Sunday, February 27, 2011

Antioxidants in pecans may contribute to heart health and disease prevention

Antioxidants in pecans may contribute to heart health and disease preventionA new research study from Loma Linda University demonstrates that naturally occurring antioxidants in pecans may help contribute to heart health and disease prevention; the results were published in the January 2011 issue of The Journal of Nutrition. Pecans contain different forms of the antioxidant vitamin E - known as tocopherols, plus numerous phenolic substances, many of them with antioxidant abilities. The nuts are especially rich in one form of vitamin E called gamma-tocopherols. The findings illustrate that after eating pecans, gamma-tocopherol levels in the body doubled and unhealthy oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood decreased by as much as 33 percent. Oxidized LDLs may further contribute to inflammation in the arteries and place people at greater risk of cardiovascular problems. "Our tests show that eating pecans increases the amount of healthy antioxidants in the body," says LLU researcher Ella Haddad, DrPH, associate professor in the School of Public Health department of nutrition. "This protective effect is important in helping to prevent development of various diseases such as cancer and heart disease." - EurekAlert

New research suggests that obesity and diabetes are a downside of human evolution

As if the recent prediction that half of all Americans will have diabetes or pre-diabetes by the year 2020 isn't alarming enough, a new genetic discovery published online in the FASEB Journal provides a disturbing explanation as to why: we took an evolutionary "wrong turn." In the research report, scientists show that human evolution leading to the loss of function in a gene called "CMAH" may make humans more prone to obesity and diabetes than other mammals. "Diabetes is estimated to affect over 25 million individuals in the U.S., and 285 million people worldwide," said Jane J. Kim, M.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego in La Jolla, CA. "Our study for the first time links human-specific sialic acid changes to insulin and glucose metabolism and therefore opens up a new perspective in understanding the causes of diabetes." - EurekAlert

A North American first at the Montreal Heart Institute could help treat thousands of Canadians

The interventional cardiology team at the Montreal Heart Institute recently began patient enrolment for a new device, the Neovasc Reducer, designed to treat patients suffering from refractory angina. The treatment method is a first in North America and is being conducted as part of an international study, the COSIRA trial. This innovative treatment is promising for thousands of Canadians disabled by refractory angina and who lack alternatives for relieving their symptoms and improving their quality of life

Dirty air triggers more heart attacks than cocaine

Dirty air triggers more heart attacks than cocaine"Air pollution triggers more heart attacks than using cocaine and poses as high a risk of sparking a heart attack as alcohol, coffee and physical exertion, scientists said on Thursday. Sex, anger, marijuana use and chest or respiratory infections and can also trigger heart attacks to different extents, the researchers said, but air pollution, particularly in heavy traffic, is the major culprit. The findings, published in The Lancet journal, suggest population-wide factors like polluted air should be taken more seriously when looking at heart risks, and should be put into context beside higher but relatively rarer risks like drug use. Tim Nawrot of Hasselt University in Belgium, who led the study, said he hoped his findings would also encourage doctors to think more often about population level risks" - Scientific American

Monday, February 21, 2011

Device 'could revolutionise blood pressure monitoring' (UK)

Device 'could revolutionise blood pressure monitoring' (UK)"A device which can be worn like a watch could revolutionise the way blood pressure is monitored in the next few years, scientists say. Researchers at the University of Leicester and in Singapore have developed a device to measure pressure in the largest artery in the body. Evidence shows it gives a much more accurate reading than the arm cuff. The technology is funded by the Department of Health and backed by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley. It works by a sensor in the watch recording the pulse wave of the artery, which is then fed into a computer together with a traditional blood pressure reading from a cuff. Scientists are then able to read the pressure close to the heart, from the aorta" - BBC

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Many stick with fast food after heart attack (USA)

Many stick with fast food after heart attack (USA)"You might think that people who've had a heart attack might cut back on fast food, which usually has unhealthy amounts of fat and salt. And in fact, some heart attack patients who are frequent fast food eaters do cut back, researchers found in a new study. But 6 months later, more than half of them can still be found at their favorite fast food places at least once a week. The researchers who published these findings in the American Journal of Cardiology say the reduction in visits to fast food restaurants is not enough and patients need better dietary education. "We can do better," Dr. John Spertus, a professor at the University of Missouri Kansas City and one of the authors of the study, told Reuters Health. Spertus and his colleagues studied nearly 2,500 heart attack patients across the U.S. who filled out surveys while they were still in the hospital. Overall, 884 patients, or roughly one of every three, reported eating fast food frequently in the month before their heart attack. "Frequently" meant once a week or more. When the researchers checked back 6 months later, 503 were still eating fast food every week"

