Sunday, May 30, 2010
TuDiabetes, a social network for people touched by diabetes and a World Diabetes Day champion, has partnered with Children's Hospital Boston to launch TuAnalyze, a highly secure application located on the TuDiabetes.org website that lets members submit and share their hemoglobin A1C with others. The information submitted in this massive data donation drive will be displayed on a map on the TuDiabetes network with states "lighting up" according to aggregate A1C data. Through TuAnalyze, all of us who have to live mindful of our A1C value will be able to see our community connect in a new way. Through sharing this metric, people with diabetes can work individually and collectively toward their health goals, and help academic research
Labels: Social Network
Proposals to give free prescriptions to people in England with long-term conditions have been put on hold due to financial pressures on the NHS. Health minister Simon Burns said a decision on prescription charges and exemptions cannot be made before the spending review due in the autumn. Plans for expanding eligibility for free prescriptions were first announced by Gordon Brown in 2008. All charges have been scrapped in Wales and are being phased out in Scotland. In England, prescription charges for cancer patients have already been dropped. Professor Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians, was tasked with considering which patient groups should be exempt from charges and how the changes should be implemented. In a report first presented to ministers in November 2009, he said patients should be exempt if they have a long-term health condition that will persist for a period of at least six months. It means the three-year exemption would include people with common conditions, such as asthma, arthritis and high blood pressure, and eligibility would be determined by doctors
A surgical robot that can change its shape to skirt safely around vital organs and navigate inside arteries could one day spare cardiac patients the risks of open heart surgery. The instruments currently used in keyhole surgery are either stiff and needle-like, so they can only be manoeuvred in straight lines, or flexible and unable to transmit any force to the tissue. "Catheters are great, but they are like floppy noodles," says Pierre Dupont, a biomedical engineer at Boston University. "They follow curvature and contours, but you have limited control at the tip - you can't pull and push on tissue." Now Dupont and his team have come up with a way to combine the steerability of a flexible catheter with the stiffness of a needle. Called a concentric tube robot, the technology relies on a series of telescoping curved tubes. As each tube extends and twists from the preceding one, the robot is able to form a multitude of serpentine shapes, allowing it to easily navigate inside an artery while also being stiff enough to transmit force from the surgeon's hand to the area of interest
Although congenital heart disease represents the most common major birth defect, scientists have not previously identified the common variation in the genes that give rise to it. Now genetics and cardiology researchers, two of them brothers, have discovered a genetic variant on chromosome 5 that strongly raises the risk of congenital heart disease - PhysOrg
Labels: Congenital Heart Disease
A new and non-controversial source of stem cells can form heart muscle cells and help repair heart damage, according to results of preliminary lab tests reported in Circulation Research: Journal of the American Heart Association. Investigators in Japan used the amniotic membrane - the inner lining of the sac in which an embryo develops - to obtain stem cells called human amniotic membrane-derived mesenchymal (undifferentiated) cells (hAMCs). 'The amniotic membrane is medical waste that could be collected and used after delivery,' said Shunichiro Miyoshi, M.D., Ph.D., co-author of the study and assistant professor in the cardiology department and Institute for Advanced Cardiac Therapeutics at the Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo - Science Centric
Labels: Stem Cells
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
"Nearly 4,000 tests for heart disease performed over the last three years at Harlem Hospital Center - more than half of all such tests performed - were never read by doctors charged with making a diagnosis, hospital officials acknowledged Tuesday. The echocardiogram tests, a type of ultrasound used to evaluate heart muscle and valve functions, were ordered by doctors at the hospital. The tests were stored on a computer and basically forgotten, officials said. The lapse occurred because the cardiology service at the hospital had developed a system by which technicians were given the responsibility to scan all tests and flag any that looked abnormal, so that they would be given priority when doctors read them. It appears, officials said, that the tests that were not flagged were put aside and forgotten" - New York Times
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
"On the 40th anniversary of the journal Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, stroke leaders from around the world celebrated stroke research accomplishments and set an agenda for the future, according to a special report in the journal. 'The past 40 years have seen more advances in stroke than the previous four millennia,' said Vladimir Hachinski, M.D., editor of Stroke and distinguished university professor of neurology at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada. 'We've accomplished a lot but we need to accelerate that progress.' Since 1970, stroke advances include: identification of stroke risk factors such as hypertension, evidence that anti-platelet drugs can prevent stroke, the formation of dedicated stroke units and the approval of a clot-busting drug to treat acute stroke"
