Sunday, May 29, 2011

Raising good cholesterol has little impact: Study

Raising the blood levels of good cholesterol does nothing to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in patients already taking statins to lower their bad cholesterol, a federally-funded study has determined. Scientists at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), which led the study of some 3,400 Canadians and Americans, said Thursday they had prematurely terminated the trials after the results became clear. During the 32-month study, half the patients took extra doses of niacin, also known as vitamin B3, to raise their levels of good cholesterol, as well as a statin to lower their levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides. The other half took a placebo instead of the niacin, while continuing with the statin treatment

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

IUPUI study first to look at early treatment of depression to reduce heart disease risk

IUPUI study first to look at early treatment of depression to reduce heart disease risk Jesse Stewart, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology in the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and an Indiana University Center for Aging Research affiliated scientist, has received a $110,000 grant from the American Heart Association to explore whether treatment of depression before one experiences a heart attack can reduce the likelihood of future heart disease. The research study, Beating the Blues for Your Heart, which commences this spring, will be the first to evaluate whether pre-heart attack treatment of depression can reduce dysfunction in the arteries, thus lowering risk of heart disease in the future. Like high blood pressure or high cholesterol, depression is a risk factor for heart disease, the leading cause of death of American adults - EurekAlert

Heart scientists discover protein that may be 1 cause of heart failure

Researchers at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre discovered a protein switch which can trigger a cascade of events leading to heart failure, pointing to a new direction for drug development. "Our research suggests that PINK1 is an important switch that sets off a cascade of events affecting heart cell metabolism," says Dr. Phyllis Billia, principal author, clinician‑scientist and heart failure specialist at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. "This could be one of the inciting events in the development of heart failure." The findings, published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that the absence of a certain protein, PINK1, causes heart cells to produce less energy. This lack of energy causes some heart cells to die, forcing the remaining cells to work harder to keep the heart going. In response to this stress, the heart muscle cells thicken, a condition known as hypertrophy. Heart failure is the most common cause of hospitalization in North American adults, and over 50,000 are treated for advanced heart failure annually. Transplantation is the only long-term treatment for end-stage heart failure patients and the long wait times for a matching donor organ make it necessary to find other alternatives - EurekAlert

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Beat - Volume 6, Issue 2, 2011 - (UOHI)

The Beat - The latest news and information about cardiovascular medicine, research and clinical practice at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute - Volume 6, Issue 2, 2011

New book explores stem cell therapies for heart disease (USA)

A new book edited by researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the Stony Brook University School of Medicine provides a comprehensive look at the science and application of cellular therapies aimed at the leading cause of death - heart disease. "Regenerating the Heart: Stem Cells and the Cardiovascular System" (Humana Press) is edited by Glenn Gaudette, associate professor of biomedical engineering at WPI, and Ira Cohen, professor of physiology and biophysics at Stony Brook. Recognized leaders in the field, Cohen and Gaudette have collaborated on cardiac regeneration research projects since 2002, when Gaudette was a faculty member at Stony Brook. Last year Humana Press asked the team to develop and edit the new book to serve as a foundational text for the emerging field. "We were fortunate to have leading investigators in this field, from around the word, contribute original material for this book," Gaudette said. "It's a book for clinicians, investigators, and graduate students who want to understand the history of the field, and to see where the science is today across all the major approaches of using stem cells to heal the beating heart."

Cardiac rehab can boost survival after angioplasty, study finds

Cardiac rehab can boost survival after angioplasty, study findsPatients who undergo angioplasty to unblock a clogged artery have better odds of survival if they participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program afterwards, researchers report. The findings, published May 16 in Circulation, are significant given the fact that more than 600,000 angioplasties are performed in the United States each year, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). In the 14-year analysis, researchers examined the outcomes for nearly 2,400 patients who underwent percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI), commonly known as angioplasties. The study found that 44 percent of the patients had participated in at least one session of a cardiac rehabilitation program, which typically includes patient education, customized exercise programs, nutrition counseling, assistance in quitting smoking, weight control therapy and medical evaluations to track patient progress. Overall, researchers discovered a 46 percent relative reduction in death from all causes in patients who participated in a rehab program following an angioplasty

Egyptian mummy 'first to have diseased heart'

Egyptian mummy 'first to have diseased heart'An Egyptian princess who lived 3,500 years ago is thought to be the first known person to have developed heart disease, say researchers. Doctors believe the princess would have needed a heart bypass if she were living now. Scans showed she had extensive blockages in arteries leading to her heart, brain, stomach and legs. The researchers say her case shows heart disease pre-dates a modern lifestyle. Cardiac researchers from the US teamed up with colleagues at Al Azhar University in Cairo to analyse the remains of 52 mummies, including those of the princess. They performed full-body scans on mummies at the National Museum of Antiquities in Cairo. They had found evidence of hardening of the arteries in almost half the mummies scanned, researchers told a medical conference in Amsterdam

