Saturday, February 27, 2010

No time to exercise? No problem. Intense interval training could slash hours off your workout

No time to exercise? No problem. Intense interval training could slash hours off your workout"People who complain they have no time to exercise may soon need another excuse. Some experts say intense exercise sessions could help people squeeze an entire week's workout into less than an hour. Those regimens - also called interval training - were originally developed for Olympic athletes and thought to be too strenuous for normal people. But in recent years, studies in older people and those with health problems suggest many more people might be able to handle it. If true, that could revolutionize how officials advise people to exercise - and save millions of people hours in the gym every week. It is also a smarter way to exercise, experts say. "High-intensity interval training is twice as effective as normal exercise," said Jan Helgerud, an exercise expert at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. "This is like finding a new pill that works twice as well ... we should immediately throw out the old way of exercising." Studies on intense training have been published in sports medicine journals and have largely been based on young, healthy people. Experts say more studies are needed on how older and less fit populations handle this type of exercise before it can be recommended more widely"

Slimming sixties not a myth (UK)

Slimming sixties not a myth (UK)"Despite fewer visits to gyms and a love of high-fat foods, people in the 1960s were slimmer simply because they were more active, the government says. Rates of obesity in English adults have risen from 1-2% in the 1960s to around 26% today, figures show. Yet in 2010, overweight adults are far less likely to try to lose weight, a repeat of a survey done in 1967 showed. Plus adults in the 1960s did more housework and used the car less, the Department of Health said. The 1967 survey of 1,900 adults found nine in ten people had attempted to lose weight in the past year compared with 57% of 1,500 adults questioned in 2010. Forty years ago, only 7% of those who considered themselves to be overweight had failed to do anything about it compared with 43% of today's adults. And in 1967, 66% of those surveyed said they wanted to lose up to a stone compared with 46% in 2010"

Cardiac Rehab sponsors mall walk (USA)

Cardiac Rehab sponsors mall walk (USA)"Nearly 200 walkers gathered recently at Marion Centre (Ohio) in recognition and celebration of National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week and National Heart Month. This annual event, sponsored by Marion General Hospital's Cardiac Rehab, invites the public to join current and past cardiac rehab patients for a one-mile walk inside the mall. Sporting T-shirts that proclaimed "Cardiac Rehabilitation ... Building a Strong Heart," friends, family and hospital staff members celebrated the annual event in spite of cold temperatures and blowing snow. "There are so many steps that we can choose to make in improving our heart health" states Brenda Estes, manager of cardiac rehab. "Adding walking to our exercise regimen is one of the easiest and most rewarding ways to get out and moving." For more information about Marion General's Cardiac Rehab program, please contact any member of the staff at 740-375-6059"

Exploiting the body's ability to fight a heart attack

"Scientists trying to find a way to better help patients protect themselves against harm from a heart attack are taking their cues from cardiac patients. The work has its roots in a perplexing curiosity that physicians have long observed in their patients: When faced with a heart attack, people who have had a previous one oftentimes fare better than patients who have never had one. Scientists have been working for 25 years to understand one reason why – a process known as ischemic preconditioning, where a temporary restriction of blood flow somehow strengthens cardiac tissues down the road. In the latest research, published online February 25 in the journal Circulation Research, a group led by Paul Brookes, Ph.D., and graduate student Andrew Wojtovich at the University of Rochester Medical Center have developed new methods in the effort to track down one of the key molecular agents involved. That molecule, known as the mitochondrial ATP-sensitive potassium channel, or mKATP, is central to ischemic preconditioning, but it has proven elusive for scientists seeking to isolate and describe it"

Simple, cheap procedure can limit size of heart attack: Researchers (Canada)

Simple, cheap procedure can limit size of heart attack: Researchers (Canada"Simply blowing up a blood pressure cuff around a person's arm when they're having a heart attack can reduce the amount of permanent heart muscle damage by up to half, an international team of researchers co-ordinated from the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto has found. Although it goes by the rather unwieldy name "remote ischemic preconditioning" the technique, developed by a doctor at SickKids, is exquisitely simple, cheap and apparently safe. It involves inflating a standard blood-pressure cuff on the upper arm of someone having a heart attack for five minutes, and deflating it for another five minutes, repeating the cycle four times. The procedure exploits the most powerful, inborn protective mechanism the human body uses to protect its tissues from harm. Cutting off blood flow in the arm in short, brief bursts, then restoring it again, causes the body to release a substance in the blood that sends a message around the entire body that something bad is about to happen. It warns and protects the heart from subsequent damage by triggering changes in heart cells so that they can better resist the lack of blood flow. It also makes white blood cells react less aggressively, causing less damage after the heart attack. In a study published in this week's issue of the prestigious medical journal the Lancet, an international team co-ordinated by SickKids showed that, when done by a paramedic en route to hospital and a catheterization lab, ischemic preconditioning can reduce the size of heart attacks by 30 to 50 per cent"

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

CMAJ - 23 February 2010

The Canadian Medical Association Journal - 23 February 2010, Volume 182, Issue 3, is now available online

Heart Rate Monitors for Exercise by Rick Stene

Being regularly moderately physically active has been shown to help prevent a number of health problems. (Heart Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, Hypertension, Osteoporosis, etc…) Simply put physical activity is a cornerstone for good health.

To achieve these health benefits people are encouraged to be active most days of the week (5 or more days). Additionally people are encouraged to exercise at an intensity that makes the body feel like it is working (breathing deeper and more quickly) but is still comfortable (no discomfort and not puffing). This is often referred to as a training zone. For most people exercise is recommended at 40% to 70% of their heart rate reserve. (Heart rate reserve = maximal heart rate – resting heart rate).