Sunday, May 23, 2010
The scientific evidence linking air pollution to heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular death has "substantially strengthened," and people, particularly those at high cardiovascular risk, should limit their exposure, according to an updated American Heart Association scientific statement. The evidence is strongest for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) having a causal relationship to cardiovascular disease, said the expert panel of authors who updated the association's 2004 initial statement on air pollution, also published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. The major source of PM2.5 is fossil fuel combustion from industry, traffic, and power generation. Biomass burning, heating, cooking, indoor activities and forest fires may also be relevant sources, particularly in certain regions
"H.J. Heinz Co. is messing around with the recipe for its flagship product, reducing the sodium content in its ketchup in a move that the company described as the first "significant" change in the nation's dominant brand of the tomato-based condiment in nearly 40 years. A little more than a week ago, employees began cooking up the new version. Bottles of reformulated Heinz ketchup are expected to start appearing, quietly, in grocery stores this summer. Don't expect splashy announcements on the labels or anything. That's not in the plan, a company spokeswoman said. Heinz is moving carefully, but with confidence that consumers will be OK with the new recipe"
"Join The Stroke Association as we set off from London and cycle 244 miles finishing in Paris, one of the world's most enchanting and exciting cities. Our experienced guides will lead you on a breathtaking journey through beautiful English Countryside before embarking on your ferry crossing. Once across the water you will witness the stunning vineyards, picturesque villages and open countryside that France has to offer before entering the final stage of the ride - arriving to a celebratory finish at the Arc de Triomphe in the heart of this exciting city. Cycling in small groups at a pace that suits you, this 3 day cycle challenge will leave you breathless - especially after the 100 mile cycle on the last day!" - 9-12 September, 2010
Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati and The Christ Hospital to pay $108 million for violating anti-kickback statute and defrauding Medicare and Medicaid
"The Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati and one of its former member hospitals, The Christ Hospital, have agreed to pay the United States $108 million to settle claims that they violated the Anti-Kickback Statute and the False Claims Act by paying unlawful remuneration to doctors in exchange for referring cardiac patients to The Christ Hospital in a pay-to-play scheme, the Justice Department announced today. The United States alleged that The Christ Hospital, a 555-bed acute care hospital located in Mount Auburn, Ohio, limited the opportunity to work at the Heart Station – an outpatient cardiology testing unit that provides non-invasive heart procedures – to those cardiologists who referred cardiac business to The Christ Hospital. The government further alleged that cardiologists whose referrals contributed at least two percent of the hospital's yearly gross revenues were rewarded with a corresponding percentage of time at the Heart Station, where they had the opportunity to generate additional income by billing for the patients they treated at the unit and for any follow-up procedures that these patients required. The government asserted that The Christ Hospital's use of Heart Station panel time to induce lucrative cardiac referrals violated the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits a hospital from offering or paying, or a physician from soliciting or receiving, anything of value in return for patient referrals. The United States also alleged that the claims The Christ Hospital submitted to Medicare and Medicaid as a result of this illegal kickback scheme constituted a violation of the False Claims Act" - PR Newswire
If all states banned smoking in restaurants, offices and other public spaces nationwide, the number of Americans suffering from heart attacks would drop by more than 18,000 within the first year, researchers report. "Comprehensive smoking bans have been implemented in some states, but not in every state," noted lead researcher Dr. Mouaz Al-Mallah, co-director of Cardiac Imaging Research at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Currently, 39 states have some type of public smoking bans, with 26 banning smoking in any enclosed public space, while 11 states have no bans at all
An online blood-pressure monitoring program made a major difference in health management for patients with uncontrolled hypertension, new research has found. The researchers studied more than 350 patients, aged 18 to 85, who had uncontrolled high blood pressure - hypertension. The study participants were randomly assigned to receive ordinary treatment or take part in a monitoring program in conjunction with the American Heart Association's Heart360.org Web site, which helps people manage their heart health at no cost. Those who took part in the online program transmitted blood pressure readings via a home computer to their physicians. Pharmacy specialists reviewed the numbers and adjusted the medications of the patients accordingly, the study authors explained. After six months, 58 percent of those in the program had lowered their blood pressure to healthy levels, compared to just 38 percent of those in the other group, Dr. David Magid of Kaiser Permanente Colorado and colleagues found. The study findings are scheduled to be presented Friday at the American Heart Association's Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke 2010 Scientific Sessions, in Washington D.C.