Hibernating bears may provide valuable information for heart-attack victims

Hibernating bears may provide valuable info for heart-attack victims"Hibernating bears set their energy demands on low, but unlike most other animals that take long winter naps, they don't chill out very much. Figuring out how they cut energy use but keep their body temperature relatively warm could have important implications for treating victims of heart attack, stroke and other conditions, scientists hope. The body temperature of small hibernating mammals can drop to near freezing. But that is not the case for the more human-size black bears, according to the new research published in the journal Science. The study's senior author, Brian Barnes of the Institute for Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska, said that after hibernating, black bears don't suffer the loss of bone and muscle mass that occurs in humans after a long period of inactivity. He said that if scientists could better understand the mechanisms behind the lower metabolic demand, it might be possible to develop new therapies and medicines for people. While it would require a lot more research, scientists say understanding how the process of hibernation works might aid in preventing osteoporosis and muscle atrophy from disuse, possibly allowing doctors to place injured, disabled people in a type of suspended or reduced animation until they are healed"

New report: The United States of Diabetes: Challenges and Opportunities in the Decade Ahead

New report: The United States of Diabetes: Challenges and Opportunities in the Decade Ahead"More than 50 percent of Americans could have diabetes or prediabetes by 2020 at a cost of $3.35 trillion over the next decade if current trends continue, according to new analysis by UnitedHealth Group's Center for Health Reform & Modernization, but there are also practical solutions for slowing the trend. New estimates show diabetes and prediabetes will account for an estimated 10 percent of total health care spending by the end of the decade at an annual cost of almost $500 billion - up from an estimated $194 billion this year. The report, The United States of Diabetes: Challenges and Opportunities in the Decade Ahead, produced for November's National Diabetes Awareness month, offers practical solutions that could improve health and life expectancy, while also saving up to $250 billion over the next 10 years, if programs to prevent and control diabetes are adopted broadly and scaled nationally. This figure includes $144 billion in potential savings to the federal government in Medicare, Medicaid and other public programs. Key solution steps include lifestyle interventions to combat obesity and prevent prediabetes from becoming diabetes and medication control programs and lifestyle intervention strategies to help improve diabetes control"

Thursday, February 17, 2011

One U.S. patient in four takes statins

Far more patients are taking statin drugs today to aid cardiovascular health than they were 20 years ago, according to a new CDC report. Among Americans 45 and older, 25% were taking the lipid-lowering therapy in the period from 2005 to 2008, up from just 2% in 1988-1994, according to the National Center for Healthcare Statistics' report on health in the U.S. in 2010. Several cardiologists contacted by MedPage Today and ABC News remarked they were unaware that such a high proportion of patients take statins, but noted the findings go hand-in-hand with recent statistics on heart disease. "These results ... may explain some of the recent remarkable declines in hospitalizations for heart attacks and heart failure," Harlan Krumholz, MD, of Yale University, said. Still, researchers are hesitant to attribute all good outcomes in heart disease to statin drugs alone. "The decline in death rates comes from improved risk factor control, especially blood pressure reductions, smoking cessation and bans, improved lipids, and better care of heart attacks," James Stein, MD, of the University of Wisconsin, said.

Video: a 'shocking' treatment for cardiac patients (USA)

"Sudden cardiac death is the most common way heart patients die. The great majority of the deaths occur from fatal heart rhythms. There's a new preventive treatment, and men seem to out number women getting the treatment. The treatment implants under the skin a small gadget that can shock the heart back to a normal rhythm, a defibrillator. A defibrillator can be a painful jolt if you're awake, but that alone doesn't explain the sex difference in patients getting the device..."

