly by The NHS Information Centre and the British Society for Heart Failure and commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP), the report focuses on the care of patients with unscheduled admissions to hospital for heart failure in England and Wales between April 2009 and March 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Heart stenting on the rise in Canada

The number of Canadians having blocked heart arteries opened with a non-surgical procedure more than doubled between 1994 and 2005, mirroring trends seen in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere, according to a new study. It is unclear whether the increase reflects appropriate use of the procedure, called angioplasty, or has been "too great" - or possibly not great enough - said lead researcher Dr. Ansar Hassan, of Saint John Regional Hospital in Canada. During angioplasty, a balloon-tipped catheter is threaded into a clogged artery to push blockages aside; usually a small mesh tube called a stent is placed in the artery to help keep it from re-narrowing. For the study, published in the American Heart Journal, Hassan and his colleagues looked at government data on all cases of angioplasty and heart bypass surgery - another option for treating blocked heart arteries - across Canada - Reuters

High salt levels in ready made Sunday lunch warning (UK)

High salt levels in ready made Sunday lunch warning (UK)"Including too many ready-made items in a Sunday roast could lead to excessive salt intake, says research from a health charity. In a survey of 600 supermarket products, Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) found that unnecessary amounts of salt are being hidden in certain items of prepared food. But cooking and preparing fresh food reduces levels dramatically, it says. UK supermarkets say they are leading the way in salt reduction in Europe. Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) said a family Sunday roast can be a "balanced and healthy" meal. But it found that choosing all ready-made products for a typical Sunday lunch - meat, vegetables and condiments - could result in nearly 10 grams of salt being consumed. An adult's daily maximum recommended salt intake is 6g" - BBC

Half of Europeans are overweight, a report shows

Half of Europeans are overweight, a report shows"Over half of adults living in the European Union countries are now overweight or obese according to a report. The rate of obesity has more than doubled over the past 20 years in most EU member states, international experts say. The UK comes out worst, shortly followed by Ireland and Malta, where a quarter of the population is obese. World experts meet this week to discuss how to reverse the "worrying trend". The European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) who compiled the Health at a Glance Europe 2010 report believe the key to success is encouraging children to adopt healthy habits"

Small daily aspirin dose 'cuts cancer risk' (UK)

Small daily aspirin dose 'cuts cancer risk'"A small daily dose of aspirin - 75mg - substantially reduces death rates from a range of common cancers, a study suggests. Research at Oxford University and other centres found that it cut overall cancer deaths by at least a fifth. The study, published in the Lancet, covered some 25,000 patients, mostly from the UK. Experts say the findings show aspirin's benefits often outweighed its associated risk of causing bleeding. Aspirin is already known to cut the risk of heart attack and stroke among those at increased risk. But the protective effects against cardiovascular disease are thought to be small for healthy adults, and aspirin increases the risks of stomach and gut bleeds. However, this latest research shows that when weighing up the risks and benefits of taking aspirin, experts should also consider its protective effect against cancer. Those patients who were given aspirin had a 25% lower risk of death from cancer during the trial period and a 10% reduction in death from any cause compared to patients who were not given the drug" - BBC

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Peter Guzak obituary

Peter Guzak. May 21, 1925 to November 27, 2010. It is with deepest sorrow we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, uncle and friend Peter Guzak which occurred at St. Paul's Hospital on Saturday, November 27, 2010 after a seven week battle with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). Peter is survived by his wife, Frances of 55 years; daughters, Dinys (Calvin) Reed and Jennifer Guzak and granddaughter, Allysen (Jarred) Romich; and numerous nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his brother, Mike Guzak and sister, Mary Kaplan, both of Edmonton. Peter was predeceased by his parents, Nettie and Wasyl Guzak and sister, Annie Crowder. Peter was born on a farm in the Blaine Lake area where he took his schooling and worked until he joined the RCAF in 1943 until 1946, when he was honorably discharged, for medical reasons. He spent numerous times in the Sanitoria. He resumed his education culminating with registration as a Medical Laboratory Technician. He worked at that profession from 1957 at the Fort Qu' Appelle Indian Hospital as a lab supervisor and finally as Hospital Administrator until his retirement in 1988. Peter enjoyed working in the community, he spent 16 years as Town Councilor, was a member of the Recreation Committee when the Rexcenter was built in Fort Qu' Appelle, was a member of the Lions Club for several years. Provincially he was a founding member of the Saskatchewan Homecare Association. He was a chairperson of the Touchwood Qu' Appelle Home Care Board and a member of the Board for Echo Lodge. He was an avid pet lover who always had a cat or a dog. He enjoyed spending summers with family at the cottage and in Waskesiu, fishing and camping and chasing the little white ball around the course. He also loved to travel to Hawaii and spent many vacations there. Family was important to him and he will be forever loved and sadly missed. Peter's family would like to express their heartfelt gratitude to the nurses and the Doctors of St. Paul's ICU for the exceptional care and compassion they gave him and us. A Memorial Service for Peter will be Friday, December 3, 2010 at 1:30 p.m. at Saskatoon Funeral Home. Email condolences may be sent to Arrangements are entrusted to SASKATOON FUNERAL HOME. 244-5577