The use of heart rate range to gauge this training intensity has been widely used to assist people in knowing whether their exercise intensity is appropriate to gain all the health benefits. Exercise intensity is based on the following physiologic principle: as exercise intensity increases, oxygen consumption and heart rate also increase in a linear relationship. Obviously heart rate is easier to measure than oxygen consumption. For this reason you often hear of people checking their pulse to see if they are exercising at the correct exercise intensity. A heart rate monitor shows you your heart rate as you exercise. This provides instant, accurate feed back on how intensely you are exercising. It also allows you to move from one type of activity to another and still maintain a proper exercise intensity. (I.e. walking to bike, rowing, gardening etc.)

One of the limiting factors for heart rate monitors for Cardiac Rehabilitation is the need to establish a maximum heart rate in order to calculate a desirable heart rate range. This usually requires a recent Exercise Test (Stress Test). Additionally any changes in medications (particularly Beta Blockers –Atenolol or Metroprolol) may alter the heart rate range and a new range may need to be re-established. Rick Stene is Manager, Chronic Disease Management-Exercise, Saskatoon Health Region

Senate report: Avandia maker knew of cardiac risks (USA)

"A Senate report said Saturday that drug maker GlaxoSmithKline knew of possible heart attack risks tied to Avandia, its diabetes medication, years before such evidence became public. Sen. Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Chuck Grassley, the committee's ranking Republican, released the report, which follows a two-year inquiry, on Saturday. They are also asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration why it allowed a clinical trial of Avandia to continue even after the agency estimated that the drug caused 83,000 heart attacks between 1999 and 2007. The agency ordered a warning to be included on Avandia's label in 2007, saying that it might increase the risk of heart attacks, though the data on those risk was inconclusive. Soon afterwards Sen. Grassley, one of the FDA's toughest critics in Congress, disclosed that the agency's internal safety experts came within one vote of recommending a withdrawal of Avandia" - Washington Post

A Population-Based Policy and Systems Change Approach to Prevent and Control Hypertension (USA)

A Population-Based Policy and Systems Change Approach to Prevent and Control Hypertension (USA)"Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is one of the nation's leading causes of death, responsible for roughly one in six deaths among adults annually. Nearly one in three adults has hypertension, which places huge economic demands on the health care system, estimated at $73.4 billion in direct and indirect costs in 2009 alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which leads the federal government’s efforts to reduce the impact of hypertension, asked the Institute of Medicine to identify high-priority areas on which public health organizations and professionals should focus in order to accelerate progress in hypertension reduction and control. In this report, the IOM recommends that the CDC as well as state and local health jurisdictions focus on population-based strategies that can reach large numbers of people and improve the well-being of entire communities. Behavioral and lifestyle interventions - reducing sodium intake, increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables, and increasing physical activity - are among the best examples. The report also highlights the need to improve providers' adherence to the treatment guidelines for hypertension, especially in the elderly population, and to encourage patients to take medication consistently by reducing or eliminating the cost of antihypertensive medication"

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Exercise helps anxiety in chronic illnesses

Exercise helps anxiety in chronic illnesses"People who are living with chronic illnesses and who are experiencing anxiety would do well to get some exercise, according to a new study published by the Archives of Internal Medicine. Illnesses can trigger anxiety for a variety of reasons. As people become more anxious, they may find it more difficult to focus on their health - and it becomes a vicious cycle. While some may do well taking anti-anxiety medications, researchers have found that exercise training reduces anxiety symptoms. They came to this conclusion after reviewing the medical literature for studies that investigated the connection between exercise in adults with chronic illnesses who generally didn't participate in physical activity. Patients had diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and fibromyalgia, among others. The patients in all the studies were, on average, 50 years old. The exercise programs were done, on average, three times per week for 16 weeks, for an average length of 42 minutes per session. The only disease that wasn't associated with less anxiety in relation to exercise was multiple sclerosis"

Why I love CARG - by Sylvia Power

This month will mark 25 years that Doug and I have been in this program. We began after I had a heart attack in December 1984 and we started walking in February 1985. The group had just moved over from Ellis Hall and Ken Cooper was in charge. The late Dr Firor was our cardiologist.
At that time women were in the minority, but we have proved that we can have a heart attack just as well as the men. We were a small group; perhaps 50 patients. Ken loved to introduce us to each other and encouraged us to support one another. Ken was a Londoner like me and had a great cheery sense of humor.
A year later CARG was formed and after Ken's retirement Rick took over. As you know we have grown in numbers and I must say that I don't think I could be as well as I am today had it not been for the care and concern of our great staff. I survived a quadruple bypass and other major surgery, and then Doug had a heart event as well so we are really committed to coming three times a week.
I can't say enough about the wonderful fellowship which means so much to us and being at the Field House with all our friends is a very important part of our lives. Thanks to all of you.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tiny molecular 'trash' may tell big story about cardiovascular disease risk

"Tiny bits of molecular "trash" found in circulating blood appear to be good predictors of cardiovascular disease and untimely death, say researchers at Duke University Medical Center. The discovery, published online in the April issue of the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics, comes from the largest study of its kind for cardiovascular disease, and is the first to identify specific metabolic profiles associated with coronary artery disease, heart attacks and death among patients who have undergone coronary catheterization. The Duke study analyzed metabolites, the molecular debris left over after the body breaks food down into energy sources and building blocks of cells and tissues. Scientists believe metabolites may be useful in diagnosing disease, said Svati Shah, M.D., M.H.S., a cardiologist in the Duke Heart Center, the Duke Center for Human Genetics and the lead author of the study. But the tiny molecules are notoriously hard to identify, quantify and characterize. Shah has been studying metabolic signatures in heart disease for several years and led earlier research showing that metabolic profiles associated with early-onset coronary artery disease can be inherited" - Science Daily

Friday, February 19, 2010

CARG Volunteers of the Year 2010

The CARG Volunteers of the Year awards for 2010 were presented on February 17, 2010 at the pancake breakfast.

