Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bill Nighy: Why you should run the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon

Bill Nighy does not make an obvious cheerleader for the benefits of a long-distance run. When it comes to exercise, the 59-year-old Bafta-winning actor, with his scrawny frame and slightly dissoloute appearance, enjoys the occasional brisk stroll through London's royal parks. - Telegraph

Patient's own stem cells might treat heart attack

Treating a heart attack with the patients' own bone marrow stem cells boosts blood flow within the heart and may help reduce long-term complications, a new U.S. study finds. The study included 31 patients who underwent angioplasty and stent placement after a heart attack. Within one week of the attacks, 16 of the patients received infusions of their own bone marrow cells into the coronary artery in which a blockage had caused the event. - Business Week

CMAJ 31 March 2009, Volume 180, Issue 7 online

The Canadian Medical Association Journal - 31 March 2009, Volume 180, Issue 7, is now available online

Cardiac "jackhammer" destroys arterial plaque

"Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, Florida, is the first acute care center in the area to offer a new high-tech procedure that can take the place of bypass surgery for some patients. A vibrating catheter blasts its way through stoney plaque deposits the same way a jackhammer cuts through concrete, says Dr. Erick E. Calderon, of Lakewood Cardiovascular Consultants, one of the first doctors in Florida trained to use the new device. Developed by FlowCardia, Inc, the CROSSER Catheter system is revolutionizing treatment of Chronic Total Occlusions or blockages that have completely closed off circulation in arteries in the heart or legs" - Lakewood Ranch Herald

World Congress of Cardiology Scientific Sessions 2010

"The World Heart Federation is proud to announce the next World Congress of Cardiology Scientific Sessions in Beijing, China from 16-19 June 2010. The World Heart Federation is very grateful for the support of the Chinese Society of Cardiology and the Chinese Medical Association in hosting the WCC Scientific Sessions 2010. Another exciting development of the WCC Scientific Sessions 2010 is that the 3rd International Conference on Women, Heart Disease and Stroke will be incorporated within the scientific programme and this theme will be fully reflected throughout."

Polypill 'could become a reality'

"A cheap five-in-one pill can guard against heart attacks and stroke, research suggests. The concept of a polypill for everyone over 55 to cut heart disease by up to 80% was mooted over five years ago, but slow progress has been made since. Now a trial in India shows such a pill has the desired effects and is safe and well-tolerated by those who take it. Although The Lancet study is proof of concept, experts still question the ethics of a pill for lifestyle issues. Critics say the problems of high blood pressure and cholesterol should be tackled with diet and exercise rather than by popping a pill" - BBC

Surgery to reshape heart found ineffective

"A controversial operation that folds the scarred portion of a damaged heart in on itself to get it to beat more effectively offers no real benefit to most patients, researchers reported on Sunday. The operation, known as ventricular reconstruction, is designed to help people with heart failure, a condition that affects about 5 million in the United States alone and often occurs after tissue is damaged by a heart attack. Generally, the heart tries to compensate for the damage by getting larger, but it also pumps far less efficiently. Doctors in a trial called STICH compared what happened to 1,000 volunteers, who all got heart bypass operations. Half also got ventricular reconstruction. Ventricular reconstruction did nothing to reduce the death rate or the risk of going back to the hospital. Nor did it improve the quality of life after four years, the researchers told a meeting of the American College of Cardiology in Orlando." - Reuters

Monday, March 30, 2009

Late bedtimes linked to heart disease

"Burning the midnight oil may be hazardous to your health. Men who go to bed after midnight have significantly more arterial stiffening - an early stage of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries - than men who turn in earlier, a new study shows. Several large studies have linked chronic sleep loss to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other health problems, says Yu Misao, MD, of the Misao Health Clinic in Gifu, Japan. But whether bedtimes also have an influence on heart health has not been explored, he tells WebMD." - WebMD

Being poor is bad for the heart

"The longer a person remains in poverty, the more likely he or she is to develop heart disease, a new study suggests. Studies in developed countries have consistently shown that people with low incomes and less education generally have higher rates of heart disease than their more-educated, higher-income counterparts. In this latest study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers found that lifelong disadvantage may translate into an "accumulation of risk" for heart disease. They found that among more than 1 800 adults in a long-term heart-health study, greater lifetime exposure to poverty was related to increasing heart disease risks. Those who were disadvantaged as children and adults were 82% more likely to develop heart disease than those who were comparatively well off in childhood and adulthood" - Health 24

Viral infections carry lingering heart risks

"Exercise usually helps strengthen the heart but after a bout of flu or another viral infection, it can have deadly consequences. It's advisable to three or four days pass before resuming your workout routine. The condition, myocarditis, slows down the return to the gym. The heart muscle tissue can become infected "more often than you'd think," says Hans-Georg Predel, head of the Institute for Circulatory Research and Sports Medicine at the German Sports Academy in Cologne. And to exacerbate matters, myocarditis often goes unnoticed. "Studies have shown that many of those afflicted never even notice the problem." Regardless of the viral infection - whether it is flu, a cold, measles, chicken pox or hepatitis - there's always the risk the virus can effect the heart. Stress increases the risk that the muscle surrounding the heart can become infected." - eFluxMedia

Breakthrough against time bomb of high blood pressure (Australia)

"Melbourne, Australia, doctors have found a ground-breaking method to turn off the ticking time bomb of high blood pressure. Using a special catheter and radio waves to disable nerves in patients' kidneys, cardiac experts have dramatically reduced the blood pressure of those who live in constant fear of a stroke or heart attack. The team from the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Monash University and St Vincent's Hospital have already treated 50 Victorians in a trial" - Herald Sun

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Saskatoon Dragon Boat Festival 2009 for Heart and Stroke Foundation of Saskatchewan

Saskatoon Dragon Boat Festival 2009The grip on your paddle tightens; you can feel your heart pounding. Anticipation…the horn sounds and a flurry of activity starts, the splash of paddles hitting the water, the drummer yelling, crowds cheering from the shore. The drummer urges the team to paddle harder, faster! Your team crosses the finish line; it’s a mixture of satisfaction and exhaustion. But, the true winner in this race is the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Saskatchewan who benefits from your support and participation. The Saskatoon Dragon Boat Festival - presented by SaskPower is roaring back to town! It will take place over two days at the end of July with practices starting approximately two weeks prior. The festival will be filled with activities for the entire family including entertainment and food & beverage services. Each team participates in three 500-metre races. Team building is at the heart of a good dragon boat race as 22 people work together in synchronization, paddling towards a common goal. The 2009 festival is in support of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Saskatchewan through the Dragon Boat Pledge Program.