Elsie Asher obituary

Elsie Asher. September 7, 1931 December 2, 2010. It is with sadness we announce the passing of Elsie on Thursday, December 2, 2010 after a brief illness. Elsie was predeceased by mother, Dora; father, Joseph; sister, Lena; brother-in-law, Johnny Angielski; and sisterin-law, Mary-Lou Proznick. She is survived by son, Daryl (Jane) Asher and grandchildren Liam, Kathryn; sister, Mary Angielski; brothers, Fred (Olga) Proznick, Paul (Emily) Proznick, Elmer Proznick, Nick Proznick; and numerous nieces and nephews. For Elsie, her friends and the relationships she built over the years were everything. She loved life, thrived on banter and always had a joke for you hoping you would return one back! Elsie was always there to help. She enjoyed crafts and baking and would always have a special something for friends and relatives alike. Elsie had a special love for children and would do anything to put a smile on their faces. After retiring Elsie chose to help others and for 14 years volunteered with Home Care. This choice brought her much joy and fulfillment our beloved Elsie made a difference in the lives she touched. Sincere thanks for the compassionate care provided by the management and staff of the Prairie Springs Care Home. In lieu of flowers donations to the Cancer Society are appreciated. Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, December 7, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. at St Philip Neri Roman Catholic Church (1902 Munroe Ave, Saskatoon), celebrated by Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Banahene. Rite of Committal will follow in Woodlawn Catholic Cemetery. To send online condolences to the family, visit . Arrangements are entrusted to Derryl Hildebrandt, Park Funeral Chapel, 306.244.2103

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Healthy People 2020 (USA)

Healthy People 2020 launched on December 2, 2010. Healthy People 2020 strives to:

* Identify nationwide health improvement priorities.
* Increase public awareness and understanding of the determinants of health, disease, and disability and the opportunities for progress.
* Provide measurable objectives and goals that are applicable at the national, State, and local levels.
* Engage multiple sectors to take actions to strengthen policies and improve practices that are driven by the best available evidence and knowledge.
* Identify critical research, evaluation, and data collection needs.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Eating vegetables, fruits as children linked to healthier arteries as adults

Eating vegetables, fruits as children linked to healthier arteries as adults"Children who consistently eat lots of fruits and vegetables lower their risk of having stiff arteries in young adulthood, according to research reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. Arterial stiffness is associated with atherosclerosis, which underlies heart disease. When arteries are stiff, the heart works harder to pump blood. Researchers compared childhood and adulthood lifestyle factors - including consumption levels of vegetables, fruit, butter and alcohol, as well as smoking and physical activity status - with pulse wave velocity in young adulthood. Pulse wave velocity assesses arterial stiffness. 'When the heart beats, the blood's ejection causes a pulse wave, which travels along the wall of the arterial tree,' said Mika Kähönen, M.D., Ph.D., senior study author and professor and chief physician for the Department of Clinical Physiology at Tampere University Hospital in Tampere, Finland. 'The velocity of this pulse wave is dependent on the stiffness of the arterial wall; the stiffer the wall, the higher velocity. It is well known that the arterial stiffening process has a major role in the development of cardiovascular diseases. 'To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study looking at the associations between childhood lifestyle risk factors and pulse wave velocity in young adulthood.' The researchers examined lifestyle factors and measured arterial pulse wave velocity of 1,622 participants in the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study, which followed children ages 3 to 18 for 27 years"

CARG Newsletter - December 2010

The CARG Newsletter - December 2010 is now available online

Fire Walk in London for The Stroke Association

Fire Walk in London for The Stroke AssociationFire walking is the challenge of walking barefoot over hot coals, which can reach temperatures as hot as 1300°F! Full training for the fire walk will be provided by the Guinness World Record Holder for the longest fire walk so you'll be in the hands of an expert. The money you raise will help us work towards our vision of a world with fewer strokes and where those affected by stroke get the support they need. Friends, family and colleagues are welcome to watch you rise to the challenge and prove that you CAN stand the heat - February 25, 2011, London, UK

Leading causes of death in Canada in 2007

From Statistics Canada - "Cancer and heart disease, the two leading causes of death for Canadians, were responsible for just over one-half (51%) of the 235,217 deaths in Canada in 2007. Cancer accounted for 30% of deaths, and heart disease, 22%. Stroke, in third place, accounted for 6%. The proportion from cancer was up slightly from 2000, while the proportion from both heart disease and stroke declined. Ranked in order, the other seven leading causes of death were chronic lower respiratory diseases, accidents, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease and suicide. These 10 leading causes accounted for 77% of all deaths in 2007, down from 80% in 2000. The list has been identical since 2000, but the ranking has changed slightly. In 2000, suicide and kidney disease were ninth and tenth, respectively. By 2007, they had switched places"