Cathy Matlock stated: "Recognition of volunteers in the CARG program started in 2001, starting with Freida Goodhew. In 2002 John argang was chosen as the Volunteer of the Year, followed by Ray Williams and Ethelyne Eichhorn in 2003. In 2004 Phillip Griffin-Warwicke received the honor as did Don campbell in 2005. In 2006 Roland Perras was a deserving recipient of the award, and in 2007 Nestor and Eva Shabits were honored, as was Cathy Matlock in 2008. In 2009 Shirley Patola and Lottie Kear were chosen. This year it is my pleasure to have been asked to choose another Volunteer of the Year. This volunteer can be found walking on the track, and very rarely walking alone because he is usually listening or problem-solving with someone. He has been a strong supporter of the CARG program for the last ten years. He has been a hospital visitor for many many years, and being a hospital visitor is really a gift that few have. He registers people coming in to the education program for the yellow shirts when needed. This volunteer was on the board of directors and served as treasurer. Immaculate records were kept. While on the board he served on many committees and helped make the CARG program better for all of us. He volunteers for many things...he has made up draw tickets and sold them...he helps with setting up for pancake breakfasts and other events we have during the year, and is probably still around when the clean up takes place. He was the convenor for the 2009 CARG Christmas party...the annual volunteer BBQ in June of each year is another event he helps to organize and we all hope he will once again pick an awesome day this year. I am so very pleased to present the 2010 Volunteer of Year Award to Vic Zapf.

Vic Zapf stated: "It is indeed a pleasure to have been asked to introduce the recipient for the CARG Volunteer of the Year award for 2010. Our nominee has been a participant in the exercise program for 22 years, has been a visitor to heart patients for 15 years, retiring in 2008. He has also volunteered at the collection desk for the past 15 years and still continues to do this task. The above mentioned acts of volunteerism were not enough. He along with his wife also volunteered for the SHR at City Hospital for the past 20 years retiring from this in 2009. It gives me great pleasure to present this plaque to Mr. Art Wiggins. On behave of all the members of CARG I congratulate you and thank you for all your volunteer efforts."

Volunteer needed for CARG walking-fee collection (Field House)

Curt Weberbauer, Collection Coordinator writes:
The CARG organization is looking for a support volunteer to oversee the collection of our monthly walking fees. We would like a volunteer who would be willing to work on the first three walking days of each month, from 6:30am to noon. The person would be assisting in organizing the collection teams and assisting in managing the collection process. Please contact Curt by phone at 373-1377, or e-mail at

GE's Vscan, world's smallest portable ultrasound, now available worldwide

GE's Vscan, world's smallest portable ultrasound, now available worldwide"GE Healthcare is finally releasing the much awaited Vscan pocket sized ultrasound. Many in the industry hope that this device offers a chance for physicians to make a move from stethoscopes to portable imaging devices, bringing advanced visualization to any examination room. The unit weighs one pound and is only 3 inches (7.6 cm) wide and 5.3 inches (13.5 cm) long, offering both standard black and white imaging, as well as colored blood flow doppler. GE is touting Vscan's size and capabilities for cardiologists to transthoracically view myocardium, pericardium, and heart valves, and for primary care physicians, as well as OB, ER, and others, to scan the liver, kidney, aorta and peripheral vessels, babies in the womb, and anything else the transducer can penetrate" - medGadget

Big Pharma researcher admits to faking dozens of research studies for Pfizer, Merck (USA)

Former Pfizer representative charged with health care fraud"It's being called the largest research fraud in medical history. Dr. Scott Reuben, a former member of Pfizer's speakers' bureau, has agreed to plead guilty to faking dozens of research studies that were published in medical journals. Now being reported across the mainstream media is the fact that Dr. Reuben accepted a $75,000 grant from Pfizer to study Celebrex in 2005. His research, which was published in a medical journal, has since been quoted by hundreds of other doctors and researchers as "proof" that Celebrex helped reduce pain during post-surgical recovery. There's only one problem with all this: No patients were ever enrolled in the study! Dr. Scott Reuben, it turns out, faked the entire study and got it published anyway. It wasn't the first study faked by Dr. Reuben: He also faked study data on Bextra and Vioxx drugs, reports the Wall Street Journal" - Natural News

More US companies refuse to hire smokers

"Americans who smoke are beginning to feel unwanted as federal laws prevent them from smoking in public buildings. The World Health Organizations says smoking is considered a high risk factor in six of the eight leading causes of death worldwide. Medical experts have long preached about how smokers can quit. Now a growing number of employers in the United States are refusing to hire them. Some smokers are wondering what kind of discrimination is next. More and more Americans who smoke are beginning to feel unliked and unwanted. Federal laws prevent them from smoking in public buildings. They are not allowed to smoke within a certain distance of those buildings. Since the federal law was passed a decade ago, many state and local communities have followed suit. Now a growing number of companies and hospitals will not hire smokers, or worse, will fire them if they are caught lighting up. The World Health Organization says at least five million tobacco users die every year from lung cancer, heart disease and other smoking-related causes. The WHO says if current trends continue, tobacco-related deaths will climb to at least eight million a year by 2030.