Triathlons pose more heart risks than marathon races, especially in swim portion, study finds

Warning to weekend warriors: Swim-bike-run triathlons pose at least twice the risk of sudden death as marathons do, the first study of these competitions has found. The risk is mostly from heart problems during the swimming part. And while that risk is low - about 15 out of a million participants - it's not inconsequential, the study's author says. Triathlons are soaring in popularity, especially as charity fundraisers. They are drawing many people who are not used to such demanding exercise. Each year, about 1,000 of these events are held and several hundred thousand Americans try one. "It's something someone just signs up to do," often without a medical checkup to rule out heart problems, said Dr. Kevin Harris, a cardiologist at the Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital. "They might prepare for a triathlon by swimming laps in their pool. That's a lot different than swimming in a lake or a river." He led the study and presented results Saturday at an American College of Cardiology conference in Florida. The Minneapolis institute's foundation sponsored the work and tracks athlete-related sudden deaths in a national registry. - AP

US smokers face a hit as tobacco taxes spike

"However they satisfy their nicotine cravings, tobacco users are facing a big hit as the single largest federal tobacco tax increase ever takes effect Wednesday. Tobacco companies and public health advocates, longtime foes in the nicotine battles, are trying to turn the situation to their advantage. The major cigarette makers raised prices a couple of weeks ago, partly to offset any drop in profits once the per-pack tax climbs from 39 cents to $1.01. Medical groups see a tax increase right in the middle of a recession as a great incentive to help persuade smokers to quit. Tobacco taxes are soaring to finance a major expansion of health insurance for children. President Barack Obama signed that health initiative soon after taking office. Other tobacco products, from cigars to pipes and smokeless, will see similarly large tax increases, too. For example, the tax on chewing tobacco will go up from 19.5 cents per pound to 50 cents. The total expected to be raised over the 4 1/2 year-long health insurance expansion is nearly $33 billion." - AP

All over-40s to get health checks (UK)

"People aged 40 to 74 will be offered blood pressure, weight and cholesterol checks along with lifestyle advice every five years. The UK Government says the scheme will save 650 lives a year. Health authorities will launch the programme on 1 April by writing letters to at-risk groups and inviting them for checks. More than 2 million people will be assessed each year and and then called back for check-ups every five years. GPs already carry out checks on about 80 per cent of the age group" - ITN

2009 AAHFN Annual Meeting

The American Association of Heart Failure Nurses (AAHFN) will be hosting its 5th Annual Meeting, June 24-27, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. "The AAHFN Annual Meeting is planned to meet the needs of nurses, advanced practice nurses, inpatient nurses, outpatient nurses, home health nurses, cardiac / HF administrators, clinical directors, physician assistants, dietitians and other healthcare providers, educators, and researchers interested in heart failure patient care. A variety of educational formats are planned that will encourage the exchange of new scientific and clinical information and support the interchange of opinions regarding care and management issues relevant to heart failure."

Costs improve picture for stents vs surgery: study

"Using drug-coated stents compares more favorably to bypass surgery in some heart patients with difficult-to-treat clogged arteries when economics and quality of life are considered, researchers said on Saturday. The benefits of stenting procedures were more pronounced for patients with less complex coronary disease, a study found. The results, presented at the American College of Cardiology scientific meeting in Orlando, come from a substudy of the SYNTAX trial, which was released last September. The 1,800-patient SYNTAX trial showed bypass surgery and procedures with Boston Scientific's Taxus stent were equally safe, but those patients receiving Taxus were more likely to need a repeat procedure, tipping the results in favor of surgery. The new report adds information about cost-effectiveness and quality of life to the comparison." - Post Chronicle

16-year-old schoolgirl who survived seventeen heart operations (UK)

16-year-old schoolgirl who survived seventeen heart operations (UK)"Sarah Haselgrove is just 16, but she has already undergone a shocking seventeen heart operations. The teenager is the longest living youngster in Britain with so many complex cardiac problems. But despite spending more than half her life in hospital, she is just a year behind at school and will sit her GCSEs next year. The schoolgirl from Kent, was not expected to live a week and underwent five heart operations in her first year of life. She was in and out of hospital throughout primary school and has faced three major surgeries in the last six years. But Sarah has battled on to live a normal life, and even competes at carriage racing at Windsor Castle every year" - Mail

Two cardiac-related deaths blamed on Fargo flood

Two cardiac-related deaths blamed on Fargo floodTwo deaths are being reported related to flooding along the Red River in North Dakota. The state's Department of Health says two cardiac-related deaths have been reported due to flood prevention exertion. The department also said Saturday that 50 flood-related injuries have been reported statewide. Those injuries range from wrist and ankle stress to serious car accidents related to washed out roads. Residents in Fargo along the Red River have been feverishly filling sandbags to help hold back the rising water. National Weather Service officials said Saturday that the river may have crested, but it still could rise up to a foot more - KSFY

Bike ride benefits cardiac rehab at RCMC (USA)

To celebrate his fourth year of life following a heart attack, Ross Lunderville of Menomonie, WI, is coordinating a 25-mile Ride with Heart bicycle ride on Saturday, April 4, as a fundraiser for the Cardiac Rehabilitation Department at Red Cedar Medical Center (RCMC). The ride will start at 10 a.m. at 628 River Heights Road in Menomonie. "The staff at RCMC does an absolute wonderful job," says Ross. "I'm so thankful that they were there for me when I had my heart attack." The route will go through Menomonie, south to Dunnville and back to Menomonie. Registration is not required. Donations will be collected at the ride. Following the ride, a heart-healthy brunch will be served. - Dunn COunty Newsre