Friday, May 21, 2010
People using cholesterol-lowering statins have a higher risks of liver dysfunction, kidney failure, muscle weakness and cataracts and such side effects of the drug should be closely tracked, doctors said. In a study covering more than 2 million people in Britain, researchers from Nottingham University found that adverse side effects of statins, which are prescribed to people with high levels cholesterol to cut the risk of heart disease, were generally worst in the first year of treatment. The findings, published in the British Medical Journal, are unlikely to affect the use of best-selling medicines like Pfizer's Lipitor and AstraZeneca's Crestor, but the study's authors said patients taking statins should be "proactively monitored" for side effects. "Our study is likely to be useful for policy and planning purposes," said Julia Hippisley-Cox and Carol Coupland, the two professors who led the study. They said it may also be useful "for informing guidelines on the type and dose of statins". - Canwest
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
"SPIROCOR is a new noninvasive test for coronary artery disease. It uses pulse oximetry to measure fingertip blood flow in response to paced breathing at a rate of 6 breaths per minute for 70 seconds. From these data the Respiratory Stress Response (RSR) is calculated as a measure of coronary artery disease. Results from a study of the test are published in this month's American Journal of the Medical Sciences. Patients with significant CAD had a lower RSR compared to patients without, with the test having a sensitivity of 83% and specificity of 70%. Multivariate analysis with conventional risk factors showed RSR to be an independent marker of significant CAD. A study comparing the technique with stress ECG is currently ongoing"
The Canadian Medical Association Journal - 18 May 2010, Volume 182, Issue 8, is now available online
A leading Canadian researcher and the U.S. group Public Citizen are calling on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to pull the plug on a major international drug trial, calling it unethical. They say the TIDE trial, which is investigating the cardiovascular risks of the diabetes drug Avandia, should be stopped because there's enough evidence to show the drug is more dangerous than a similar drug, Actos and both drugs are more dangerous than older diabetes drugs. "It really does not make sense that this trial should continue," said Dr. David Juurlink, a researcher at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto who conducted an earlier large study comparing the drugs. That study, published last summer, found people taking Actos or pioglitazone for Type 2 diabetes are 23 per cent less likely to be hospitalized for heart failure and 14 per cent less likely to die than people taking Avandia or rosiglitazone - Canadian Press
Dubai is the first Middle Eastern city in history to be chosen to participate in the 'Live Centre' sessions' during the annual EuroPCR Congress - the leading global cardiovascular course. This year, Dr. Talib K. Majwal, Director of Interventional Cardiology, Dubai Heart Center, Dubai Hospital will perform two of the most critical cardiac procedures live through web-cast to the congress in Paris on the 26th of May, at 1:30 pm. Every year, only 15 top institutions and doctors from around the world are hand picked by the congress's board of directors to participate and showcase their educational and surgical talents through live case sessions. Approximately 15,000 cardiologists from across the globe attend the EuroPCR Congress every year
Saturday, May 15, 2010
"The rate of deaths related to heart disease decreased by 35 per cent in Ontario between 1994 and 2005 due to improvements in lifestyle factors and medical treatments, a new population study shows. Improvements in traditional risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD) such as cholesterol levels and blood pressure were responsible for about half of the reduction in deaths, while new medical and surgical treatments were associated with 43 percent of the decrease. "Identifying the underlying factors associated with this decline is critical for planning future health policy and prioritizing strategies for prevention," says Dr. Harindra Wijeysundera, interventional cardiologist at the Schulich Heart Centre and lead author of the study. Although a reductions in smoking and inactivity each played an important role in the decline in CHD related deaths, the biggest difference came from a reduction in cholesterol levels and blood pressure - each representing about 20 percent of overall reductions in death. The most important change regarding new medical and surgical treatments was the number of patients taking appropriate medications."