Statins may be linked to diabetes risk

"The popular class of cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins may slightly raise the risk of type 2 diabetes, but experts say the benefits of these potentially lifesaving drugs far outweigh the risks. A new review of 13 studies on statins and their side effects with a total of more than 91,140 participants found use of statins increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 9%. This risk was found primarily among older people; there was no additional diabetes risk among statin users 60 and under. Researchers stress that this study does not prove that statins directly raise the risk of diabetes, but it raises the possibility of either a direct or indirect link between statins and diabetes that merits further investigation. They say the absolute risk of developing diabetes as a side effect of statin use is still small, especially compared to the much larger beneficial effect that statins have on reducing the risk of heart attack and other complications of heart disease" - webMD

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Happy" or "Positive" people observed to have fewer heart attacks (USA)

Columbia University Medical Center researchers studying the link between emotions and heart disease believe that their recent study, published in the latest issue of the European Society of Cardiology's European Heart Journal, is the first to show a relationship between positive emotions and coronary heart disease. In other words, being happy may be good for your heart, says Karina Davidson, Ph.D., pictured, who led the research. Although it was observational research in a trial population that had suffered cardiac events, the study suggests that it might be possible to help prevent heart disease by enhancing people's positive emotions. Over a period of 10 years, Dr. Davidson and her colleagues followed 1,739 healthy adults (862 men and 877 women) who participated in the 1995 Nova Scotia Health Survey. At the start of the observational study, trained nurses assessed the participants’ risk of heart disease and the degree of expression of positive emotions, which is known as "positive affect."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Patients get new opportunities at Heart Function Clinic (Saskatoon)

Patients get new opportunities at Heart Function Clinic (Saskatoon)"The Heart Function Clinic (Saskatoon Health Region) is a multidisciplinary team consisting of a cardiologist, registered nurse, pharmacist, dietitian, social worker and exercise therapist who work together with patients who are at high risk of readmission for unstable heart function, or new to heart function issues. They educate patients on how to manage their chronic condition to live a better quality of life. The clinic opened in September 2009 as a pilot project. It's a collaborative effort between Heart Health Services and Chronic Disease Management (CDM). 'It's important to have this follow up for the patient,' says Leslie Worth, manager of CDM. 'It gives them a resource beyond their visit to their cardiology clinic. It helps keep them on-track and out of hospital.' Saskatoon Health Region had a higher readmission rate for heart function problems compared to the Canadian average. The Region is now slightly lower than the average for readmissions since the clinic opened." Heart Function Clinic staff : (pictured left to right) Elaine Tyerman, Rochelle Anthony, Val Pottle, Tara Markowski, Linda Sinclair and Heather Yuzik

Video: Kill or Cure? - From the heart

"Strokes are a major public health issue in Europe and are among the leading causes of death and long-term disability in all developed countries. Urgent action is needed to address the dramatically increasing clinical, economic and social burden of stroke in Europe, but what can be done?"

Eight in 10 English men 'will be too fat by 2020'

Eight in 10 English men 'will be too fat by 2020'"Eight out of 10 men and nearly seven out of 10 women in England will be too fat by 2020, according to new data recently released. Researchers said that while recent research showed obesity among children levelling off, instances among adults show no sign of doing the same. Some 41 percent of men aged 20 to 65 will be obese by 2020, with 40 percent overweight, according to the figures from the National Heart Forum, based on data from the Health Survey for England. That makes a total of 81 percent. Among women, 36 percent will be obese and 32 percent overweigh - a total of 68 percent. By 2050, this will lead to sharp increases in the number of people suffering strokes, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, researchers said. "These trends demonstrate that the cautiously optimistic picture we presented in November 2009 for a levelling off of future obesity rates among children is not mirrored in adults," said Professor Klim McPherson of Oxford University, who also chairs the National Heart Forum" - Canwest

Nearly 4.6M Canadians have hypertension: Statistics Canada

Nearly 4.6M Canadians have hypertension: Statistics Canada"Nearly one-fifth of Canadians, or roughly 4.6 million adults, have hypertension, with hundreds of thousands of people unaware of their condition, a new survey shows. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a leading risk factor for mortality, cardiovascular disease and kidney disease, said the study released by Statistics Canada. About 80 per cent of the 4.6 million Canadians with hypertension are being treated with medication, said the study. In two-thirds of those treated, the anti-hyperintensive drugs were found to be effectively controlling blood pressure. However, among one-third of adults with hypertension, the condition remained "uncontrolled," meaning blood pressure is still high. About half of those with "uncontrolled" blood pressure, or 762,000 people, were unaware of their condition, according to the findings. The study used analysis from the Canadian Health Measures Survey between March 2007 and February 2009, which is based on direct, automated measures of blood pressure and self-reported use of blood pressure medication in respondents aged 6 to 79 years" - Canwest

A revolution in heart disease diagnosis (Israel)

A revolution in heart disease diagnosis (Israel)"A new imaging device from Israel can capture a still image of a beating heart, providing early diagnosis of the world's Number One killer disease. Today doctors treating heart patients often don't know whether a patient requires an invasive procedure until the procedure is in progress. Even though it's widely known that heart disease is the number one killer in the US and worldwide, there's a critical piece missing from its treatment - early diagnosis. By the time a patient has suffered a heart attack, the damage has already been done, yet that is precisely when most people discover that they have heart problems. A new invention from Israel that can provide a still image of the heart may supply the missing piece. Dr. Ehud Dafni, CEO of Israeli company Arineta, has invented the first Computing Tomography (CT) imaging system that is specially designed for the heart. In the past, CT imaging of the heart was not possible because the organ is constantly in motion, beating. Recently, advanced technology has made it possible to capture a still image of the heart, but only with the use of expensive equipment that is not specifically designed for cardiac imaging and utilizes large amounts of radiation"