Friday, March 27, 2009

Associations update heart failure guidelines

The most recent update of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guidelines for the diagnosis and management of heart failure includes a new section on caring for hospitalized patients. The focused revision incorporates new clinical trial evidence, mostly from presentations at meetings of the ACC, AHA, and European Society of Cardiology since the last update in 2005. "We want to be sure the guidelines are current and timely, and reflect the latest data on the management of this important condition," said Mariell Jessup, M.D., a cardiologist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and chair of the writing committee for the update. The revised guidelines, written in collaboration with the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation, were published online simultaneously in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and Circulation the American Heart Association's journal. The biggest change is the addition of a section on managing patients who have been hospitalized with heart failure, a growing population, Dr. Jessup said. - medpage today

ACC: surgically remodeled hearts, Polypills, and still more JUPITER results on tap

"Two studies - one a surgery trial and one a medical study, but both with practice-changing potential - are shaping up as the big news at the American College of Cardiology meeting that kicks off this weekend. But the headlines may be dominated by the familiar - more analyses from the JUPITER trial and the SYNTAX study. Turning first to the new research, the STICH (Surgical Treatment for Ischemic Heart Failure) trial tops the list. The study, which will be reported at a Late-Breaking Clinical Trials session Sunday morning, presents data on a novel approach to treating ischemic heart failure - coronary artery bypass grafting plus surgical remodeling of the left ventricle...and more"

Worried about your heart health? Head to Basalt, CO

basalt"Roaring Fork Valley residents wondering about their risk of heart disease or a heart attack may want to take advantage of a special clinic being held this weekend at After-Hours Medical Care in Basalt. On April 4, the center will offer a heart-health assessment to help determine an individual's risk for heart attack in the next 10 years. Included in the assessment are blood tests for lipids (cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL, direct LDL) and blood sugar, a blood pressure check, body mass index assessment and a 'risk profile' questionnaire. Among the warning signs for heart trouble, according to a statement from Aspen Valley Hospital, are being overweight, experiencing blood pressure that is even a little on the high side according to the latest and more stringent guidelines, smoking even a little bit, fasting blood sugar levels on the rise, and cholesterol levels that are a little higher than a doctor might like them to be. And, stated an AVH spokeswoman, men are at higher risk of heart attack than women simply because of their gender. 'At just $12, this is really an affordable way to obtain some very important information about your body and your future,' said Ginny Dyche, Aspen Valley Hospital director of community relations. AVH operates the After-Hours clinic. The clinic is scheduled from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., at 234 Cody Lane. Participants must fast for 12 hours prior to the test, with the exception of water, and payment must be by cash or check. For more information, call 544-1296"

Women gather for first Essence of Red event for health (USA)

"About 10 years ago, Brenda Gammie remembers returning home from work and feeling sick to her stomach and achy all over. She had pains in her shoulders, neck, arms, jaws and cheeks. The symptoms were similar to those experienced by a co-worker who had died from a heart attack one year earlier, so Gammie decided not to take any chances. She called 911, and as she was taken to the hospital by ambulance, paramedics told her she was having a full-blown heart attack. On Thursday, the 65-year-old Gammie served as a model for a style show during the first 'Essence of Red - Heart, Mind, & Moxie' event to promote women's heart health. The event, which will become an annual activity, was organized by a Women's Heart Health Committee in partnership with the Panhellenic Council at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. About 120 people attended the sold-out event at Rose-Hulman. The purpose of the Essence of Red was to raise awareness about heart disease and stroke and to raise funds to continue heart health education in the Wabash Valley." - TribStar

Katrina blamed for surge in heart attacks

"In the two years after Hurricane Katrina pummeled the New Orleans area, Tulane University doctors found a threefold rise in heart attacks among their patients, and they put the blame on continuing storm-related stress, according to a study to be presented Sunday. Calling this sustained rise in heart problems part of Katrina's "lingering legacy," researchers found these patients showed post-storm increase in factors that are evidence of stress, including homelessness, unemployment, loss of insurance, smoking, poor eating habits, failure to take prescriptions and living in temporary housing such as FEMA trailers. Living under such conditions "creates a high stress level," said Dr. Anand Irimpen, a Tulane cardiologist and one of the investigators. The study, which will be presented during the American College of Cardiology's 58th annual Scientific Sessions in Orlando, Fla., is believed to be the first to monitor disaster victims for such a long period"

Former Sutton, UK, heart attack patient bound for North Pole

"A former heart attack victim is trekking 400 miles from Canada to the magnetic North Pole in the "world's toughest race". Entrepreneur Roger Davies plans to stave off old age by hauling a sled across arctic terrain in temperatures of minus 40C. The defiant 61-year-old decided to take part in the Polar Race 2009, which began on Sunday, March 29, to raise funds for the Children's Trust at Tadworth Court. He said: "After months of preparation and training, I am tremendously excited to be about to set off. "As I grow older, I have no intention of slowing down and being a typical retiree. "My ambition was to get to the North Pole and I am very grateful for the support of Standard Life, without which this expedition would not have been possible.” "

Man dies at spot where he saved future wife's life

"A former police officer suffered a heart attack and died at a Michigan gas station where he saved his future wife's life nearly 15 years ago. Lynne Smith tells The Saginaw News she and James Smith were returning home from breakfast on Monday when their pickup truck started to veer off course. Lynne Smith looked at her 66-year-old husband and knew something was wrong. She scrambled to take control and piloted the vehicle through some bushes. It came to rest in the parking lot of the service station. In 1994, James Smith acted quickly to save the then-Lynne Butterfield's life when her estranged husband slashed her throat at the same station. Said his widow: "He saved my life here and now his life ended here."" - Seattle Times