High blood pressure patients 'benefit' from therapy (UK)

High blood pressure patients 'benefit' from therapy (UK)"Patients with high blood pressure would benefit from a series of personal advice sessions on their medication, say UK researchers. Writing in the Journal of Human Hypertension, they said many of the 10 million people with the condition in the UK fail to take their medication. The study showed a 14% reduction in blood pressure when people took part in "adherence therapy". The British Heart Foundation said the findings should not be ignored. High blood pressure, known as hypertension, is one of the leading causes of heart disease and stroke. It can be treated with medication, but the authors claim that half of patients do not take their medication correctly" - BBC

Study: People with dwarfism in remote Ecuador may hold clues to fighting diabetes, cancer

Study: People with dwarfism in remote Ecuador may hold clues to fighting diabetes, cancer"In remote villages of Ecuador, scientists have found a population that may hold clues to fighting diabetes and cancer - people with a type of dwarfism who almost never get those diseases. It turns out that a gene mutation that stunts their growth also may block cell changes that lead to these diseases of aging. Researchers tracked the health of 99 Ecuadoreans with what's called Laron syndrome. Most stand shorter than 4 feet because the gene mutation prevents their bodies from properly using growth hormone. That alters the activity of other hormones, including insulin-like growth factor or IGF-1 - a substance that laboratory studies suggest might be manipulated to lengthen lifespan. So scientists were interested in seeing how people with Laron syndrome fare. Over 22 years, this population experienced no diabetes and only one non-lethal case of cancer, Ecuadorean endocrinologist Jaime Guevara-Aguirre and University of Southern California cell biologist Valter Longo reported. Their research appears in Wednesday's issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine" - AP

CARG Volunteer of the year award - 14 February, 2011

CARG Volunteer of the year award

Pictured left to right: Vic Zapf; Ruth Redden; Helen Wallace; Cathy Matlock

The award was given to two people this year, and presented at the annual pancake breakfast on February 14, 2011. This is the tenth year that this award has been given in recognition for volunteers who have been involved in the CARG program.

Presenter Cathy Matlock said "I consider it a privilege to be asked to be on a panel to choose and recognize a special volunteer, a person who has given so much time to this organization since 1995. Serving on the Executive, her organizational skills were very professional. She planned many social events over the years when on the Executive. She is one of the first members of CARG through the Field House doors each morning, eager to get on with her day. She takes our money early in the morning on collection days. She sets up our exercise equipment on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from October to April. She is never too busy to listen to our troubles and stories about what has happened to us in the last 24 hours and is genuinely concerned. When volunteer lists go up on the bulletin board, her name is usually the first to be written in. She was a dedicated and loving care giver to her life partner and is a very dear friend to many of us. May I present to you our choice for the Volunteer Award for 2011: Helen Wallace"

Presenter Vic Zapf said "It is indeed a pleasure to have been asked to introduce the Recipient for the CARG Volunteer of The Year Award for 2011. Our nominee has been a participant in the exercise program for 8 years, and Treasurer of CARG for 4 years, and has also been a visitor to heart patients at RUH. This person was also involved with the Saskatchewan Heart and Stroke as a member of the Canadian Heart Health Strategies and Action Plan. This report was published in 2009. This person was a member of the national steering committee for Heart & Stroke. The above mentioned acts of volunteerism were not enough, this person also is ready to offer their services in any capacity whether it be with CARG, Her Church, or the community
at large. It gives me great pleasure to present this plaque to Ms. Ruth Redden. On behalf of all the members of CARG I congratulate you and thank you for your volunteer efforts"

The CARG Executive and all members also thank Helen and Ruth for their contribution to our organization

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Diet soda may raise odds of vascular events; salt linked to stroke risk

Diet soda may raise odds of vascular events; salt linked to stroke risk"Even if you drink diet soda - instead of the sugar variety - you could still have a much higher risk of vascular events compared to those who don't drink soda, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2011. In findings involving 2,564 people in the large, multi-ethnic Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS), scientists said people who drank diet soda every day had a 61 percent higher risk of vascular events than those who reported no soda drinking. "If our results are confirmed with future studies, then it would suggest that diet soda may not be the optimal substitute for sugar-sweetened beverages for protection against vascular outcomes," said Hannah Gardener, Sc.D., lead author and epidemiologist at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Miami, Fla. In separate research using 2,657 participants also in the Manhattan study, scientists found that high salt intake, independent of the hypertension it causes, was linked to a dramatically increased risk of ischemic strokes (when a blood vessel blockage cuts off blood flow to the brain). In the study, people who consumed more than 4,000 milligrams (mg) per day of sodium had more than double the risk of stroke compared to those consuming less than 1,500 mg per day"

New guidelines OK Pradaxa blood thinner as option for irregular heartbeat (USA)