Tiny blood vessels show pollution, heart disease link

Tiny blood vessels show pollution, heart disease link"By photographing tiny blood vessels in a person's eyes, researchers have found a way to link exposure to air pollution with a higher risk of heart disease, a study published Tuesday said. "New digital photos of the retina revealed that otherwise healthy people exposed to high levels of air pollution had narrower retinal arterioles, an indication of a higher risk of heart disease," said the study in PLoS Medicine. A person who was exposed to low level of pollution in a short time period showed the microvascular - or extremely tiny -- blood vessels "of someone three years older," it said. Someone who faced longer term exposure to high levels of pollution had the blood vessels of someone seven years older, it said"

Snoring, sleep problems may signal heart risk

Snoring, sleep problems may signal heart risk"People who snore loudly, have difficulty falling asleep, or often wake up feeling tired may have more to worry about than dozing off at work. A new study suggests they may also be at increased risk of developing heart disease and other health problems down the road. In the study, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh asked more than 800 people between the ages of 45 and 74 about the quality of their sleep. Three years later, the people who reported snoring loudly were more than twice as likely as quiet sleepers to have metabolic syndrome - a cluster of risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke that includes high blood pressure, high blood sugar, low "good" cholesterol, high triglycerides, and excess belly fat. People who had trouble falling asleep or who woke up feeling unrefreshed at least three times per week were about 80 percent and 70 percent more likely than their peers, respectively, to develop three or more of those risk factors, the study found. (A person must have three of the five risk factors to get a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome.)"

Study links older depression drugs to heart risk (UK)

Study links older depression drugs to heart risk (UK)"People who take a class of older anti-depressant drugs have an increased risk of heart disease, scientists said on Wednesday, but the risk is not increased with newer selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). In a study of almost 15,000 people in Scotland, British researchers found that older so-called tricyclic anti-depressants, such as Norpramin made by Sanofi-Aventis, were linked with a 35 per cent increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. "Given that anti-depressants, such as SSRIs, are now prescribed not only for depression, but for a wide range of conditions such as back pain, headache, anxiety and sleeping problems, the risks associated with anti-depressants have increasing relevance to the general population," said Mark Hamer of University College London, who led the study. Hamer said that while the older class of drugs had largely been overtaken in the treatment of depression by newer SSRIs such as Eli Lilly's LLY.N Prozac or GlaxoSmithKline's GSK.L

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How much exercise is enough? (UK)

"A British physiotherapist says, after not smoking and proper nutrition, exercise is the best protection against disease. Leslie Alford of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, reviewed 40 international studies on exercise and health. Included in his study, published in International Journal of Clinical Practice, is Alford's answer to the question, "How much exercise is enough?" He recommends healthy adults ages18-65 aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week - for example, 30 minutes of brisk walking five days a week. Those undertaking more vigorous exercise - such as jogging - should aim for 20 minutes - three days a week. "It is with certainty that all health care professionals can recommend some form of physical activity to their patients," Alford says in a statement. Alford recommends healthy adults also include two weekly strength-training sessions that work the body's major muscle groups. In short, Alford advises people who are physically active to continue to exercise even when they become middle-aged or elderly. He says those who aren't exercising should consult their physician about increasing their physical activity. Older people especially benefit from exercise that helps maintain balance and flexibility, Alford says"

Diabetes may clamp down on cholesterol the brain needs (USA)

The brain contains more cholesterol than any other organ in the body, has to produce its own cholesterol and won't function normally if it doesn't churn out enough. Defects in cholesterol metabolism have been linked with Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative conditions. Now researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center have discovered that diabetes can affect how much cholesterol the brain can make. Scientists in the laboratory of C. Ronald Kahn, M.D., head of Joslin's Integrative Physiology and Metabolism research section, found that brain cholesterol synthesis, the only source of cholesterol for the brain, drops in several mouse models of diabetes. Their work was reported online in the journal Cell Metabolism on November 30

Sixth International Conference on Cell Therapy for Cardiovascular Disease (USA)

The Sixth International Conference on Cell Therapy for Cardiovascular Disease (IC3D) is a one-and-a-half day comprehensive program dedicated to the evolving field of cell-based therapies for the repair and regeneration of cardiac and vascular disease, as well as related diseases such as diabetes and stroke. This year's conference will focus on commercialization aspects of the field, highlighting the status of molecular, cell, and tissue products in addition to delivery systems - January 20-21, 2011 - New York City

Researchers find link between sugar, diabetes and aggression (USA)

"A spoonful of sugar may be enough to cool a hot temper, at least for a short time, according to new research. A study found that people who drank a glass of lemonade sweetened with sugar acted less aggressively toward a stranger a few minutes later than did people who consumed lemonade with a sugar substitute. Researchers believe it all has to do with the glucose, a simple sugar found in the bloodstream that provides energy for the brain. "Avoiding aggressive impulses takes self control, and self control takes a lot of energy. Glucose provides that energy in the brain," said Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University. "Drinking sweetened lemonade helped provide the short-term energy needed to avoid lashing out at others." The finding is more than just a medical curiosity, Bushman said. In two published papers, he and his colleagues did several studies showing that people who have trouble metabolizing, or using, glucose in their bodies show more evidence of aggression and less willingness to forgive others. The problem is that the number of people who have trouble metabolizing glucose - mainly those with diabetes - is rising rapidly. From 1980 through 2008, the number of Americans with diabetes has more than tripled (from 5.6 million to 18.1 million)" - EurekAlert