Younger doctors more likely to prescribe heart drugs, says study (Italy)

Younger doctors more likely to prescribe heart drugs, says studyItalian researchers suggest that younger doctors are more likely to prescribe drugs for heart related conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes while older doctors are more likely to suggest their patients make lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and eating more healthily

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Obituary for CARG member Kenneth Fowler

Obituary for CARG Member Kenneth FowlerKenneth Fowler passed away unexpectedly on Monday, May 9, 2011. The Funeral Service will be held on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. from Park Funeral Chapel (311 Third Avenue North, Saskatoon) with interment to follow in Woodlawn Cemetery. To send online condolences to the family, visit . Arrangements entrusted to Kenneth J. Scheirich, 306.244.2103

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stroke? There's an app for that (Canada)

Canadian doctors in Alberta are using iPhones and new software to diagnose and prescribe treatment for stroke victims in rural areas, a radiologist said. The application was designed by Calgary Scientific Inc. and is called ResolutionMD Mobile, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported. The software transmits three-dimensional images of the patient's brain from CT scans to neurologists and radiologists who direct treatment in the critical minutes after a stroke, radiology Professor Ross Mitchell told the broadcaster

Monday, May 9, 2011

Heart medication best at bedtime, study reveals (Canada)

Heart medication best at bedtime, study reveals (Canada)When doctors give heart drugs to patients, the time of day can make a big difference, according to new research by University of Guelph scientists. Many doctors prefer to give heart drugs to patients in the morning. But the study revealed that angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors – commonly given to patients with high blood pressure or after a heart attack or during heart failure – improve heart structure and function when given at sleep time. In fact, when administered during wake time, ACE inhibitors are no more effective than a placebo, the study found. The research was conducted on mice with high blood pressure. Guelph professors Tami Martino, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Jeremy Simpson, Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences and Nazneen Tata conducted the study in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Sole at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre and the Heart and Stroke Richard Lewar Centre of Excellence in Toronto. The study will appear May 17 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology

Study will look for heart and lung disease links in patients (Wales)

Study will look for heart and lung disease links in patients (Wales)"A pioneering research study will investigate the link between chronic lung conditions and life-threatening heart disease. The first research study of its kind aims to recruit and follow 500 people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease from across Wales. The researchers hope to emulate the long-running Caerphilly study, which has followed about 3,000 men in South Wales for more than 30 years and increased the world's understanding about the lifestyle factors associated with heart disease. It is hoped the new research study - called Arcade - will establish whether there is a link between COPD and cardiovascular disease and it could lead to new, targeted therapies, which treat the lung disease and reduce the risk of heart problems"

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sex and coffee 'trigger stroke'

Sex and coffee 'trigger stroke'Coffee, sex and blowing your nose could increase the risk of a type of stroke, say researchers in the Netherlands. The study on 250 patients identified eight risk factors linked to bleeding on the brain. They all increase blood pressure which could result in blood vessels bursting, according to research published in the journal Stroke. The Stroke Association said more research was needed to see if the triggers caused the rupture. More than 150,000 people in the UK have a stroke each year with nearly 29,000 due to bleeding on the brain - BBC

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Teen's heartfelt plea to save cardiac unit (UK)

Teen's heartfelt plea to save cardiac unit (UK)A teenager who underwent three open heart operations in five days is adding his voice to a campaign to save a threatened children's cardiac unit. Matthew Cornick, 17, of Chickerell, has been treated as a heart patient at Southampton General Hospital since he was diagnosed with aortic stenosis as an 18 month old. Budmouth College student Matthew had surgery at the hospital at the age of five to replace his blocked aortic valve with a plastic valve. Ten years later as a 15-year-old, he underwent surgery to have his aortic valve replaced. As a result of complications with the surgery, he stayed at the hospital for a month. Despite missing a term at school in his GCSE year, Matthew went on to ace his exams and is now looking at university options while studying for his AS levels. He said: "I have made a good recovery and am now back playing golf and enjoying planning what university to go to. "I am so grateful to everyone that has been involved in my care at Southampton heart unit"

Coronary bypass rates drop (USA)

Coronary bypass rates drop (USA)Think of it as bypassing the bypass. U.S. heart patients have been less likely in the past decade to undergo surgery to install a substitute vessel around a clogged coronary artery, with many patients getting a less invasive alternative procedure. Coronary bypass operations decreased by 38 percent per capita in U.S. adults between 2001 and 2008, researchers report in the May 4 Journal of the American Medical Association. Meanwhile, angioplasty procedures - in which a doctor threads a catheter to the heart to open a blockage using a balloon - have stayed nearly constant, with the per capita rate dipping only 4 percent over that time. These catheters nearly always deliver a coated mesh cylinder called a stent, which props open the vessel from the inside. The study's authors calculated the rates by analyzing a national sample more than 5,000 coronary fixes.