For patients with the heart rhythm disorder atrial fibrillation, a new anti-clotting drug called Pradaxa (dabigatran) can be used as an alternative to warfarin, according to updated guidelines. About 2 million Americans have atrial fibrillation, in which the heart's two upper chambers beat erratically, causing uneven and inefficient pumping of blood. As a result, blood can pool and clot in the chambers, raising the risk of stroke or heart attack. Since the 1950s, such patients have been prescribed warfarin, but the drug requires regular testing and dosage adjustments. The updated guidelines, issued by the American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association and the Heart Rhythm Society, say that Pradaxa can be used to prevent blood clots and stroke in patients with either recurrent episodes of atrial fibrillation that stop after seven days (called "paroxysmal") or ongoing ("permanent") atrial fibrillation, and with risk factors for blood clotting and stroke, provided that they don't have a prosthetic heart valve, significant heart valve disease, severe kidney failure or advanced liver disease. The updated guidelines are published in the journals Circulation, HeartRhythm and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Last December, the groups released an updated guideline that said a combination of aspirin and the drug Plavix (clopidogrel) could be used to prevent blood clots and stroke in atrial fibrillation patients who are poor candidates for warfarin - HealthDay

Doctors warn that fat can kill even if person is healthy (Scotland)

A study has found that obese people who are healthy are still twice as likely to suffer a fatal heart attack. A research team from Glasgow University discovered that a person's weight and levels of fat can directly increase the risk of a fatal heart attack by as much as 75 percent, even if the person is otherwise healthy. It is a known fact that obese people are more likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol, all contributory factors to heart conditions. "The message coming from this is that obesity itself is not a benign condition," the Scotsman quoted Dr Jennifer Logue, who led the research, as saying. The research team tracked the health of more than 6,000 middle-aged men with high cholesterol, but no history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease, for around 15 years. After excluding men who had cardiovascular problems or died within two years of the start of monitoring, the team recorded 214 deaths and 1,027 non-fatal heart attacks or strokes occurred during the whole study period. The risk of a heart attack was then compared across categories of increasing body mass index (BMI), using two different approaches. One simply corrected for any differences in the age or smoking status of the men, while the second corrected for cardiovascular risk factors such as high cholesterol and blood pressure, deprivation and any medications the men were taking. The results showed that the higher a man's weight, the higher was his likelihood of having other risk factors for cardiovascular disease

Reminders boost use of cardiac rehab (Canada)

Combining automated reminders with one-on-one conversations with a healthcare provider may be the best way to get heart patients to take advantage of cardiac rehabilitation, Canadian researchers found. A prospective study of more than 2,600 inpatients with acute coronary syndromes found that this dual approach led to the highest rates of referral to and enrollment in cardiac rehab (85.3% and 74%, respectively) than either strategy alone - and were better than a referral at the discretion of a physician, according to Sherry Grace, PhD, of York University in Toronto, and colleagues. Once patients were referred, however, the percentage of rehab sessions attended did not differ based on the referral approach. Overall, the average participation rate was 82.9%, Grace and co-authors reported in the February 14 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. "Wider adoption of such strategies could ensure that 45% more patients being treated for cardiac disease would have access to and realize the benefits of cardiac rehabilitation," they wrote

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Canadians can take heart: new pump reduces stroke risk

Canadians can take heart: new pump reduces stroke riskCanadians with heart troubles may now have a better option to help their hearts. A new device, the C-pulse cuff, is similar to previous pumps which are inserted into the aorta and manually pump the blood. While these older devices have always reduced the strain on the heart, they have also increased the risk of clotting and stroke. The new C-pulse cuff, on the other hand, is attached outside the aorta, assisting the body's natural pumping process, thereby reducing strain but still limiting the risk of stroke significantly. The first Canadian to receive the C-pulse cuff was Lauza Legere, who received the device in December as part of the clinical trials at McGill University Health Centre in Montreal. Legere's response has been overwhelmingly positive, and she says that her symptoms of strain and fatigue have been greatly reduced since the surgery. The surgery was performed by Dr. Renzo Cecere, who hopes the C-pulse cuff will become a viable alternative for individuals suffering from heart problems. Similar operations have been performed around the world, with twenty patients worldwide having the device implanted. Cecere hopes to continue the trials, implanting the cuff on at least twelve more patients in the coming year.