Women 'in the dark' on heart risk (UK)

Women 'in the dark' on heart risk (UK)"Only one in 10 women aged 50 or older say they have discussed their risk of heart disease during a GP visit, according to a survey. The British Heart Foundation poll of more than 4,000 UK women also found many unaware of the symptoms of a heart attack. It says that both women, and doctors, should be more aware of the threat. While the death toll from heart disease in middle age is lower for women than for men, it still kills more than 40,000 UK women each year. Specialists say that spotting more cases early could make a marked difference to the number of heart attacks and deaths" - BBC

Friday, November 26, 2010

Passive smoking 'kills 600,000' worldwide

Passive smoking 'kills 600,000' worldwideThe first global study into the effects of passive smoking has found it causes 600,000 deaths every year. One-third of those killed are children, often exposed to smoke at home, the World Health Organization (WHO) found. The study, in 192 countries, found that passive smoking is particularly dangerous for children, said to be at higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome, pneumonia and asthma. Passive smoking causes heart disease, respiratory illness and lung cancer. "This helps us understand the real toll of tobacco," said Armando Peruga, of the WHO's Tobacco-Free Initiative, who led the study.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Danish researchers finally solve the obesity riddle

"Researchers at the Faculty of Life Sciences (LIFE), University of Copenhagen, can now unveil the results of the world's largest diet study: If you want to lose weight, you should maintain a diet that is high in proteins with more lean meat, low-fat dairy products and beans and fewer finely refined starch calories such as white bread and white rice. With this diet, you can also eat until you are full without counting calories and without gaining weight. Finally, the extensive study concludes that the official dietary recommendations are not sufficient for preventing obesity. The large-scale random study called Diogenes has investigated the optimum diet composition for preventing and treating obesity. The study was conducted by eight European research centres and headed by Thomas Meinert Larsen, PhD, and Professor Arne Astrup, DrMedSc and Head of Department at the Faculty of Life Sciences (LIFE) and is funded by an EU grant of EUR 14.5 million. The results were recently published in the distinguished New England Journal of Medicine and have already attracted considerable international attention"

England has best heart surgeons in Europe: report

For the first time comprehensive data on cardiac surgery across 23 countries has been compared. Patients in the NHS in England and Wales were 25 per cent more likely to survive their operation and recovered faster than the European average, the report found. It means around 250 more patients survive surgery each year because their operations were in England or Wales - Telegraph

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Binge drinking 'doubles heart risk'

Binge drinking 'doubles heart risk'"Binge drinkers have a risk of heart disease twice that of people who consume the same amount of alcohol but more steadily, researchers say. The study compared 10,000 male drinkers from "booze-bingeing" Belfast and "moderate" France over 10 years. It concluded that downing lots of alcohol in one or two sessions is worse than drinking more regularly in a week. Experts said the British Medical Journal work reinforced what was known but was a wake-up call for bingers."

Monday, November 22, 2010

$1.6 million to take forward breakthrough research in heart disease (Scotland)

"Clues to the causes of serious, and often fatal, diseases and conditions, such as heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure, are being investigated at the Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow, both in Scotland, with the use of a £1 million grant. Scientists at the universities have made a breakthrough in techniques for exploring faults in 'smooth' muscles, which play a major part in controlling blood flow, blood pressure and the digestion of food. For all of this to operate properly, the muscles must act in a co-ordinated way but how they do so is still not fully understood. However, it is known that calcium plays a part and the researchers have developed an innovative system for looking at calcium in targeted areas of blood cells. They have received a £1million programme grant from the Wellcome Trust to take their investigation further"

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Reindeer Run (UK)

Reindeer Run (UK)"Get into the Christmas spirit and join us for The Stroke Association's first ever Reindeer Run on Sunday 5 December! The event will take place in the beautiful Richmond Park, which is home to 650-free roaming deer and guaranteed to get you in the mood for Christmas! Our event is all about fun so it doesn't matter whether you run, walk or wheel your way round Richmond Park... it's the taking part that counts! We will be offering antlers to all our participants on the day and our marshals will be in fancy dress to keep your entertained and motivated along the course!"

Anna Power-Horlick speaks at the CARG 25th anniversary dinner

Anna Power-Horlick speaks at the CARG 25th anniversary dinnerThank you to the Board members for agreeing to this opportunity for me to share what it is like for a family member to be connected to the CARG experience.

I have the honour of being the daughter of Sylvia and Douglas Power who have been with the CARG group since the start. While this is not the "club" they imagined joining, I have to say that it has been a life giving experience.

From the first connection that was made in hospital through the Nurse Coordinators and following with the transition through to CARG, our family heard the names, Leslie, Ken, Audrey, Blanche, and other support staff even more that the names of health medications.

Several years after my mother's heart attack, she was faced with the news about bypass surgery. Our whole family felt the impact. My Mom remembers to this day that Roly, from CARG came to see her right away and reassured Mom that she would get through this. His honest appraisal of the challenge of surgery was important and his message of a hopeful recovery made it easier for us to accept the necessary decision. A great team of health care professionals in the hospital made it possible to get through the surgery and five day post operative stay; but getting back to life was through the community of the CARG.