Cardiac patients should shun energy drinks

People who have high blood pressure or heart disease should avoid consuming energy drinks, according to a Henry Ford Hospital study to be published online Wednesday in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy. Researchers found that healthy adults who drank two cans a day of a popular energy drink experienced an increase in their blood pressure and heart rate. No significant changes in EKG measurements were reported. The increases in blood pressure and heart rate were insignificant for healthy adults, but could prove harmful to people with a heart-related condition, says James Kalus, Pharm.D., senior manager of Patient Care Services at Henry Ford Hospital and lead author of the study. - newsmax.com

Mednet to offer wireless heart monitoring with AT&T

"Lifesaving diagnoses and actions, prompted by the anywhere, anytime availability of vital cardiac information, is now more accessible thanks to a wireless heart monitoring solution from Mednet Healthcare Technologies that is powered by AT&T's wireless technologies. Mednet, a leading provider of cardiac monitoring products and surveillance services, is helping doctors and patients remotely monitor heart arrhythmia through personal mobile devices. Under a new contract with AT&T, Mednet's HEARTRAK External Cardiac Ambulatory Telemetry (ECAT) solution will facilitate wireless monitoring of patient devices via Bluetooth-enabled cell phones across AT&T's expansive 3G and EDGE wireless data footprint, which covers more than 13,000 cities and towns and 40,000 miles of highway across the country." - EarthTimes

Tiny Impella pump offers new hope to heart patients

"A miniature pump, so small it can be threaded through an artery and placed inside the heart, offers new hope to critically ill heart attack and heart failure patients who have run out of options. The Abiomed Impella 2.5, is making its Tampa Bay area debut at the Pepin Heart Hospital at University Community Hospital. It is a new type of pump that assists the heart's main pumping chamber to drive blood through the body. While it is in place for hours or days, a seriously damaged heart gets crucial time to recover. Or, it can give doctors time to perform procedures such as opening blocked arteries, which might otherwise kill the critically ill patient" - Tampabay.com

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fruit extract shows promise as weight-loss aid

"An extract derived from a West African fruit may help overweight people shed pounds and lower their cholesterol, a new study suggests. The extract comes from Irvingia gabonensis, also known as African mango, a fruit commonly eaten in West Africa. Lab research has shown that extracts from the plant's seed may inhibit body fat production, through effects on certain genes and enzymes that regulate metabolism." - Reuters

Public transit users 3 times more likely to meet fitness guidelines: UBC research

"A new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia suggests taking public transit may help you keep fit. The study, published in the Journal of Public Health Policy, finds that people who take public transit are three times more likely than those who don't to meet the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada's suggested daily minimum of physical activity. Doctoral student Ugo Lachapelle and Assoc. Prof. Lawrence Frank of the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning used 4,156 travel surveys from metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia, to examine whether transit and car trips were associated with meeting the recommended levels of physical activity by walking. Because transit trips by bus and train often involve walking to and from stops, the study found that users are more likely to meet the recommended 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day, five days a week" - EurekAlert

Mayo study shows simple finger device may help predict future heart events, such as heart attack

"Results of a Mayo Clinic study show that a simple, noninvasive finger sensor test is "highly predictive" of a major cardiac event, such as a heart attack or stroke, for people who are considered at low or moderate risk, according to researchers. The study will be presented Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 11:30 a.m. EDT at the American College of Cardiology Annual Scientific Session in Orlando (0917-7). The noninvasive finger test device, called the EndoPAT by Itamar Medical, measures the health of endothelial cells by measuring blood flow. Endothelial cells line the blood vessels and regulate normal blood flow. Research has shown that if the cells don't function properly - a condition called endothelial dysfunction - it can set the stage for atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and lead to major cardiovascular health problems. Previously, there was no simple test for endothelium function, says Amir Lerman, M.D., a cardiologist at Mayo Clinic and the senior author of the study." - EurekAlert

UK Charities launch 'Destination 2020' - a call for new cardiac and vascular plan

"The Cardio & Vascular Coalition (CVC), a group of 41 charities representing patients, charities doctors and nurses, today published proposals on how the Government should approach the fight against cardiac and vascular disease, including heart, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes, over the next decade. The report titled Destination 2020 calls for a new plan in England which will incorporate coronary heart disease but also related conditions such as stroke, diabetes and kidney disease."

Smoking and Surgery - Mayo Clinic video

"If you've ever tried to quit smoking, you know how hard it can be. But if you're having surgery, kicking the habit is worth it. Mayo Clinic researchers say if you quit smoking before surgery, even if it's just the day of surgery, you will reduce your risk of certain complications."

American Heart Association supports lower sodium limits for most Americans

"New data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides additional scientific evidence that the majority of Americans over the age of twenty should limit the amount of sodium (salt) they consume daily to 1,500 milligrams (mg) to prevent and reduce high blood pressure. The new data are published in the March 26, 2009 issue of the CDC's Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report" - AHA

The Thames Bridges Bike Ride 2009 (UK)

The Thames Bridges Bike Ride 2009 (UK)"Sunday 31 May 2009 sees the return of The Stroke Foundation's flagship event, the Thames Bridges Bike Ride. This 33 mile sponsored bike ride follows The River Thames over 14 of London's famous bridges, taking cyclists from Tower Bridge to Hampton Court. Whether you ride with friends, family, a gang from the office or on your own, the Thames Bridges Bike Ride is a great day out for a brilliant cause - raising money to help the 250,000 people who are currently living with stroke in the UK"

Study: Morbidly obese sedentary for more than 99 percent of day

"A new study appearing in Clinical Cardiology examines the average fitness level of the morbidly obese (body mass indexes between 40.0 and 49.9). The findings show that the tested population was sedentary for more than 99 percent of the day and, on average, walked less than 2,500 steps per day – far below healthy living guidelines of 10,000 steps per day. The results provide important links between obesity, poor fitness and cardiovascular disease. The study used a precise body sensor to continually measure physical activity, caloric expenditure and movement minute-by-minute over a 72-hour period within their home environments. Following collection of the data, structured cardiorespiratory fitness testing was performed on each subject" - EurekAlert