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

St. Vincent's tweets live AFIB procedure (Florida, USA)

"On Thursday, February 11, heart experts at St. Vincent's AFIB Institute, Florida, performed a procedure to stop the wild rhythms beating in one Georgia man's heart. The 62 year old patient consented to let them "tweet" his catheter ablation, which will give him a steady heart beat and decrease his risk of stroke, congestive heart failure and death associated with atrial fibrillation. The patient recognized symptoms of AFIB after hearing of the Institute and spoke to his physician about testing. A transcript of the procedure can be found at or by searching the hashtag #AFIBjax in Twitter, the online social network"

Nurse-led service slashes cancelled heart ops (UK)

Nurse-led service slashes cancelled heart ops"A nurse-led service for patients having cardiac surgery has helped slash the number of cancelled operations and length of hospital stay at a south London trust. The service - a joint project between St George's Hospital Trust and the South West London Cardiac and Stroke Network - was set up in December 2008 to improve the cardiac surgery patient pathway and help the trust meet the 18-week referral to treatment target. Lead by a cardiothoracic nurse practitioner, who co-ordinates the care of cardiac surgery patients, the service has seen the number of theatre cancellations decrease from 10.1 cases per month two years ago to just 2.3 cases per month at present. Length of hospital stay has also reduced - from 8.8 days to 7.6 days for elective patients, and 15.7 days to 13.3 days for emergencies" - Nursing Times

Stroke Research and Treatment

Stroke Research and Treatment, from SAGE-Hindawi Access to Research, is a peer-reviewed, open access journal that publishes original research articles, review articles, case reports, and clinical studies in all aspects of stroke

Journal of Obesity

Journal of Obesity, from Hindawi Publishing Corporation, is a peer-reviewed, open access journal that publishes original research articles, review articles, case reports, and clinical studies in all areas of obesity

Monday, February 15, 2010

Grandparents who care for children 'boost obesity risk' (UK)

Grandparents who care for children 'boost obesity risk' (UK)"Young children who are regularly looked after by their grandparents have an increased risk of being overweight, an extensive British study has suggested. Analysis of 12,000 three-year olds suggested the risk was 34% higher if grandparents cared for them full time. Children who went to nursery or had a childminder had no increased risk of weight problems, the International Journal of Obesity reported. Nearly a quarter of preschool children in the UK are overweight or obese. The researchers said very little research had been done on the influence of childcare on weight. Yet childcare may have an effect on weight through diet and physical activity. The study used data from the Millennium Cohort Study, which looked at the health of children aged between nine months and three years old, who had been born in the UK between 2000 and 2001" - BBC

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cameras of the future: heart researchers create revolutionary photographic technique (UK)

Cameras of the future: heart researchers create revolutionary photographic technique (UK)"Scientists funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the British Heart Foundation at the University of Oxford have developed a revolutionary way of capturing a high-resolution still image alongside very high-speed video - a new technology that is attractive for science, industry and consumer sectors alike. By combining off-the-shelf technologies found in standard cameras and digital movie projectors they have successfully created a tool that will transform many forms of detailed scientific imaging and could provide access to high-speed video with high-resolution still images from the same camera at a price suitable for the consumer market. This could have everyday applications for everything from CCTV to sports photography and is already attracting interest from the scientific imaging sector where the ability to capture very high quality still images that correspond exactly to very high speed video is extremely desirable and currently very expensive to achieve. The technology has been patented by Isis Innovation, the University of Oxford's technology transfer office, which provided seed funding for this development and welcomes contact from industry partners to take the technology to market. The research is published in Nature Methods"

Oswego Health: Lakeside Heart Center (USA)

Oswego Health: Lakeside Heart Center (USA)"Oswego Health's Lakeside Heart Center, New York, provides cardiac rehabilitation to community members that have recently experienced a cardiac event. The program has two primary goals. The first is to help people physically and emotionally recover from their cardiac event. The second goal is to help prevent other heart problems from occurring in the future. These two goals are met through individual education sessions, as well as structured exercise classes that are held three times per week. We offer medically supervised one-hour adult fitness classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 8am. - 5pm. There are also one-hour phase two monitored classes, which are held Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. A third phase two class opportunity for participants is offered each week either Mondays or Fridays between 2 and 5 p.m. The Heart Center's staff consists of two registered nurses. A physician is present during all monitored classes for any questions or should an emergency arise. In addition to exercise, the program also offers guidance with issues of diet, high blood pressure, diabetes, weight management, high cholesterol and other health issues"

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Pensioners' playground: London to open its first exercise area for older people (UK)

Pensioners' playground: London to open its first exercise area for older people (UK)Swinging London will take on a whole new connotation for the capital's aging baby boomers, who will soon get their own specially designed outdoor playground. The park will offer low-impact exercise equipment to help older people improve their balance and flexibility and tone muscles that may not have been tested for decades. "Every park has a children's playground, very few have playgrounds for adults, and none have playgrounds for the elderly," said Madeline Elsdon, whose local residents' association has won funding for the playground, which is planned for London's popular Hyde Park. "We wanted something that would be of long-term benefit to people, so we came up with this idea for an older person's playground." Exercise areas aimed at the elderly are popular in Europe and Asia, and there's already a U.K. precedent - an over-60 playground billed as Britain's first opened in Manchester's Dam Head Park two years ago. Westminster City Council, which gave 40,000 pounds ($60,000) to fund the project, said a sign would identify the area as the "Hyde Park Senior Playground" but anyone of any age was welcome to use it - AP

Smoking, low IQ top cardio risk factors (Scotland)