When my Mom was overwhelmed at home following the surgery and Dad and I wondered how she would recover, we called CARG and a wonderful lady, named Pat came to the house and visited and encouraged my Mom. That was just the medicine we needed. As time went on, my Dad, not be outdone by mom, also had a cardiac event and made a comfortable switch from support person status to full membership as a "red shirt" member.

I am an R.N. and I have the joy of telling my patients who have chronic conditions that if they ever need inspiration about what health education and support can do - spend 10 minutes observing the CARG gang at the Field House and now also the Shaw Centre. YOU have a community, which is vitally important to good health, AND you have fun!!

You also set a terrific intergenerational example. I know many of you have had family and grandchildren join you in walking the track. My children have loved coming to the Field House since they were toddlers to have fun. They brag about their grandparents who "work out" at the Field House three times a week. They also have the joy of being the grandchildren of Ruth and Dr. Louis Horlick, so they have a great connection to the legacy of the CARG community.

So now I can say that I have a family history of heart disease, which makes me an associate member of the CARG group. I know through your example of knowledge and prevention that we can make a difference in decreasing cardiac risk factors and improve the management of heart disease.

Congratulations to the pioneers - you all look fantastic. Congratulations to everyone on this terrific anniversary. You are all part of a winning team working for the best of health.

Thank you,

Anna Power-Horlick

Friday, November 19, 2010

Garlic 'remedy for hypertension' (Australia)

Garlic 'remedy for hypertension' (Australia)"Garlic may be useful in addition to medication to treat high blood pressure, a study suggests. Australian doctors enrolled 50 patients in a trial to see if garlic supplements could help those whose blood pressure was high, despite medication. Those given four capsules of garlic extract a day had lower blood pressure than those on placebo, they report in scientific journal Maturitas. The British Heart Foundation said more research was needed. Garlic has long been though to be good for the heart. Garlic supplements have previously been shown to lower cholesterol and reduce high blood pressure in those with untreated hypertension. In the latest study, researchers from the University of Adelaide, Australia, looked at the effects of four capsules a day of a supplement known as aged garlic for 12 weeks. They found systolic blood pressure was around 10mmHg lower in the group given garlic compared with those given a placebo"

Vic Zapf thanks 25th anniversay dinner volunteers

On behalf of the members of CARG I would like to take this opportunity to say a BIG thank you for your time and enthusiasm shown as you sold and collected tickets for the 25th anniversary dinner. Your devotion to the event truly helped in making it the success that it was. Listed below are the names of these volunteers. When you see them, give them a big thank you:

Bonnie Wudrick; Lloyd Wudrick; Scheilla Retzlaff; Ann Smart; Larry Mullen; Susan Clark; Glen Clark; Zorn Kerr; Hal Shockey; Don Campbell; Pat Aupperle; Dan Danaher; Gordon Shuttle; Caroline Shuttle; Birdie Kitella; Vi Remenda; Ruth Redden.

Thank you again
Vic Zapf for CARG Social Committee

From the President of CARG's desk

I am delighted to humbly submit this report to the CARG members. As you know, I just completed the first year as President of CARG. This responsibility was more challenging than I had anticipated. I tried to do as good a job as I could. I realize that everything did not work out perfectly; there were shortcomings and it is possible that some of you were not fully satisfied. Any how, a lot was achieved and all this happened with the support that I received from you both morally as well as in performing the required tasks.

The major challenge this past year was to nurture the Coronary Artery Rehabilitation program at the Shaw Centre and bring it to the level of the program we have at the Field House. The CARG activities started in September 2009 with all three lanes rented from 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM. The starting time has since been extended; the tracks are now available from 7:30 AM to 11:30 AM. Resistance exercise equipment provided by the Saskatoon Health Region and purchased by CARG with part funding from the Saskatoon Lions Club is also available.

The CARG members who walk in the Field House have, hopefully, noticed the changes that have taken place in the Field House facilities. The resistance equipment owned by CARG was maintained in good working order. The Health Region / Field House have built new office accommodation for use by the Exercise instructors. This freed a lot of space in the Resistance Exercise Room; this space has been used by bringing in new equipment. Also, two storage cabinets have been acquired in which materials that were previously being stored in boxes are now stored in the storage cabinets. The Saskatoon Health Region has provided two computing systems to exercise instructors for accessing medical records of CARG members and participants in other fitness programs for discussing their exercise needs as well as for use during emergencies. CARG provided two additional computing systems to exercise instructors.

I am delighted to report that CARG received from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Saskatchewan a commitment for $2,000 per year for a period of two years in support of our Heart Pillow project. Funds for the 2009-10 year have since been received.
The Social, Hospital Visitation and Heart Pillow Committees continued to function very effectively with the able leaderships of Vic Zapf, Ethelyne Eichhorn and Darlene Urban respectively.

The CARG web site has been maintained and a very educational Blog has been developed. These facilities keep members informed of CARG activities as well as provide information on important developments in health care in general and cardiac health in particular.