Former Yankees OF Blanchard dies at 76

Johnny Blanchard, a member of two World Series championship teams with the New York Yankees, died Monday. He was 76. Blanchard died from a heart attack early Monday morning at his home. Blanchard spent parts of seven seasons with the Yankees from 1955 to 1965, compiling a .345 batting average in World Series play. He was a career .239 hitter in eight seasons in the majors. "This is a sad day," former teammate Yogi Berra said. "Johnny was a good friend and a great teammate. He was proud of being a Yankee and always fun to be around. We'll miss him." - National Post

Morris County offers cardiac rehab (Kansas)

"The Morris County Hospital is now offering a cardiac rehabilitation program to help patients who have heart disease. The program, which requires a medical referral from one of the five physicians at the Family Health Center of Morris County in Council Grove, includes a team of staff members to help the patient recover and manage heart disease. 'Once referred to the program, a team of professionals including a registered nurse, dietitian, physical therapist, physical therapy aide and a certified diabetic educator will work together to develop a program based on each patient's specific exercise, medication and dietary or food needs designed to bring about better heart-healthy results,' a press release from the hospital stated. The program has scheduled appointments on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. During the appointments, each patient will participate in supervised physical exercise and receiving training and educational materials that are tailored to the patient's needs. The program is covered by most insurance plans and some offer 100 percent coverage, according to the news release. Others may require co-payment."

New Study: 60 Million People Lack Access to Basic Medical Care (USA)

New Study: 60 Million People Lack Access to Basic Medical Care"The number of people struggling without access to basic health care during these tough economic times has skyrocketed from 56 million to 60 million in just two years, according to the National Association of Community Health Centers. A report released by the association today - Primary Care Access: An Essential Building Block of Health Reform - attributes the growth of the 'medically disenfranchised' population to a host of factors that include a worsening shortage of primary care doctors in needy communities and a growing scarcity of providers willing to treat the uninsured or publicly insured. The number of medically disenfranchised grew three times faster than the total U.S. population, a clear sign that that access to primary care is worsening and reaching middle-class American families, even among those who do have insurance. The findings were released today at a briefing with representatives from Community Health Centers around the country, which have received $2 billion in federal help from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to deal with increased demand from the uninsured. With plant closings and job losses mounting from the economic downturn, people who find themselves suddenly uninsured or underinsured are relying more than ever on a place where insurance status doesn't matter - at a Community Health Center"

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Temptations drummer Uriel Jones dies aged 74

Temptations drummer Uriel Jones dies aged 74 Drummer Uriel Jones, the last surviving member of the Motown session band the Funk Brothers, has died in Michigan. The drummer, 74, passed away in hospital after suffering complications from a heart attack. His sister-in-law Leslie Coleman said the drummer's health had recently been improving since he was taken ill in February. Jones was perhaps best known for his work with Marvin Gaye and The Temptations, with whom him recorded the tracks 'I Can't Get Next To You' and 'Cloud Nine'. The Funk Brothers' Motown sounds lead them to tour the world together. The band also received two Grammy awards. Jones is survived by his wife and three children - Gigwise

New heart condition quickly requires transplant

"A newly recognized type of heart disease, or "cardiomyopathy," caused by an X-linked mutation in the LAMP2 gene, is rapidly progressive, leading to cardiac death in young patients, according to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The cardiomyopathy in the disorder is known to be clinically similar to severe hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, but the natural history and genetic patterns associated with the disease was unclear, lead author Dr. Barry J. Maroon, from the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, and colleagues note. In their study, the researchers examined the natural course and outcomes of LAMP2 cardiomyopathy in six boys and one girl, ranging in age from 7 to 17 years." - Reuters

Nurses across Canada are reducing wait times

"A new treatment regime initiated by a clinical nurse specialist in New Westminster, B.C., means cardiac surgery patients have fewer complications and spend less time in hospital. A nurse-managed outpatient chemotherapy clinic in Toronto decreases wait times for treatment. Intervention from a nurse practitioner reduces the need for hospitalization for long-term care residents across Ontario. Nurses working collaboratively with physicians has almost doubled the capacity of some family practices in Halifax. These are just a few examples of how registered nurses are developing innovative solutions to the challenges of wait times, as outlined in Registered Nurses: On the Front Lines of Wait Times, a paper the Canadian Nurses Association has released to coincide with the Taming of the Queue conference on March 26-27 in Ottawa. Concern about wait times in Canada has increased over the last decade to become the most important health-care issue among the Canadian public and health-care providers (Health Care in Canada Survey, 2007)." - CNW

Faster, better diagnosis for patients with heart rhythm disorders (Canada)

"Patients with heart rhythm disorders can look forward to better and faster diagnosis and treatment thanks to the latest generation of electrophysiology equipment used this week for the first time in North America at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, Toronto, Canada. "This state-of-the-art equipment allows us to better visualize electrical activity in the heart and localize the source of rhythm disturbance," says Dr. Eugene Downar, cardiologist in the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. "The improved display helps us diagnose more accurately and treat patients faster.""

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Heart and Stroke Foundation study explores women’s rare blood pressure condition

"In a rare condition known as idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension, blood pressure is abnormally high in the pulmonary arteries (arteries that carry blood to the lungs for oxygenation). This makes it more difficult for blood to flow through the lungs, causing shortness of breath and fatigue. It can be fatal if it starts to affect the right ventricle of the heart, which is the pumping chamber to the lungs. This condition also affects women two to three times more often than men. Heart and Stroke Foundation funded research student Mavra Ahmed and her supervisor Dr. Susanna Mak have been researching how women's hormones may play a role in this condition"

Study: Lowest cholesterol, blood pressure best

"Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic have found that people who maintain the tightest control over the major risk factors for heart disease seems to provide the greatest protection against cardiovascular problems. For their study, investigators used ultrasounds to examine the arteries of 3,437 men. These scans gave information on the amount of the fatty deposits in the linings of the blood vessels that can block blood flow, causing a heart attack or stroke. The researchers found that the least amount of growth was seen in those men who had the lowest levels of bad cholesterol and the lowest blood pressure. The scientists say their findings means that the current guidelines for risk factors such as blood pressure and bad cholesterol might need to be tightened even further." - MyHeartCentral