Researchers in Scotland say lower intelligence was second only to smoking as a predictor of cardiovascular disease. The study, published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation, quantified the associations of cardiovascular disease and nine risk factors, including cognitive ability assessed using a standard test of general intelligence. The researchers found the Top 5 risk factors predicting cardiovascular death were smoking, low IQ, low income, high systolic blood pressure and low physical activity. "It may also be worthwhile for health promotion campaigns to be planned with consideration of individual cognition levels," Dr. David Batty of the Medical Research Council in Glasgow and the University of Edinburgh said in a statement. Batty also noted intelligence may well be one important factor behind the place of social class as a fundamental determinant of inequalities in health. Batty and colleagues analyzed data collected for the West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study - a population study investigating the influence of social factors on health. The researchers looked at data collected in 1987 of 1,145 men and women about age 55 and tracked for 20 years

Tiny fruit fly could offer big clues in fight against obesity

Tiny fruit fly could offer big clues in fight against obesityThe tiny tongue of a fruit fly could provide big answers to questions about human eating habits, possibly even leading to new ways to treat obesity, according to a study from a team of Texas A&M University researchers. They examined the taste organs on Drosophila's proboscis (tongue), which triggers the minute fruit fly's desire to eat or not to eat. They found that several factors, especially the creature's internal daily clock, determine feeding behaviors - and these same taste sensitivities very likely apply to humans. "The 'clock' that influences this decision to eat or not to eat is found inside the taste sensing cells, which send a signal to eat." "Once this signal is sent, the brain then tells the fly to eat or not, but all of this seems to depend on the time of day. These clocks have a very direct link to its eating habits." Drosophila, commonly called fruit flies and smaller than a grain of rice, are found worldwide and there about 1,500 species. Their work is published in the new issue of the journal Current Biology

Ethicist seeks law to say when dead is truly dead (Canada)

Ethicist seeks law to say when dead is truly dead (Canada)"A new trend to harvest transplant organs from people whose hearts have just stopped - but may not be yet brain dead - has underlined the "pressing need" for federal legislation to define exactly when someone has perished, a leading medical ethicist argues. Canada has an assortment of case law and legislation defining end of life, but the growing use of organs from cardiac-death patients may violate the law, argues Jocelyn Downie of Dalhousie University in a recent journal paper. Health-care workers motivated simply by the desire to help seriously ill patients are at risk of civil or even criminal court action because of the lack of a clear definition, she says in the Canadian Journal of Anesthesia. The cardiac-death protocol, meanwhile, should probably be halted until more is known about when someone whose heart has stopped is beyond recovery, Prof. Downie said" - leader-Post

Sask Walk For Health (Canada)

Sask Walk For Health is a fund raiser for Station 20 West in Saskatoon

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Stroke Association Manifesto 2010-2015 (UK)

"The Stroke Association Manifesto 2010-2015 sets out those areas where we want to see major improvements in stroke care over the next five years. We aim to gain a commitment from all the major political parties and stakeholders to support us in improving stroke care across the UK. Good progress has been made in the last few years in improving stroke services across the UK. However, much more needs to be done to ensure that these improvements are maintained and built upon so that all areas of the country have a first class stroke service. Progress is uneven and many stroke survivors are still not spending the majority of their stay in hospital in a stroke unit"

Migraines linked to heart attack risk (USA)

"People who suffer from migraine headaches may be much more likely to have a heart attack as well as a host of risk factors for heart disease, according to a new study. Although the overall risk was small, researchers found that people who have migraines were twice as likely to have a heart attack, and people who have migraines with aura were nearly three times more likely to have a heart attack, than others. Migraines with aura are preceded by sensations such as seeing flashing lights. The study also shows that people with migraines are more likely to have major risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol, which may partially explain this increased risk of heart attack. "Our results provide another reason for people with migraine to reduce other risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure and obesity," says researcher Marcelo E. Bigal, MD, PhD, of Merck Research Laboratories and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, N.Y., in a news release. However, even after adjusting for these underlying risk factors for heart disease, researchers found people with migraines were still more likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or evidence of peripheral artery disease (a buildup of plaque in the arteries usually in the legs or arms). The study compared the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other risk factors for heart disease among 6,102 people with migraine headaches and a comparison group of 5,243 people without headaches who were surveyed about their health. The results, published in Neurology, showed that 4.1% people who had migraines had a heart attack compared with 1.9% of the rest. The risk of heart attack was nearly three times greater for people who experienced migraine with aura than for people without migraines" - WebMD

Patient dies in hospital after 'do not resuscitate' form is mistakenly put in his files (UK)

Patient dies in hospital after 'do not resuscitate' form is mistakenly put in his files (UK)"A patient who suffered a heart attack on a hospital ward died because clerical staff had mistakenly inserted a Do Not Attempt Resuscitation form into his medical notes. Peter Clarke was not treated by doctors after going into cardiac arrest as a nurse had spotted the form in his files and, even though it was blank and had not been filled in, told other ward staff he should not be revived. The blunder emerged at an inquest into the incident at Derby Hospitals NHS Trust, where bosses revealed staff had been 'routinely' placing the forms alongside medical records before they had been correctly signed and witnessed by senior doctors. The errors go against the usual Trust policy on using the forms and mean the documents were inserted into files without the consent of patients. It has affected an unknown number of patients and it is not known how long the practice was going on. - Daily Mail

Stem cell infusion shows promise for treating heart disease (USA)