Bristol-Myers recalls warfarin lots (USA)

Bristol-Myers Squibb has issued a voluntary recall of one lot of its 1,000-count bottles of Coumadin (warfarin) 5 mg tablets after the company found that one tablet had higher doses than expected. The New York City-based Bristol-Myers said the lot affected is 9H49374A and has an expiration date of September 30, 2012. The FDA said that an overabundance of the active ingredient could increase the risk of bleeding while a decrease of the active ingredient could increase the risk of clots that could increase MI or stroke. While the company said that patients on warfarin should not discontinue treatment, it recommended that patients check with their pharmacists to see if they were administered the infected lot. The FDA concluded that clinicians and patients should report any adverse events to the agency's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program

Scientists turn bad fat into 'good' calorie-burning fat

Scientists turn bad fat into 'good' calorie-burning fatScientists have found a way to turn bad fat into calorie burning good fat, and say the discovery could lead to new and better treatments for obesity. White or 'bad' fat typically collects around our waists as well as other parts of the body and stores the extra calories we consume. But brown 'good' fat, found in abundance in babies, acts like a power source, burning calories and generating heat. By the time we are adults, most brown fat has disappeared and been replaced by white fat. Scientists at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore initially tried to reduce body fat and weight gain in rats by suppressing the production of an appetite-stimulating protein called neuropeptide Y (NPY) in the part of the brain which helps to regulate hunger and thirst. The findings showed that rats treated this way gained less weight after five weeks, compared with untreated rats which became obese, showing that suppressing NPY led to less calories being consumed. However, when the scientists examined the rats with suppressed NPY, they discovered that some of their white fat had been replaced with brown fat. The scientists speculated that white fat tissue may contain some brown fat cells which become activated when NPY is suppressed. In the future, it may be possible to transplant or inject brown fat stem cells under the skin to burn white fat and stimulate weight loss, the researchers said. Dr Sheng Bi, at the university's school of medicine, who led the research said: "If we could get the human body to turn "bad fat" into "good fat" that burns calories instead of storing them, we could add a serious new tool to tackle the obesity epidemic." The findings are published in the journal Cell Metabolism

Waist fat 'increases heart risk'

Waist fat 'increases heart risk'People with coronary artery disease have an increased risk of death if they have fat around the waist, according to researchers in the US. The Mayo Clinic team, which analysed data from five studies involving 15,923 patients, found this even affected people with a normal Body Mass Index. In the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, they said people with waist fat should try to lose weight. The British Heart Foundation said those with heart disease should be vigilant. The researchers at the Mayo Clinic looked at the distance around the hips and waist to measure the fat around the belly, and BMI which is a measure comparing height and weight. There was a 75% increased risk of death for patients with high levels of fat around the waist compared with those with thin waists. Even patients with a normal weight, a BMI between 20 and 25, had this increased risk of death if they were carrying fat around the waist

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Americans eat 22 teaspoons of sugar a day

Americans eat 22 teaspoons of sugar a dayU.S. adults consume 22.2 teaspoons of sugar a day - or 355 calories - and reducing the amount of sugar can reduce weight, a U.S. food expert says. Phil Lempert, a food industry analyst, trend-watcher and creator of the Web site, says Americans eat more than double the daily recommended amount of sugar added to food. An appropriate amount for a woman with an energy requirement of 1,800 calories per day would be no more than 100 calories, or 6.25 teaspoons - from added sugar, while a man with a requirement of 2,200 calories per day should eat or drink no more than 150 calories from added sugar or 9.4 teaspoons, Lempert says. Added sugar is considered "discretionary calories," and diets high in added sugar are linked to obesity, high blood pressure, increased triglycerides and cardiovascular disease, the American Heart Association says. For those watching their weight or monitoring their glucose levels, trying to limit sugar consumption will be beneficial. In addition, Lempert suggests consuming as many fresh foods and minimally processed foods as possible with little or no added sugar, and if there is an added sugar try to find a product that does not list it first in the ingredients - UPI