'Healthy' patients at high risk of cardiac death identified (USA)

The way the heart responds to an early beat is predictive of cardiac death, especially for people with no conventional markers of cardiovascular disease, according to new research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The conventional risk factors, such as high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure, account for many but not all deaths from cardiovascular causes. As a result, doctors are always searching for better ways to identify patients at risk of cardiac death. The new research indicates that an abnormal response to an early beat in the left ventricle, the heart's main pumping chamber, can identify high-risk patients even when they have no other evidence of cardiovascular disease. "These are people we do not expect to die of cardiac causes," says Phyllis K. Stein, PhD, research associate professor of medicine and director of the Heart Rate Variability Laboratory at the School of Medicine. "They appear healthy, but they're not. We have shown a way they're not healthy that isn't showing up using standard tests." The work appears February 15 in the Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology.

Heart patients should be referred to Cardiac Rehabilitation before leaving hospital

"Healthcare practitioners can increase the number of patients referred to a cardiac rehabilitation program by 45 per cent, helping them to reduce their risk of dying and improve their quality of life, say researchers at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. Previous studies, including one by Taylor in 2004, indicate that participating in cardiac rehab after a cardiac illness, such as a heart attack, can reduce the risk of death by approximately 25 per cent, a reduction similar to that of other standard therapies such as cholesterol-lowering medications (statins) and aspirin. In spite of this evidence, only 20 to 30 per cent of patients are referred to a cardiac rehabilitation program after hospital discharge, a phenomenon observed in many countries. Researchers at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre explored multiple strategies to increase referrals to cardiac rehabilitation programs at 11 hospitals across Ontario, including using a discharge checklist for doctors, electronic referral in medical records and talking with patients at the bedside. According to the study, "Effect of Cardiac Rehabilitation Referral Strategies on Utilization Rates," published in the February 14 edition of the Journal Archives of Internal Medicine, a combined approach – a checklist or electronic referral and talking with patients – can increase referrals by 45 per cent. By targeting both healthcare providers and patients, over 70 per cent of patients enroll in cardiac rehab."

Obituary: Dr. John Edward Merriman

Obituary: Dr. John Edward MerrimanDr. John Edward Merriman born August 12, 1924, in Hamilton, Canada to Horace and Helen Merriman. John passed away peacefully, with family by his side, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on February 7, 2011. He will be missed by his beloved wife Emily Hope Merriman (nee Sully) and children Jeffrey (Jo Ann), Waterloo, Ontario; Helen Baker (Hugh), Toronto, Ontario; Peter (Patti), Ottawa, Ontario; and Heather Dandridge (Chuck), Broken Arrow, Oklahoma; twelve grandchildren, Robert, Jennifer, Suzanne, Michael, Katherine, Jeffrey, Patrick, Scott, Brett, Jaclyn, Sarah, Eric; sixteen great-grandchildren; and a sister Catharine Helen Prinsep. He was predeceased by his parents and a brother Ramsay Owen Merriman. John led an amazing life. He was devoted to God, his family and his work as a physician. Ever seeking the Lord, he and Hope found their final church "home" at St. Antony's Orthodox Christian church in Tulsa. John was granted his MD from Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada in 1947. In 1954, he took his young family west to Saskatoon, to the University of Saskatchewan where he was a professor of medicine. Always an innovator, he took a sabbatical leave in 1963 to London, England to research computer applications in medicine. He helped pave the way for modern cardiac rehabilitation techniques, when he established the first cardiac rehabilitation program in North America at the U of S in 1968. In 1977 John, Hope and Heather moved to Tulsa where he established a medical practice where he worked until his retirement in 2010, at the age of 85. John was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the American Academy of Orthopedic Medicine in 2005. Trisagion prayers and visitation will be held at 7:00 pm Thursday February 10 and Funeral service at 10:30 am Friday, February 11, both at St. Antony's Orthodox Christian Church. Family suggests contributions to the Medical Mission Fund at St. Antony's Orthodox Christian Church, 2645 E. 6th St, Tulsa, Ok. 74104. Services Entrusted to Stanleys Funeral Service (743-6271). This obituary was published in the Tulsa World on 2/9/2011