"After Bernie Treichel had a heart attack in December, she received the standard treatment: angioplasty, in which doctors propped open her clogged arteries with stents. Then she tried something unusual. She signed up for a study in which stem cells are infused into the arm to potentially do what the body can’t do on its own: grow new heart muscle. It's one of seven studies for cardiovascular disease at UW Hospital involving regenerative medicine: the use of stem cells, gene therapy or growth factors to repair damaged tissue. "If it might help my heart heal better or quicker, it was worth a try," said Treichel, a retired nurse practitioner from Oregon who also is exercising more and eating better since her heart attack. University of Wisconsin Hospital didn't offer any such studies until Dr. Amish Raval arrived five years ago. Raval, a cardiologist who heads up six of the seven studies, said regenerative medicine gives hope to the thousands of heart disease patients each year who aren't helped much by angioplasty, surgery or drugs. He said many of the patients eventually die from heart failure, which about 5 million Americans have, according to the American Heart Association" - Wisconsin State Journal

Women with gout at greater risk of heart attack than men

"Women with gout are at greater risk of a heart attack than men with the disease, indicates research published ahead of print in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. Gout is known to boost the risk of a heart attack in men. But to date, little has been known about the impact of gout on women's cardiovascular health. Gout is common and caused by inflammation in the joints as a result of excess uric acid deposits. Uric acid is a by-product of purines, which are abundant in a Western diet. Obesity, weight gain, high alcohol intake, high blood pressure, poorly functioning kidneys and certain drugs can all precipitate its development. The authors base their findings on a population study of more than 9500 gout patients and 48,000 people without the disease, aged 65 and older. All participants were drawn from the Canadian British Columbia Linked Health Database, which covers the entire province of British Columbia (population 4.5 million) and contains long term information on healthcare use" -

Better sign of blood vessel narrowing and early coronary artery disease

Cardiologists and heart imaging specialists at 15 medical centers in eight countries, and led by researchers at Johns Hopkins, have enrolled the first dozen patients in a year-long investigation to learn whether the subtle squeezing of blood flow through the inner layers of the heart is better than traditional SPECT nuclear imaging tests and other diagnostic radiology procedures for accurately tracking the earliest signs of coronary artery clogs. Each year, nearly 800,000 American men and women with coronary artery disease suffer a heart attack, resulting in more than 150,000 deaths. The latest international study of so-called CT perfusion imaging will involve the participation of some 400 men and women identified as being at higher risk of coronary artery disease because they have had symptoms of the illness, such as shortness of breath, chest pain or fatigue. All qualify for a more detailed inspection of their heart's blood vessels by cardiac catheterization, an invasive procedure in which a thin plastic tube is directly inserted into the heart's blood vessels to detect blockages and help widen each artery as needed.

University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers receive funding for program on sudden cardiac arrest

A multidisciplinary team of University of Wisconsin-Madison physiologists and cardiac specialists have launched a new program to study the mysteries of sudden cardiac arrest, thanks to a grant from the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute. The grant, which will pay $9.77 million over five years, will establish a program to study sudden cardiac arrest due to calcium-triggered arrhythmias. Researchers will study the genetics and electrophysiological mechanisms of inherited diseases and syndromes such as catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT), long QT syndrome, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. In each instance, sudden cardiac arrest is associated with a surge in catecholamines (of which adrenaline is one) in response to stressors such as exercise

Early life stress may predict cardiovascular disease

Early life stress could be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease in adulthood, researchers report. "We think early life stress increases sensitivity to a hormone known to increase your blood pressure and increases your cardiovascular risk in adult life," said Dr. Jennifer Pollock, biochemist in the Vascular Biology Center at the Medical College of Georgia and corresponding author on the study published online in Hypertension. The studies in a proven model of chronic behavioral stress – separating rat pups from their mother three hours daily for two weeks – showed no long-term impact on key indicators of cardiovascular disease such as increased blood pressure, heart rate or inflammation in blood vessel walls.

CMAJ - 9 February 2010

The Canadian Medical Association Journal - 9 February 2010, Volume 182, Issue 2, is now available online

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

STOP Obesity Alliance (USA)

STOP Obesity Alliance - The Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance is a collaboration of consumer, provider, government, labor, business, health insurers, and quality-of-care organizations united to drive innovative and practical strategies that combat obesity

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Saskatchewan Health Information Resources Partnership (Canada)

The Saskatchewan Health Information Resources Partnership provides access to a comprehensive suite of online health information resources for all health practitioners in Saskatchewan. Practice areas include medicine, nursing, pharmacy, psychology, and therapy. The SHIRP digital library includes:

* 13 Medical and Interdisciplinary Health Databases
* Over 6,000 Full text Journals
* 144 Full text Books
* 2 Clinical Decision Support Tools

SHIRP's Mandate:

* ensure that critical evidence-based health information is available to all health care practitioners in the province
* provide training and reference support for all health care practitioners in accessing these vital resources

The SHIRP team is comprised of two Co-Chairs, a Coordinator, an Outreach Services Librarian, and a Programmer/Analyst

Friday, February 5, 2010

Morbidly obese 'may have missing genes' (UK)

Morbidly obese 'may have missing genes'(UK)A small number of extremely overweight people may be missing the same chunk of genetic material, claim UK researchers. The findings, published in the journal Nature, could offer clues to whether obesity can be "inherited" in some cases. Imperial College London scientists found dozens of people - all severely obese - who lacked approximately the same 30 genes. The gene "deletion" could not be found in people of normal weight. While much of the "obesity epidemic" currently affecting most Western countries has been attributed to a move towards high-calorie foods and more sedentary lifestyles, scientists have found evidence that genes may play a significant role in influencing weight gain in some people - BBC

Artificial pancreas hope for children with diabetes (UK)