"A new, wireless defibrillator that is easier to implant and maintain could make life better for people who rely on them to prevent sudden cardiac death, researchers report. A defibrillator delivers an electric shock to restart a heart that has stopped beating. About 100,000 of them are implanted in Americans each year. Current models require careful surgery to run wires from the device through a vein into the heart - a procedure that can damage the heart, a lung or a blood vessel, even when done by the most skilled practitioner. The new device, developed by Cameron Health, a small California company, does away with those wires and has worked as well as the more complicated existing implanted defibrillators in several studies, according to a report released at the Heart Rhythm Society annual meeting in Denver"
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
People working 10 or 11 hours a day are more likely to suffer serious heart problems, including heart attacks, than those clocking off after seven hours, researchers said. The finding, from an 11-year study of 6,000 British civil servants, does not provide definitive proof that long hours cause coronary heart disease but it does show a clear link, which experts said may be due to stress. In all, there were 369 cases of death due to heart disease, non-fatal heart attacks and angina among the London-based study group - and the risk of having an adverse event was 60 percent higher for those who worked three to four hours overtime. Working an extra one to two hours beyond a normal seven-hour day was not associated with increased risk. "It seems there might a threshold, so it is not so bad if you work another hour or so more than usual," said Dr Marianna Virtanen, an epidemiologist at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and University College London. The higher incidence of heart problems among those working overtime was independent of a range of other risk factors including smoking, being overweight or having high cholesterol - Reuters
Gary McEachren Robb - July 27, 1942 to May 8, 2010. It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden passing of Gary Robb at his home on Saturday, May 8, 2010. Predeceased by his parents, Stanley and Christina Robb and his wife, Bertha. Gary is survived by his sons, Corey (Cindy) and Allan (Carissa), six grandchildren, Nerissa (Joe), Kathleen, Karalyn, Joshua, Cash and Rayna; one great grandchild, Weston; two sisters, Georgina (Ed) and Diane (Joe); and his mother-in-law, Alice Grasby. Gary was born in Saskatoon and was raised on a farm ten miles west of Saskatoon. He farmed with his dad and in 1966 married Bertha Grasby. They built their family home across the road from where Gary grew up. Gary worked first at SaskPower and then moved to SaskEnergy where he worked until he retired in 2000. While working, Gary also took over the family farm and continued to farm with his sons until 2002, when a health scare made him realize it was time to enjoy life. Gary spent many evenings watching hockey, ball, and car races. In 2006, he took his first bus trip to Alaska. In 2008, he did a cross country trip to the east coast with some of the friends he made on the Alaska trip. Gary also became very involved with the Coronary Artery Rehabilitation Group and spent many mornings walking at the field house. From morning breakfast and coffees with his friends, to watching his grandkids during different sports activities, to buying new toys for the farm for both himself and the grandkids, Gary lived his life with great joy and happiness. He will be sorely missed by both family and friends. Public visitation will take place Wednesday, May 12, 2010 from 8:00 9:00 p.m. and the Memorial Service will be held on Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. at Hillcrest Funeral Home (east on 8th Street, first right past Briargate Road, Saskatoon, SK). Interment to follow at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens. Flowers are gratefully declined. Friends and family so wishing may make donations in Gary's memory to CARG, c/o Coronary Artery Rehabilitation Group (2020 College Drive, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 2W4). Condolences may be sent to www.hillcrestmemorial.ca. Arrangements are entrusted to Kenneth Scheirich
Monday, May 10, 2010
"Our latest issue is all about communication. Read how stroke survivors Rodney Hamilton, Pam Fox and Albert Horrocks have rebuilt their lives while living with communication difficulties. We also talk to The Bill's Graham Cole, fresh from his visit to The Stroke Association's Clapham Communication Support Group"