'Pedal while we work' idea raised by scientists in US

Portable pedal machines could be used in every office to improve the health of workers, according to scientists in the US. The researchers, writing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, said sedentary lifestyles were a serious health problem. They argue that small exercise bikes could be a cheap solution. Charity Weight Concern said improving the health of workers would also benefit employers' bottom lines. Hours spent sitting a desk staring into a computer screen is not an alien experience for many office workers. Physical inactivity has been linked to obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Previous attempts at increasing the health of workers have involved hooking a treadmill up to an office computer. Now researchers at East Carolina University are investigating mini exercise bikes, which can be used while sitting at a desk

Monday, February 14, 2011

Heart pump 'mends' Airdrie woman's heart (Scotland)

A 27-year-old woman whose heart stopped beating on the operating table has been saved by a Nasa-inspired heart pump. Mother-of-three Heather McIntyre, from Airdrie, suffered heart failure last July, five months after giving birth. A surgeon at Scotland's Golden Jubilee National Hospital kept her alive by massaging her heart and inserting a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD). It uses tiny motors designed by NASA scientists to pump blood around the body, taking over the heart's function. While Ms McIntyre was on the operating table, her family were told she had died "a couple of times" because her heart had stopped beating. However, cardiothoracic surgeon Saleem Haj-Yahia refused to give up on her...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Diabetes increases kidney disease risk

Too many people who have diabetes don't know about their increased risk of kidney disease, a British researcher says. Researchers led by Gurch Randhawa of the University of Bedfordshire in England conducted a multicultural study - including 23 white and 25 South Asian patients with diabetes. The residents of England were between the ages of 34 and 79 years and had all been referred to a kidney specialist. The study, published in the Journal of Renal Care, said most diabetes patients are completely unaware of how diabetes can affect their kidneys until sent to a specialist. "The people we spoke to experienced feelings of surprise, fear and regret when they found out their kidney had been affected," Randhawa says in a statement. "Some patients saw their kidney referral as a 'wake-up call' that they needed to manage their diabetes more seriously, while others were concerned about their lack of knowledge about the disease. What was clear was that many of the patients we spoke to were much more aware of how diabetes could affect their eyes and feet than their kidneys."

Memory may signal stroke risk

Memory problems and other cognitive declines may signal increased stroke risk, a U.S. researcher says. Abraham Letter of the University of Alabama at Birmingham says those who scored in the bottom 20 percent on the memory test were 3.5 times more likely to have a stroke than those scoring in the top 20 percent. Letter and colleagues also found at age 50, those who scored in the bottom 20 percent of the memory test were 9.4 times more likely to later have a stroke than those in the top 20 percent, but the difference was not as large at older ages. "This study shows we might get a better idea of who is at high risk of stroke by including a couple simple tests when we are evaluating people who already have some stroke risk," Letter says in a statement. Letter and colleagues tested people - average age of 67 - who had never had a stroke and then tracked them by phone up to 4.5 years. A total of 17,851 people took a word recall memory test. The findings are scheduled to be presented in Honolulu at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in April

A dose of the cold could help weight loss and reduce heart disease

A dose of the cold could help weight loss and reduce heart disease"Scientists have found that exposure to the cold can cause a little known type of fat tissue, called brown adipose tissue, to clear harmful fat molecules from the blood stream. Cold causes the brown fat to burn off these high-calorie molecules, turning them into heat to keep the body warm. Excessive levels of these high-calorie fat molecules, or triglyceride-rich lipoproteins as they are known, from food can cause the arteries to harden and lead to cardiovascular disease. They also cause the build up of unhealthy white fat deposits around the body, which leads to obesity. Researchers at the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf, who conducted the research, found that keeping mice at temperatures of around 39.2F (4C) increased the ability of the animal's brown fat to burn off these molecules and reduced levels of body fat"

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hula hoop workouts burn calories

Hula hoop workouts burn calories"Working out with a hula hoop burns about as many calories per minute as step aerobics, boot camp, or very brisk walking, a new study shows. For the study, researchers recruited 16 women between the ages of 16 and 59 and had them learn a 30-minute aerobics routine that uses weighted hula hoops twirled around the waist, arms, and legs. After two practice sessions to get familiar with the moves, volunteers wore portable oxygen analyzers and heart rate monitors to record their exertion. The study participants' average heart rate was a brisk 151 beats per minute, about 84% of their age-predicted maximum heart rates. Their average oxygen consumption was about 20 milliliters per kilogram per minute, resulting in about 7 calories burned for each minute of hooping, or about 210 calories burned in a half-hour class. "We were very surprised, actually," says study researcher John Porcari, PhD, an exercise physiologist at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. "You think of hula hooping as just a recreational thing that kids do. 150 is a pretty high heart rate." The study was sponsored by the American Council on Exercise"