The highlight of the year was the twenty-fifth anniversary celebrations. These started with the pancake breakfast to welcome CARG members back in the exercise programs. This was followed by the next event that was the Anniversary dinner; this was attended by more than 200 members and guests. Two congratulatory messages were received; one from Honourable Don McMorris, Minister of Health, Government of Saskatchewan and the other from the Saskatoon Health Region. The highlight of the dinner consisted of CARG presenting plaques to Dr. Louis Horlick, Dr. Whitmer Firor and Dr. John Merriman thanking them for their foresight and initiative in starting forty years ago the Cardiac Rehab program that led to the formation of CARG. All these activities became possible solely by the initiative and assistance several members of CARG. Some of these are Peter Scott, Curt Weberbauer, Ron Fleming, Vic Zapf, Howard Hrehirchuk and their teams of volunteers who worked hard to make the CARG operation a success.

Finally, CARG Board of Directors considered ways to increase dialog with the members. It decided that, in the New Year, two Directors will make themselves available at the Field House to meet with the members for answering their inquiries and for listening to their views and suggestions. The minutes of the Board of Directors meetings will also be posted on the CARG web site.


Merck drug for cutting cholesterol is promising (USA)

"Merck has a potential blockbuster in anacetrapib, an experimental cholesterol drug that increases HDL, or 'good' cholesterol even as it lowers LDL, the 'bad' cholesterol. The drug could potentially have sales of more than $1 billion a year, John Boris, an analyst at Citigroup, wrote in a note to investors on Wednesday. But don't hold your breath. Cardiologists, patients and investors will have to wait until at least 2015 to find out whether anacetrapib protects the heart by reducing heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems, Merck said. Anacetrapib works by inhibiting an enzyme called CETP, which is involved in transforming particles of good cholesterol into bad cholesterol" - New York Times

A Message from the Honourable Don McMorris, Minister of Health, on CARG's 25th birthday

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Leslie Worth read greetings from Saskatoon Health Region at CARG's 25th birthday dinner

Regretfully neither Maura Davies, President and CEO of the Saskatoon Health Region nor I as the Vice President of Community Services were able to accept your kind offer to attend the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Coronary Artery Rehabilitation Group. It would have been a pleasure for both of us to be in your company for an evening of celebration of an important milestone. As we both have other commitments I have asked Leslie Worth (pictured right) to read this message to you aloud. It will not take the place of our attendance, but hopefully will assure you of our ongoing support and pleasure in working together.

Since its inception 25 years ago the Coronary Artery Rehabilitation Group has been an esteemed partner of the Saskatoon Health Region (or Saskatoon District Health, Tri hospital rehab. or any other previous iteration!). Those of us who are responsible for community health services have long recognized the importance of prevention and rehabilitation, in the spirit of community volunteerism and empowering people to make healthy choices and healthy decisions for themselves. CARG can take pride in the huge numbers of people who have found health through your programs and their own participation in activities to support them in their quest for healthier living. For those who have had serious health problems and want to take part in their own recovery, this program is and has been an ideal model which has been shared nationally and internationally.

Twenty five years is a long time. On behalf of the health region I want to take this opportunity to thank all the members of CARG and your wonderful volunteer base for your "STAYING POWER". Many programs emerge for a period of time and are not sustained because their approach is too heavily reliant on "the flavour of the day" or the subsidized services of a formal organization. CARG has taken the best of both community and volunteer involvement and the leverage with Saskatoon Health Region sponsorship and made a perfect partnership that has endured. You have provided support by organizing ongoing education and social events, in hospital visitations, offering the patient and family perspective at education days and conferences for health care providers, serving on regional, national committees and partnering with the Heart and Stoke Foundation. The list goes on and on.

The exercise program, had it's beginning in the bowels of RUH with participants walking the hallways and playing volleyball in the Ellis Hall gym and it would not be 800 strong and multi-site if it were not for the dedication provided by CARG. Over the years CARG Volunteers have devoted countless hours to collecting fees, tracking members, and purchasing equipment which has allowed the exercise program to continue beyond the initial phase of recovery with many members still attending the program faithfully three times per week since 1985.

You have changed over the years and adopted a current approach to stay with the times now offering an electronic newsletter called Heart A Facts, e-mail and website links as well. It is always important to stay relevant with the changing environment and you have done that in spades! HEALTH, FITNESS, and FELLOWSHIP -- a perfect combination of these three ingredients for life you have been able to achieve together.

On behalf of all of us within the Saskatoon Health Region please accept our best wishes for many more years of service and enjoyable satisfying healthy exercise programs at the Field House and the Shaw Centre. Thank you for being a strong and fit partner and collaborator for good health. Enjoy your evening together.