Combination of very low LDL and normal systolic blood pressure attenuate coronary artery disease

"New data published in the March 31, 2009, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology show that patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) who achieve very low levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol along with normal systolic blood pressure have the slowest progression of CAD. The results suggest that patients with CAD should be treated to the most stringent target levels so that they can achieve optimal results from their lipid lowering and antihypertensive therapies." - News-Medical.net

Comic Williams's heart op success

Comedian Robin Williams is expected to make a full recovery after a three hour operation to replace a heart valve. A doctor treating the comic said Williams would regain "normal heart function" over the next eight weeks. Williams, 57, had the surgery after experiencing shortness of breath during his Weapons of Self Destruction tour. A spokesperson said the comic would restart the tour in the autumn and had even joked after surgery that he now had "some great new material". - BBC

Monday, March 23, 2009

Stroke survivors improve balance with tai chi

"Stroke can impair balance, heightening the risk of a debilitating fall. But a University of Illinois at Chicago researcher has found that stroke survivors can improve their balance by practising the Chinese martial art of tai chi. Christina Hui-Chan, professor and head of physical therapy at UIC, has studied and used tai chi as a way to improve balance and minimise falls among healthy elderly subjects. Now she and a colleague have seen similar results in a group of stroke survivors" - Science Centric

58th Annual Scientific Session - American College of Cardiology

"Join the American College of Cardiology for its 58th Annual Scientific Session in Orlando, Florida, on March 29-31, 2009. The ACC's Innovation in Intervention: i2 Summit 2009 in partnership with Cardiovascular Research Foundation will be taking place on March 28-31, 2009. ACC.09 and i2.09 feature the latest and most innovative findings in cardiovascular science, as well as the most clinically relevant practical applications. Join us for a two-for-one special: the knowledge of two meetings in one place, for a Full Access discounted price. This meeting is not only an opportunity to see more, learn more, and do more with the most innovative information in the world of clinical cardiology but also offers busy cardiovascular professionals the chance to participate in two meetings that now offer synchronized timing, making it easier than ever to move from session to session within each meeting and between each meeting, so you can access all the education"

A possible risk group for statin use

"In a patient study of over 1,000 individuals with coronary artery disease, researchers have found that high levels of an enzyme called PLTP significantly increased the risk of heart attack in the subset of patients taking statins. While follow-up studies will be needed to tease out the exact connection between PLTP and statins, this connection does suggest levels of PLTP in the blood should be a consideration for potential statin treatment" - Physorg.com

A first in Canada: CHUS implants most recent generation of cardiac defibrillator

Dr Jean Fran├žois Roux, Cardiologist and Electrophysiologist at the Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke (CHUS) implanted the newest cardiac resynchronization defibrillator technology, the Lumax 540 HF-T, from BIOTRONIK (Berlin, Germany). A 59-year-old patient has been the first in Canada to be implanted with this new cardiac device. In fact, another implant of this device series is planned in the next few days. This latest defibrillator technology presents several advantages, allowing for enhanced heart failure therapy through most advanced therapy features and improved programming options

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Protein from yellow peas may lower blood pressure

"Certain proteins found in the yellow garden pea appear to help lower blood pressure and delay, control or even prevent the onset of chronic kidney disease, at least in rats, a Canadian study has found. "What we seem to have here is sort of a natural approach to treating this disease, as opposed to the normal pharmacological approach," said the study's lead author, Rotimi E. Aluko, an associate professor in the department of human nutritional sciences at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. "We're talking about an edible product, not a drug, which can help to reduce blood pressure and, at the same time, reduce the severely negative impact of kidney disease." Aluko and his colleagues were to present their findings Sunday at the American Chemical Society's national meeting in Salt Lake City. The study was underwritten by several Canadian government entities." - HealthDay

Hopkins scientists ID 10 genes associated with a risk factor for sudden cardiac death

One minute, he's a strapping 40-year-old with an enviable cholesterol level, working out on his treadmill. The next, he's dead. That an abnormality in his heart's electrical system had managed to stay on the Q.T. until it proved lethal is characteristic of sudden cardiac death, which annually claims more than a quarter million Americans. A dearth of discernable symptoms and lack of detectable molecules circulating in the blood makes the prediction of sudden cardiac death largely dependent on genetic risk factors. Having identified 10 common variants of genes that modify the timing of the contraction of the heart, known as the QT interval, scientists in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in collaboration with an international contingent of researchers, now provide new insight about the underpinnings of the QT interval which, when prolonged or shortened, predisposes to sudden cardiac death. QT interval, which is determined from a standard electrocardiogram (ECG), reflects the time it takes for the heart (ventricles) to contract and then reset for the next heartbeat. Publishing March 22 in Nature Genetics, the international team including researchers from the Technical University in Munich, Johns Hopkins and others, used DNA samples previously collected for epidemiological studies to analyze the genomes of 15,842 individuals whose QT intervals had been measured by electrocardiogram. With DNA microarray chips, each able to assess hundreds of thousands of markers in each sample, followed by bioinformatic techniques to increase the number of markers, the researchers screened approximately 2.5 million markers to detect subtle alterations in the sequences of these genomes that modify the QT interval. - GEN

Canadian Journal of Cardiology added to PubMed Central

The Canadian Journal of Cardiology has been added to PubMed Central. Archive includes: v.22 (2006) to v.24 (2008). There is a 12 month embargo delay for this journal

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Blues musician and songwriter Eddie Bo dies

New Orleans blues singer-pianist Eddie Bo, who wrote the original version of Slippin' and Slidin' and worked with musicians such as Irma Thomas and Art Neville, has died of a heart attack. He was 79. His death was confirmed Friday by his close friend and booking agent, Karen Hamilton. Hamilton said Bo, whose real name was Edwin Joseph Bocage, had a massive heart attack while out of town Wednesday. She said he "went very quickly, very peacefully." Bo was an accomplished keyboardist-pianist with a career spanning more than five decades. An accomplished songwriter, Bo penned I'm Wise, which was made famous by Little Richard when renamed and released in 1956 as Slippin' and Slidin'. He also wrote the 1960 Etta James hit My Dearest Darling.