Friday, February 11, 2011

Video: How to build a beating heart

The National Geographic Channel is currently featuring the latest in organ generation technology in its Explorers series. Here's a snippet from the full show:

Long-distance heartbeats: digital stethoscopes connect cardiac cases (Canada)

Heart patients in several Alberta communities can now be examined by cardiac specialists using digital stethoscopes. The technology allows doctors at the Mazankowski Heart Institute in Edmonton to hear heart and lung sounds on the Internet while they talk to patients via a video link. Dr. Lucille Lalonde, one of the institute's cardiologists, says hearing the heart and lungs can help determine if a patient needs immediate care. She says it's a quick way to connect with someone who may otherwise have to travel to Edmonton from hundreds of kilometres away. Digital stethoscopes are currently being used in Drayton Valley, Wetaskiwin, Edson and High Level. It's expect Fort McMurray will come online soon" - Winnipeg Free Press

Warwick scientists say lack of sleep 'bad for health' (UK)

"The risk of developing heart disease can increase by as much as 48% if a person does not get enough sleep, University of Warwick scientists say. A long period of sleep shortage increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes, according to scientists. They found most people need between six and eight hours of sleep a night to protect their health. Professor Cappuccio and co-author Dr Michelle Miller, from the University of Warwick, conducted the research. They said they followed up evidence from periods of seven to 25 years from more than 470,000 participants from eight countries including Japan, the USA, Sweden and the UK"

Spice drug fights stroke damage

Spice drug fights stroke damage"A drug derived from the curry spice turmeric may be able to help the body repair some of the damage caused in the immediate aftermath of a stroke. Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles are preparing to embark on human trials after promising results in rabbits. Their drug reached brain cells and reduced muscle and movement problems. The Stroke Association said it was the "first significant research" suggesting that the compound could aid stroke patients. Turmeric has been used for centuries as part of traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine, and many laboratory studies suggest one of its components, curcumin, might have various beneficial properties. However, curcumin cannot pass the "blood brain barrier" which protects the brain from potentially toxic molecule"

Study ties diet soda to stroke risk, but reasons unclear (USA)

"It's far from definitive proof, but new research raises concern about diet soda, finding higher risks for stroke and heart attack among people who drink it everyday versus those who drink no soda at all. The beverage findings should be "a wakeup call to pay attention to diet sodas," said Dr. Steven Greenberg. He is a Harvard Medical School neurologist and vice chairman of the International Stroke Conference in California, where the research was presented on Wednesday. A simple solution, health experts say, is to drink water instead"

Job strain and heart disease risk in women

"Harvard researchers have uncovered strong links between women's job stress and cardiovascular disease. Findings from the Women's Health Study (WHS) - a landmark inquiry into disease prevention involving more than 17,000 female health professionals - show that women whose work is highly stressful have a 40% increased risk of heart disease (including heart attacks and the need for coronary artery surgery), compared with their less stressed colleagues. The results, which were presented at an American Heart Association meeting in 2010, also showed that women who worry about losing their jobs are more likely to have high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels and to be obese. These findings are especially distressing in the current economic climate. The researchers used a definition of "job strain" that combines psychological demand and degree of control. Demand refers to the amount, pace, and difficulty of the work. Control means the ability to make work-related decisions or be creative at work"

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Maternal stroke history tied to women’s heart attack risk

If you're a woman and your mother had a stroke, you may have a risk of heart attack in addition to a higher risk of stroke, according to new research on family history and heart disease published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics. In a study of more than 2,200 patients, female heart patients were more likely to have mothers who had suffered a stroke than fathers who did

Obesity affects one in 10 adults around the world

Obesity affects one in 10 adults around the world"One in 10 of the world's adults is obese, according to a joint UK-US study published in The Lancet. Imperial College London and Harvard researchers studied body mass index (BMI), cholesterol and high blood pressure data from 1980 to 2008. High blood pressure and cholesterol fell in many developed countries while obesity generally rose worldwide. Men in the UK have the sixth highest BMI in Europe while UK women have the ninth highest BMI in Europe. Obesity, cholesterol and high blood pressure are all risk factors for heart disease. In 2008, 9.8% of men and 13.8% of women in the world were obese - they had a BMI above 30kg/m2. This is compared with 4.8% for men and 7.9% for women in 1980"