Shan Landry
Vice President Community Services, Saskatoon Health Region

Boomers fight aging with exercise

Boomers fight aging with exercise"Fitness goals and objectives change drastically as you move into your mid-40s to 60s. The shift moves from exercise for physical appearance to good health. Boomers want quality of life. They want to look and feel good, and are fighting the effects of aging every step of the way. Boomers will not give in to the aging process easily; however, natural physiological changes will guide their activity choices. For people who have been active throughout their life, moving into this stage of life can be frustrating as joint injuries, strains and pains and other health issues begin to appear. These changes in physiology affect the volume, intensity and type of exercises that can be performed. It is common to see endurance runners become endurance cyclists as joint problems make it more appealing to ride than run. A health crisis may be the motivation that gets boomers active who may not have previously been involved in fitness activity. Careful exercise design is critical for anyone who has been inactive for a period of time and is coming back after a health issue. As boomers strive to stay young, more and more research is pointing to exercise as the fountain of youth. When it comes to exercise choice and preference, this generation tends to look for health benefits: a combination of cardiovascular activities, resistance training and stretching is highly recommended. - Calgary Herald

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Kidney zap lowers blood pressure (UK)

"A short blast of radio waves to the kidneys can help control high blood pressure in patients who do not respond to medication, a study shows. The pioneering work, described in The Lancet medical journal, selectively severs nerves to the kidney that play a key role in regulating blood pressure. Although still in the testing phase, experts say the procedure could one day help hundreds of thousands of patients. Half of patients fail to achieve good blood pressure control with drugs. This is partly because it can be difficult to remember to take medication every day. But for up to a fifth of patients it is because the drugs simply have no effect. High blood pressure is an exceedingly common condition, affecting around one in three adults in England. Experts believe the new procedure could help many of these better control their condition, thereby lowering their risk of future strokes and heart attacks"

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Stem cells used in stroke trial (UK)

"Doctors in Glasgow have injected stem cells into the brain of a stroke patient in an effort to find a new treatment for the condition. The elderly man is the first person in the world to receive this treatment - the start of a regulated trial at Southern General Hospital. He was given very low doses over the weekend and has since been discharged - and his doctors say he is doing well. Critics object as brain cells from foetuses were used to create the cells. The patient received a very low dose of stem cells in an initial trial to assess the safety of the procedure. Over the next year, up to 12 more patients will be given progressively higher doses - again primarily to assess safety - but doctors will be looking closely to see if the stem cells have begun to repair their brains and if their condition has improved" - BBC

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Women with high job strain have 40 percent increased risk of heart disease

Women who report having high job strain have a 40 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and the need for procedures to open blocked arteries, compared to those with low job strain, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2010. In addition, job insecurity – fear of losing one's job – was associated with risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure, increased cholesterol and excess body weight. However, it'snot directly associated with heart attacks, stroke, invasive heart procedures or cardiovascular death, researchers said. Job strain, a form of psychological stress, is defined as having a demanding job, but little to no decision-making authority or opportunities to use one's creative or individual skills. "Our study indicates that there are both immediate and long-term clinically documented cardiovascular health effects of job strain in women," said Michelle A. Albert, M.D., M.P.H., the study's senior author and associate physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Mass. "Your job can positively and negatively affect health, making it important to pay attention to the stresses of your job as part of your total health package." Researchers analyzed job strain in 17,415 healthy women who participated in the landmark Women's Health Study. The women were primarily Caucasian health professionals, average age 57 who provided information about heart disease risk factors, job strain and job insecurity. They were followed for more than 10 years to track the development of cardiovascular disease. Researchers used a standard questionnaire to evaluate job strain and job insecurity with statements such as: "My job requires working very fast." "My job requires working very hard." "I am free from competing demands that others make." - EurekAlert

World COPD Day 2010

World COPD DayWorld COPD Day is an annual event organized by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) to improve awareness and care of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) around the world. World COPD Day 2010 will take place on November 17 around the theme "2010 - The Year of the Lung: Measure your lung health - Ask your doctor about a simple breathing test called spirometry"

Richard Bing, pioneering heart researcher, dies at 101 (USA)

Richard Bing, pioneering heart researcher, dies at 101 (USA)"Dr. Richard J. Bing, a pioneering cardiologist whose research led to new understandings of blood flow, congenital heart disease and the mechanics of the heart, died on Monday at his home in La Cañada, Calif. He was 101. His death was confirmed by his son John. Dr. Bing, who earned his medical degree in Germany but emigrated soon after Hitler rose to power, did groundbreaking research on the physiology of the heart and kidneys for more than half a century. In the 1950s, his research made it possible to measure blood flow to the heart and determine its mechanical efficiency. In the 1960s, he developed an early version of the PET scan. His work on congenital heart disease led to the identification of a variety of cardiac malformations that surgeons were then able to treat" - New York Times

Additional cardiac testing vital for patients with anxiety and depression (Canada

People affected by anxiety and depression should receive an additional cardiac test when undergoing diagnosis for potential heart problems, according to a new study from Concordia University, the Université du Québec à Montréal and the Montreal Heart Institute. As part of this study, published in the Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention, a large sample of patients received a traditional electrocardiogram (ECG), where they were connected to electrodes as they exercised on a treadmill. Patients also received a more complex tomography imaging test, which required the injection of a radioactive dye into the bloodstream followed by a nuclear scan to assess whether blood flow to the heart was normal during exercise

Developing world warned of 'obesity epidemic'

Developing world warned of 'obesity epidemic'Developing countries should act now to head off their own "obesity epidemic", says a global policy group. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) says obesity levels are rising fast. In a report in the Lancet medical journal, it says low-income countries cannot cope with the health consequences of wide scale obesity. Rates in Brazil and South Africa already outstrip the OECD average - BBC