Medicare issued as much as $92 million in payments between 2000 and 2007 for medical procedures or devices ordered under the names of doctors who had already died, according to a 2008 Senate committee report. Prescriptions written in the names of deceased doctors are only one of the fraudulent techniques that plague the U.S. health care system, which has become a favorite target for organized crime. "There are so many schemes involved," said John Gillies, a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). "Take any aspect of the healthcare industry and there's a fraud going on in there right now." Medicare and other healthcare fraud have been targeted as major areas for reform by politicians seeking to reduce the country's medical spending. According to the FBI, between 3 and 10 percent of the country's yearly healthcare spending goes to fraud, or $200 billion. This is consistent with an October 2009 Thompson Reuters report, which estimated that fraud cost the U.S. healthcare system more than $220 billion in 2007, or 10 percent of its total spending - Natural News
University of Missouri awarded $8.5 million to explore tiny vessels' role in cardiovascular diseases
One of the largest medical research grants ever awarded to the University of Missouri was announced by MU scientists and administrators. The National Institutes of Health grant will help answer important questions about such prevalent health problems as high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke. The conditions are closely associated with cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in Missouri and the nation. The $8.47 million program project grant from the NIH's National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute will fund an integrated research effort involving more than 20 scientists across campus. Their discoveries will further understanding of the smallest blood vessels in the body, collectively known as the microcirculation. How the miniscule vessels contribute to health and disease is a growing field of study for cardiovascular researchers
St. Jude Medical, Inc. has announced the U.S. launch of its Wireless USB Adaptor for the Merlin@home™ transmitter, a system that allows important patient data from an implantable cardiac device to be wirelessly downloaded and securely transmitted via telephone for review by a physician. The new Wireless USB Adaptor enables patients using a Merlin@home transmitter to transmit data to their physician over cellular networks, allowing for more convenient care than existing landline services provide - PR-inside.com
"A joint clinical trial conducted by the University Hospital and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, found that an element in human blood, fibrinogen, is likely more vital to the blood's clotting ability in connection with heart surgery than previously considered. If the patients also receive a dose of fibrinogen prior to the procedure, this reduces the risk of haemorrhage during and after surgery. These results may open the door to new strategies in reducing bleeding complications in cardiac surgery. Each year over 7,000 Swedes undergo open-heart surgery, most commonly a coronary artery bypass or a valve replacement. It's a major procedure during which the heart and lungs are stopped and their functions are temporarily replaced by a heart-lung machine, or CPB pump." - Science Centric
Saturday, May 8, 2010
"The 'white-coat' effect - where blood pressure rises during a check by a doctor - is even worse in someone whose level is already high, researchers say. The effect is due to patients becoming stressed by being in a doctor's surgery or a hospital. Writing in the British Medical Journal, an Australian team say giving people a cuff to wear for 24 hours is a better way of checking blood pressure. A UK expert said it showed clearly that external factors affected readings" - BBC
"It has been widely reported that Elvis Presley died in 1977 from cardiac arrhythmia, an irregular heartbeat, possibly brought on by drug dependency, obesity and a weak heart. But the music legend's longtime friend and physician, Dr. George "Nick" Nichopoulos, has put pen to paper for the first time and revealed his belief that it was chronic constipation that actually killed the King of Rock and Roll." - Fox
Labels: Elvis Presley
The Dubai Taxi Corporation has launched a medical awareness program in cooperation with Al Hilal Private Nursing & Medical Services Co. covering the principles of First Aid and Cardiac Resuscitation with the aim of boosting the health awareness among employees & drivers alike.