Diabetes and virus link confirmed (Australia)

Diabetes and virus link confirmed (Australia)"Children with Type 1 diabetes are nearly 10 times as likely to also have a viral infection than healthy children, Australian research suggests. Childhood diabetes has been linked to enteroviruses, which can lead to cold, flu and even meningitis. However the review of 26 existing studies by a group in Australia, published in the BMJ, does not prove that the virus causes diabetes. Diabetes UK said more research was needed to pinpoint the cause of Type 1. The illness typically appears in childhood, when the pancreas stops producing the hormone insulin and the body cannot control the level of sugar in the blood"

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Fat patients 'prompts ambulance fleet revamp' (UK)

Nigel Wells from West Midlands Ambulance Service compares a standard and bariatric ambulance. Some patients are getting so fat that ambulance bosses are having to revamp their fleets to cope, the BBC has learned. Every service in the UK has started buying specialist equipment, data from freedom of information requests show. This includes wider stretchers, more lifting gear and reinforcing existing vehicles. Many have also bought specialist "bariatric" ambulances - costing up to £90,000 each - to ferry the most obese. These are designed so that double-width trolley stretchers for patients up to 50 stone (318kg) can be accommodated. They also tend to include hoists and inflatable lifting cushions

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Video: Preparing for Cardiovascular Surgery - Royal University Hospital, Saskatoon, Canada

Preparing for Cardiovascular Surgery is a 23 minute video produced by Royal University Hospital, Saskatoon, Canada, in 2004. Your host, Deborah Lendzyk-Sorestad, R.N., BSN, introduces the video: "It has been determined that you will require cardiovascular surgery. In this program we will introduce you to many members of the team that will be involved in your surgery. We hope that this will help prepare you for the days ahead, and help alleviate some of the anxiety that is normal for you and your family to feel at this time"

Moderate exercise such as walking 'boosts memory power' (UK)

Moderate exercise such as walking 'boosts memory power' (UK)"Walking for 40 minutes a few times a week is enough to preserve memory and keep ageing brains on top form, research shows. Moderate exercise increased the size of the hippocampus, an area of the brain that makes memories, in 120 volunteers. The year-long trial, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed performance on memory tests also improved. Exercise may buffer against dementia as well as age-related memory loss. The latest work looked at healthy people in their 60s rather than people with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia. But the findings have important implications for ageing societies faced with a dementia time bomb. In the UK, 820,000 people have dementia, and this figure is set to double by 2030. Until a cure is discovered, finding cheap and simple ways to reverse this trend is imperative, say experts"

USDA and HHS announce new dietary guidelines to help Americans make healthier food choices and confront obesity epidemic

"Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius have announced the release of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the federal government's evidence-based nutritional guidance to promote health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity through improved nutrition and physical activity. Because more than one-third of children and more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, the 7th edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans places stronger emphasis on reducing calorie consumption and increasing physical activity"

Canadians in denial about cardiac health, study finds

A national poll by the Heart and Stroke Foundation has found too many Canadians are in denial about their own risk factors. The poll indicates about 90% of Canadians know what they need to do to live healthier lives, and the same percentage of Canadians also believe that they are healthy. But that contradicts the fact that 90% of Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease, the organization said in its annual Report on Canadians' Health. "Canadians know what to do to live healthier, longer lives. But there's a huge disconnect between what we think we are doing to address our risk factors and reality," said Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson Dr. Beth Abramson in a media release. "The fact is that we're not managing some of the most common and deadly cardiovascular risk factors as well as we think we are. We Canadians are living with a false sense of security that could be fatal."

Mending Broken Hearts - an appeal to find a cure for heart failure - British Heart Foundation

The British Heart Foundation writes: "The good news is that fewer people are dying from heart attacks. The bad news is that hundreds of thousands of people are living with badly damaged hearts and heart failure. Heart failure cuts short thousands of lives every year, but now scientists have the first real hope that these lives could be saved. We now need to spend £50 million to fund the groundbreaking research that could begin to literally 'mend broken hearts' in as little as ten years"

Mending Broken Hearts Appeal - British Heart Foundation from British Heart Foundation on Vimeo.