Bereavement 'raises risk of dangerous heart changes'

Bereavement 'raises risk of dangerous heart changes'Recently-bereaved people have heart rhythm changes which may make some of them more vulnerable to health problems, say researchers. The University of Sydney study, released at a US heart conference, monitored the hearts of 78 bereaved spouses and parents. They beat faster on average than unaffected volunteers, with more common periods of very rapid heart rates. A UK specialist recommended check-ups for those with-existing heart problems. It is known that the trauma of bereavement can mean an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes in the months immediately following the death of a close relative - BBC

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Skipping breakfast might put your heart at risk - Australian study

"A new Australian study found that people who skipped breakfast had a greater risk of heart diseases. The study noticed that those skipping breakfast at an early age often did have larger waist circumferences and had higher levels of cholesterol and insulin in their blood. Overall, they had less healthy lifestyles and may have detrimental effects on cardio-metabolic health. Researchers at University of Tasmania and other places in Australia assessed the cardiovascular and metabolic risks. Breakfast habits of the adults, followed up from childhood, were assessed at the same time as their cardiovascular risk; however researchers say the link between the two is still uncertain. Therefore, it is still a bit unclear whether people who skip breakfast as a child are in fact at greater risk of heart-related illness. The team followed a sample of Australian children aged 9 to 15 years old in 1985, and revisited them between 2004 and 2006, when they were aged up to 36 years old"

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Donation boon for cardiac care (Saskatoon, Canada)

Donation boon for cardiac care (Saskatoon, Canada)"Royal University Hospital will be creating a state-of-the-art cardiac treatment facility thanks to a $1.5-million donation from the Kinsmen Telemiracle Foundation. The new facility, a cardiac electrophysiology laboratory, will deal with the diagnosis and treatment of abnormal heart rhythms, which are often fatal. Cardiovascular disease accounts for 35 per cent of all deaths in Canada - around 78,000 annually. About 50 per cent of these deaths are sudden, due to a lethal cardiac arrhythmia. Two cardiologists currently conduct electrophysiology procedures at RUH, but due to lack of a lab they can only do these procedures one day per week. The waiting list for treatment is eight to nine months long and those in need of advanced procedures must go out of province. Having a dedicated laboratory could help prolong the lives of many patients and may offer a cure to others. Picture shows Arla Gustafson, with the Royal University Hospital Foundation, giving Kinsmen Telemiracle Foundation members a tour of the donation wall - Star Phoenix

Pacemaker firm to pay $9.2M (USA)

In a four-year-old case with nationwide implications, Ela Medical has agreed to pay $9.2 million to settle a whistle-blower case brought by a former Miami technician who charged the company used several schemes to pay kickbacks to South Florida doctors. Tania Lee's original lawsuit against Ela, manufacturer of pacemakers and other heart devices, had named a dozen South Florida hospitals and 25 doctors, but her amended complaint was only against Ela. 'Ela is a window into something much bigger that is widespread in the healthcare industry,' Jon May, one of her attorneys, said on Monday. 'It's how the healthcare industry is set up, offering such incentives for medicines and procedures. Every place you look, every rock you turn over, you see...that as long as we pay doctors for procedures and devices rather than outcomes, there is a huge incentive for doctors to do more.' Ela, the Denver-based subsidiary of an Italian company, issued a brief statement on the settlement: 'Closure of this investigation places this legacy issue firmly behind us and clearly enhances our ability to execute on our plans for CRM [cardiac rhythm management] in the United States. Our commitment to provide patients and healthcare providers with life-saving and life-enhancing innovation, and to conduct our business in a highly ethical manner is stronger than ever.' - Miami Herald

New cardiac equipment at Rochdale Infirmary (UK)

New cardiac equipment at Rochdale Infirmary (UK)"Consultant cardiologists at Rochdale Infirmary are all smiles following the delivery of a specialist piece of equipment to the Silver Heart cardiac catheter unit. The intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) machine takes ultrasound images within coronary arteries on patients who are experiencing chest pains or heart problems. The machine will allow medical staff to more clearly define the anatomy within the coronary arteries and then decide on the best way to treat them. Costing £50,000, the IVUS machine has been contracted to the Infirmary on permanent loan by Boston Scientific. Hoping to perform around 40 IVUS tests per year initially, patients will no longer have to be transferred to either Manchester Royal Infirmary or Wythenshawe Hospital to undergo the procedure"

Heart failure patients need team help: MD (Canada)

Heart failure patients need team help: MD (Canada)"The 20 per cent of heart failure patients who don't see a doctor soon after leaving the hospital have a higher likelihood of dying within a year, a Canadian study indicates. Despite the seriousness of the condition, one in five heart failure patients fail to see a family doctor within 30 days of discharge from the emergency department (ED), which can lead to more visits to the hospital, according to a study in Tuesday's online issue of the journal Circulation. Distinct from sudden heart attacks or cardiac arrest, heart failure is defined as a heart's inability to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. The study looked at data for 10,599 patients who visited emergency departments in Ontario between April 2004 and March 2007