Friday, May 7, 2010
"High pressure jobs like nursing can increase young women's risk of heart disease and younger women appear to be more vulnerable, scientists said. It is already known that having stressful or demanding jobs can lead to higher heart risks but previous research has largely focused on men. In this study, researchers from Denmark assessed the impact of work pressure and degree of personal influence in the workplace on the heart health of more than 12,000 nurses. The nurses were all aged between 45 and 64 in 1993, when they were questioned about daily work pressures and about how much they felt they had control over their work. Their health was then tracked for 15 years using hospital records. The results, published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, showed that nurses who said their work pressures were a little too high were 25 percent more likely to develop heart disease as those who said work pressures were manageable and appropriate" - Reuters
"A type of blood fat different from cholesterol may play a key role in heart disease, a study suggests. Cambridge University researchers looked at the role of triglycerides, which is produced in the liver and derived from foods such as meat and dairy products. The analysis of 350,000 people from 101 previous studies found those with higher levels of the blood fat were more likely to have heart disease. But experts warned more research was needed to confirm the link. The analysis centred on a specific gene which is known to influence the levels of triglycerides, the Lancet medical journal reported" - BBC
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
"Men and women experience very similar heart attack symptoms, a new study aimed at dispelling a commonly held "myth" has found. Cardiac nurse and UBC doctoral student Martha Mackay led a team that assessed 305 patients who were undergoing routine angioplasty procedures, a standard method of widening clogged blood vessels which generates symptoms that briefly mimic what occurs during a heart attack. They found that men and women equally reported chest discomfort - the most common symptom of heart attack - refuting the old myth that women don't experience chest pain during an attack. The reporting of other "typical" symptoms - such as arm pain, shortness of breath and sweating - also showed no gender divide" - Canwest
Sunday, May 2, 2010
"2,400 people. That's how many Americans die of heart disease each day. That's also about how many people took steps to avoid becoming a part of that growing statistic. More than 2 thousand people made strides for their hearts from their hearts at Pioneers Park in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA. Lori Plautz is walking to make hers stronger. "My husband died at the age of 49 a year and a half ago from a heart attack," said Lori Plautz. That came as a shock to Lori, who later found out her high blood pressure put her at the same risk. "I just decided then, that was my time I needed to make a change in my life and I wanted to be around for my kids," said Plautz. Doctors say nearly 2,400 Americans die from a cardiovascular disease each day. Many of them don't even know they have a problem until it's too late. "Heart disease is the number one killer in Americans and the scary thing about heart disease one quarter of people, their first symptom of heart disease is they keel over dead," said Dr. Ryan Whitney, Chief Medical Officer at the BryanLGH Heart Institute. "It's a tough thing and that's why we are out here raising awareness for heart disease and raise money to fight it," Whitney added. Doctors say the leading risk for heart attack and stroke is lack of physical activity. That's why Lori is walking for her husband, herself and others. "If I can talk someone into eating healthy, starting exercising, something if I can save one person then it's worth it," she said. The walk was presented by BryanLGH Heart Institute and BryanLGH Medical Center.
"Olympic figure skating bronze medalist and Canadian champion Joannie Rochette is teaming with the University of Ottawa Heart Institute to help tackle heart disease in women. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in North America. Joannie captured the world's attention and admiration with her poise and courage, winning her Olympic medal just four days after her own mother, Therese, died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack. 'Like everyone else, we were completely captivated by Joannie's character and poise in coping with the loss of her mother under some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable,' said Dr. Robert Roberts, Heart Institute President and CEO"