National Walk to Work Day is April 3 (USA)

"Friday, April 3 is National Walk to Work Day. Endorsed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the sixth-annual event encourages Americans to turn their commute into an exercise opportunity. The reason is clear: According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of obesity among adults aged 20-74 more than doubled between 1980 and 2006, soaring from 15 percent to nearly 33 percent. Meanwhile, study after study indicates that moderate exercise for 30 minutes per day reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Participation guidelines for National Walk to Work Day couldn't be more flexible. If walking to work is impractical, at least shun the elevator and walk up the stairs. If you take public transportation, get off a stop early and walk the rest of the way. And if your commute is too long to consider walking, simply pretend it's National Walk to Lunch Day instead." - Fox

Saskatoon Health Region 2009 Survey: Report Summary

"Saskatoon Health Region recently conducted a public perception survey to gain insight into residents' experiences with the Region. A large majority of respondents reported a positive experience while a significant number urged the Region to focus more attention to specific areas of care"

Friday, March 20, 2009

Soccer manager Kinnear on course for April comeback (UK)

"Newcastle boss Joe Kinnear remains on course to return to work next month as he continues his recovery from heart surgery. There were suggestions at the weekend the 62-year-old had suffered a setback after undergoing a triple heart bypass in February. But the Magpies insisted Kinnear had only caught a chest cold and is still set to be back in harness for either the trip to Stoke on April 11 or the visit to Tottenham a week later. Caretaker manager Chris Hughton, who is in regular touch with Kinnear, said: "The indications are - and I haven't heard anything different to that - is that he would return round about the Stoke or Spurs games." He added: "But we will all be guided by the experts in that field, and more so one person himself, and that's Joe. "That's where we are at the moment. Whether that changes or not, we will find out. "Joe is still in that period where his rehabilitation has gone very well. But he has had big surgery and there are days when he is better than other days." The club has also dismissed claims Terry Venables could be drafted in amid fears Kinnear may not return before the end of the season" PA

Boston Scientific launches new coronary imaging catheter

"Boston Scientific Corporation has announced the launch of its iCross™ Coronary Imaging Catheter, a product designed to improve the deliverability of the Company's intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) technology, the iLab® Ultrasound Imaging System. IVUS technology enables physicians to see detailed images inside the heart and coronary arteries. The Company said the iCross Catheter would be available immediately in the United States."

Researchers find gene that turns carbs into fat

"U.S. researchers have found a gene responsible for turning a plate of pasta into fat, offering new clues about how the body metabolizes carbohydrates and how they contribute to obesity. The gene, called DNA-PK, appears to regulate the process in the liver that turns carbohydrates into fat, the University of California, Berkeley team reported on Thursday in the journal Cell." - Reuters

"Stent 4 Life" campaign launched

"A campaign which will reduce mortality in patients with acute coronary syndromes has been launched today by a coalition which includes the ESC Working Group on Acute Cardiac Care and the European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions (EAPCI). Stent 4 Life is a project designed to encourage the wider use of reperfusion therapy with percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI, with balloon angioplasty and stent) in Europe. According to a new report introducing the campaign, it is the 'unpredictable bursts' in coronary artery disease which lead to sudden ischaemic death, heart attack and unstable angina, and with them a sharp increase in mortality rate to more than 10%" - ESC

E-connect: Saskatoon Health Region's employee newsletter 4/6

E-connect: Saskatoon Health Region's employee newsletter volume 4, issue 6, March 20, 2009 is now available online

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Eggs...the rest of the story

Recent headlines claim that there is no need to limit egg consumption saying that eggs have little effect on cholesterol levels. While it is true that it is more important to pay attention to the saturated fat and trans fat in foods, it is wise to limit the amount of cholesterol we eat. Eating too much cholesterol can increase the cholesterol in your blood! The current recommendations from the Dietitians of Canada state:

* If you do not have heart disease, eat less than 300mg of dietary cholesterol per day.
* If you have heart disease or are at risk for heart disease, aim for less than 200mg of dietary cholesterol per day.

Here are some examples of the cholesterol content of foods:

1 large egg - 216 mg cholesterol
15 medium shrimp - 148 mg cholesterol
2 1/2 oz cooked beef liver - 286 mg cholesterol
2 1/2 oz cooked beef - 58-60 mg cholesterol
2 1/2 oz cooked chicken - 63-71 mg cholesterol
1 1/2 oz cheese - 38-58 mg cholesterol

Eggs can a healthy part of healthy diet...in moderation!

Submitted by Rochelle Anthony, Dietitian for the Cardiac Rehab Program, who can be reached at 306-655-2140

Longer bouts of exercise deter childhood obesity (Canada)

Children who exercise in bouts of activity lasting five minutes or longer are less likely to become obese than those whose activity levels are more sporadic and typically last less than five minutes each, Queen's University researchers have discovered. Led by Kinesiology and Health Studies professor Ian Janssen, the new study supports Canada's Physical Activity Guidelines for Children and Youth, which call for children to accumulate at least 90 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity over the course of the day, in bouts of at least five to 10 minutes' duration. Until now there has been no scientific evidence to support the recommendation of sustained, rather than sporadic exercise. 'Even in 60-minute physical education classes or team practices, children are inactive for a large portion of the time and this would not necessarily count as sustained exercise,' says Dr. Janssen. 'When children engage in longer periods of sustained physical activity, there is a smaller likelihood that they will be overweight or obese.' The findings appear in the May issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. - redOrbit

Heart Insight - February 2009

Heart Insight is a free quarterly magazine published by the American Heart Association and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, for patients, their families and caregivers. February 2009 Vol 3. Issue 1 now available online

