Sunday, August 31, 2008

Struggling cardiac rehab program gets $90K boost

A Windsor cardiac rehabilitation program has been given another reprieve thanks to a $90,000 grant from the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network. The Windsor Essex Cardiac Rehab program, which helps people who have suffered a heart attack or stroke, or are at risk, has been struggling to stay afloat due to lack of funding, despite the program's proven success in the community. The program was nearly forced to shut its doors in January, but a last-minute fundraiser and donations from corporate donors prevented that.

Gene test that can help prevent heart disease

"A genetic test has been developed which can help take action to prevent heart disease, say experts. Three Australian experts had called for more support to screen families with familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH), which involves a defective gene that prevents liver cells from taking up cholesterol from the blood. The call follows reports that UK authorities may soon recommend at-risk children under the age of 10 years be screened for the FH gene"

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The two-week dark chocolate diet that reduces risk of heart disease

From The Daily Mail, UK - "Eating dark chocolate daily for two weeks may lessen the risk of heart disease. Eating a couple of chunks daily for a fortnight is enough to ward off high blood pressure and reduce the risk of diabetes, both major risk factors for heart attacks and strokes. Although the healthy benefits of dark chocolate have been highlighted before, this is believed to be one of the first studies to show it can have such a rapid effect in preventing illness. The research raises the possibility that chocolate could help some patients boost their health without the need for prescription drugs. Italian and US researchers who carried out the study deliberately chose a small group of patients who already had problems with blood pressure and the early stages of diabetes"

Midland, Ontario, man first Canadian to receive wireless heart monitor

Walking around Zellers may not seem like an extraordinary venture, but for George Woods, being able to circle the store with only his cane is cause for celebration. After nearly 15 years of poor health due to heart problems, the 73-year-old Midland resident says he's feeling better than ever after being the first person in Canada to receive a cardiac device that remotely monitors and checks heart patients. George underwent the one-hour operation to surgically implant the new Vision 3D™ wireless at Newmarket's Southlake Regional Health Centre -

Your stroke risk increases if your partner smokes

According to a study from the Journal of Preventive Medicine, being married to someone who is a smoker can increase your risk of stroke by 42%. The good news is that if your partner quits smoking, the risk of stroke decreases for both of you. The researchers used a national sample of more than 16,000 Americans, aged 50 and older, and their spouses. They assessed the smoking status of both partners at the beginning the study as well as nine years later, when they also checked how many participants had strokes during that time. Compared to being married to someone who never smoked, those married to a current smoker had a 42% increased risk of stroke. For former smokers, being married to a current smoker was associated with a 72% increased risk. Being married to a former smoker or a non-smoker did not increase risk of stroke. Heart and Stroke Foundation

Gaps remain for 'Cinderella services', says heart charity

In response to a study published in the British Medical Journal regarding the quality of care for adults over 50 in England, Ruairi O'Connor, Deputy Head of Policy and Public Affairs at the British Heart Foundation said: "Despite significant government progress in tackling long term conditions like heart disease, there remain unacceptable gaps in the treatment people receive. This report is further proof that health care services like cardiac rehabilitation need money and prioritisation if the Government is to give patients the level of care they've set in their own guidelines. Cardiac rehabilitation is a lifesaving, low-cost treatment that can help people who have had a heart attack or other heart problem to get back on their feet. However, it remains a Cinderella service, failing to get the prioritisation it deserves." - BHF

Naps good for the heart

"If you enjoy naps, here's another reason to take them. A large study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Athens Medical School in Greece suggests that taking naps is actually good for your heart. Siestas (defined by the researchers as midday naps longer than 30 minutes, more than three times a week) are common in Mediterranean and Latin American countries – where rates of heart disease are also lower" - Bell Canada

Olive leaf extract can help tackle high blood pressure and cholesterol

"Taking 1000mg of a specific olive leaf extract, EFLA®943, can lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure in patients with mild hypertension (high blood pressure). These findings came from a 'Twins' trial, in which different treatments were given to identical twins. By doing this, researchers could increase the power of their data by eliminating some of the uncertainties caused by genetic variations between individual people. The research is published in the latest edition of Phytotherapy Research"

Friday, August 29, 2008

Keep taking statins after heart attack: study

"People who are tempted to quit taking their statin medication because it failed to prevent a heart attack should think twice, Canadian researchers said. They said heart attack survivors who stopped taking the cholesterol-lowering drugs were more likely to die during the following year than those who had never been on the drugs. The findings, published in the European Heart Journal, underscore the effectiveness of the drugs, which not only reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein or LDL, the so-called bad cholesterol, but may also reduce inflammation" - Reuters

New beta-blocker to offer hope to heart and lung sufferers

The University of Nottingham (UK) has been awarded GBP2.8 million by the Wellcome Trust to develop a new drug that could ease the suffering of hundreds of thousands of heart disease patients who are unable to take beta-blockers. Source: Science Daily

UK 'fat map' shows obesity hotspots

A new "fat map" of the UK shows high levels of obesity in the Midlands, Wales, North East and parts of the South East. The map, created by Dr Foster Research, suggests the problem may be getting worse when compared with a similar map published two years ago. Although different methodology was used, researchers said the 2008 map is now revealing pockets of obesity in previously unexpected areas. The data, from GP practices across the UK, shows that more than one in 10 patients registered with GPs in some parts of the country is obese.

Video: Cardiac Catheterization

This video is from the Medical University of South Carolina:

Anti-smoking vaccine on trial (Reuters)

Women awake during heart surgery a first

Two women, aged 79 and 91, were the first people in New Zealand to undergo a new type of heart operation which uses local, not general, anaesthetic, at Waikato Hospital