Artificial pancreas hope for children with diabetes (UK)Scientists in Cambridge have shown that an "artificial pancreas" can be used to regulate blood sugar in children with Type 1 diabetesc. A trial found that combining a "real time" sensor measuring glucose levels with a pump that delivers insulin can boost overnight blood sugar control. The Lancet study showed the device significantly cut the risk of blood sugar levels dropping dangerously low. Experts said the results were an important "step forward". Type 1 diabetes is a chronic, life threatening condition, in which the pancreas does not produce insulin - the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels - BBC

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Quitting smoking could halve US heart deaths: WHO

Half of the 400,000 deaths from coronary heart disease predicted in the United States in 2010 could be avoided if people ate healthier food and stopped smoking, according to research published Monday. The study of cardiovascular risk factors published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization (WHO) said improvements in cardiovascular health had stalled since the 1990s because of a dramatic rise in obesity and diabetes. The number of heart disease fatalities in the United States could be halved if "one smoker in two in the United States stopped smoking", taking the proportion of smokers down from 25 percent to 12 percent of the population, WHO official Laragh Gollogly told AFP. The study also showed the positive effect measures aimed at changing people's behaviour have on cardiovascular health, Gollogly said. "By avoiding tobacco, eating a healthy diet and engaging in regular physical activity, people can dramatically reduce their risk of developing heart disease, stroke or diabetes," Shanthi Mendis, co-ordinator of Chronic Diseases' Prevention and Management at the WHO, said. Changing people's behaviour was a major challenge for public health bodies, Gollogly said. The report, co-authored by Simon Capewell, from the University of Liverpool in northwest Britain, said lifestyle is a major factor determining the health of many of the world's people. Almost a billion adults are overweight around the world, the report said, and if no action is taken the number will pass 1.5 billion by 2015. Cardiovascular health has improved significantly since the 1970s due to reductions in cholesterol, smoking and increased physical activity, the report said, but the rise of obesity has stalled these achievements, the study found. - AFP

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Six steps to ensure a shipshape ticker (Canada)

Six steps to ensure a shipshape ticker (Canada)"The heart wants what it wants and Canadians better take notice if they want to stay healthy. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, approximately 70,000 heart attacks occur each year in Canada - 19,000 of which are fatal. And although genetics can play a role in shaping your heart-healthy future, there are plenty of modifiable risk factors that be addressed today to ensure a healthy tomorrow" - Edmonton Journal

Study links sleep blood pressure in teens

Study links sleep blood pressure in teensTeenagers who aren't getting enough of the right kind of sleep are losing more than just a little shut-eye - they may also be increasing their risks for cardiovascular disease, according to a landmark American study released Monday. The study, published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, is the first of its kind to examine how lack of sleep and quality of sleep can affect blood pressure levels in healthy teenagers. Between 2001 and 2004, researchers measured blood pressure levels in a sample of 238 teenagers aged 13 to 16 and found that those who have low sleep efficiency - such as being unable to fall asleep right away or those who tend to wake up too early - were 3.5 times more likely to have high blood pressure than teenagers who have a high level of sleep efficiency. The report also discovered that those who had less than 6.5 hours of sleep were also 2.5 times more likely to have elevated blood pressure levels - Canwest

UK Ministers aim to halve number of people smoking by 2020

UK Ministers aim to halve number of people smoking by 2020"A plan to halve the number of smokers in England over the next 10 years has been unveiled by ministers. The number of people smoking has fallen by a quarter in the past decade to 21%, and the proposed target is 10% by 2020. Measures being considered include removing branding from packets and banning cigarette vending machines, as will happen in Scotland next year. Smokers' lobby group Forest criticised the proposals for eroding people's ability to make lifestyle choices. Health charity Ash said that while it supported the plans in principle, there was a need for more detail and stronger pledges"

MetroSouth Medical Center launches "Know Your Numbers By Heart" initiative (USA)

"During the month of February, media personalities, politicians and other dignitaries are joining MetroSouth Medical Center, Blue Island, IL, health professionals in a campaign to encourage residents of Chicago and the south suburbs to get heart exams. The medical center will offer free heart screenings throughout the month of February as part of the Know Your Numbers by Heart initiative. The screenings will be held in Morgan Park, Alsip, South Holland and Blue Island"

Smoking cessation increases cardiac health later in life (Israel)

Smoking cessation significantly increases cardiac health later in life, says a new study from Tel Aviv University. The research found that quitting smoking after a heart attack has about the same positive effect as other major interventions such as lipid-lowering agents like statins or more invasive procedures. "It's really the most broad and eye-opening study of its kind. Smoking really decreases your life expectancy after a heart attack. Those who have never smoked have a 43 percent lower risk of succumbing after a heart attack, compared to the persistent smoker," said Dr. Yariv Gerber of TAU's Sackler School of Medicine. The results of the study were reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology - DNA

Heart surgery to sideline Newfoundland and Labrador premier for weeks (Canada)

Heart surgery to sideline Newfoundland and Labrador premier for weeks (Canada)Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams will be sidelined from three to 12 weeks because of heart surgery he'll undergo at an undisclosed location in the United States, says acting premier Kathy Dunderdale. Williams travelled to the U.S. Monday on the advice of his doctors after weeks of consultations, Dunderdale said. "I'm not going into the details of the premier's condition," she told reporters at a news conference in St. John's Tuesday morning. "Any heart surgery is serious, however, his prognosis is very, very good." Dunderdale said the surgery would happen this week, but refused to provide specifics on the day or where Williams is being treated, other than to say he has "gone to a renowned expert in the procedure that he needs to have done." She also wouldn't say whether Williams could have had the procedure performed in the province or elsewhere in Canada