Olympic rowing hopeful Scott Rennie dies from suspected heart attack (UK)

Scott Rennie dies from suspected heart attack"Rower Scott Rennie, who dreamed of representing Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics, has died from a suspected heart attack during training. Mr Rennie, 25, who had already represented his country at European level, collapsed on a rowing machine at the Molesey Boat Club in Surrey. Fellow rowers performed CPR on the international athlete, nicknamed "Big Ren", until paramedics arrived. They treated him for 30 minutes before taking him to Kingston hospital but doctors were unable to save him." - Telegraph

Barley-based fiber additive to appear in fruit juice line

Barley-based fiber additive to appear in fruit juice line"Backed by research showing that it can cut cholesterol, Cargill is rolling out a new ingredient it's touting as the next big thing in functional foods - a fiber product made from whole-grain barley that can hide in foods and beverages without adding unpleasant texture, taste or bulk. A pear-merlot juice blend from Bolthouse Farms this month will become the first consumer product to hit grocery stores containing Cargill's Barliv barley betafiber. The labels bear a statement approved by the US Food and Drug Administration saying it can help promote a healthy heart. Cargill says other Barliv products are likely to come out soon, including waters, snacks, cereals and bakery goods - Cape Cod Times

Heart attack patient thanks lifesavers (UK)

"A hospital patient has today thanked medics for the 'amazing' care he received after he was suddenly suffered a heart attack. Lenny Jay, who spent a week in Ipswich Hospital's Claydon Ward, revisited doctors and nurses to show his gratitude to everyone involved in his recovery. He was joined by wife Maureen, son Steven and daughter Tracey. Until last month 71-year-old Mr Jay hadn't been to hospital since the mid-50s, when he was hit by an errant football while serving in the army. He said: 'I had been as fit as a fiddle until just before Christmas when I had some chest pain but I just put it down to a chest infection or heartburn and thought it would wear off.' But when he woke wife Maureen at 5am complaining of breathing difficulty, she knew something was wrong and immediately phoned her daughter, Tracey Lucock. She said: 'He sat up on the end of the bed. He was grey and sweating.'" - Evening Star

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Experts revise guidelines on daily aspirin for heart (USA)

Experts revise guidelines on daily aspirin for heart"Amid the continuing debate over who should pop an aspirin each day to fight heart disease, and at what dose, U.S. experts have revised guidelines stating that lower doses appear to be at least as effective as higher doses and safer at preventing heart attack and stroke. The issue of dosage has long been discussed because aspirin carries with it an increased risk for gastrointestinal bleeding, especially when taken in combination with the clot-dissolving drug clopidogrel (Plavix). The new U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines are tailored to match age and gender. Among the recommendations: Men aged 45 to 79 should take aspirin if the chances of preventing a heart attack outweigh the chances of gastrointestinal bleeding. Women aged 55 to 79 should take the drug if the chances of reducing ischemic stroke outweigh the risks of GI bleeding" - HealthDay

2009 Chronic Disease Prevention & Management (CDPM) Provincial Conference

2009 Chronic Disease Prevention & Management (CDPM) Provincial Conference - June 18-19, 2009 - Sheraton Cavalier, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. "The purpose of the 2009 CDPM Provincial Conference is to provide health care practitioners, policy makers, administrators, organizations, and individuals committed to prevention and living well with chronic disease an opportunity to share ideas, practices, and initiatives."

Saskatchewan Stroke Conference 2009

Saskatchewan Stroke Conference 2009 - Heart and Stroke: Pre-hospital, Emergency and Acute Stroke Care in Saskatchewan - April 30 to May 1, 2009 - Hilton Garden Inn, Saskatoon, SK, Canada. "Want to learn more about your role in stroke care in Saskatchewan? How you can enhance your own program and procedures? Learn about implementation of best practices from others who are making it happen right here in our province"

Search for blood pressure secrets reveals a surprising new syndrome

Yale researchers investigating the genetic causes of blood pressure variation have identified a previously undescribed syndrome associated with seizures, a lack of coordination, developmental delay and hearing loss. The findings, published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, illustrate the power of genetic studies not only to find causes of chronic ailments, but also to identify a common cause in a seemingly unrelated set of symptoms in different parts of the body. - Science Centric

Games for Health Canada Summit

Games for Health Canada SummitGames for Health Canada will be held at the Saskatoon Inn on March 19 and 20 in conjunction with Summit09. Games for Health will be of interest to health care practitioners, planners, stakeholders, researchers, educators & service providers. This inaugural Summit will profile exciting innovations and best practices that use eGame technologies in training, diagnosis, and treatment of health care issues. Be inspired by how you might use new technologies to enhance your own practice

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Modest reductions in dietary salt would reap great benefits

"US researchers say even a small reduction in the amount of salt in the daily diet would have a huge public-health impact. Dr Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo (University of California, San Francisco) and colleagues calculate that cutting just 1g of salt a day would prevent a quarter of a million new heart-disease cases and 200,000 deaths from any cause over a decade. Bibbins-Domingo told heartwire that "everyone would benefit, but certain groups gain more." These include African Americans, women, and those under 65, she noted. Americans currently eat 9 to 12g of salt per day, an amount far in excess of the 5 to 6g per day that is recommended by most health organizations, she said. She reported the new findings in a poster at the AHA 49th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention last week" - heartwire

New cholesterol drug misses the mark

"Results from a new study have dashed hopes for the further development of a newer class of cholesterol-lowering drugs to prevent cardiovascular disease. Researchers say that the drug pactimibe did not slow down the development of clogged arteries (atherosclerosis) in those with familial hypercholesterolemia, a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol levels. But the drug did increase their risk of heart attack and stroke and may even promote the formation of plaque buildup. The study is published in this week's edition of The Journal of the American Medical Association." - webMD

Heart and Stroke Foundation study aims to improve women's physical activity after cardiac rehab

Research shows that women are less likely than men to stick to regular physical activity after their cardiac rehabilitation. Nova Scotia researcher Chris Blanchard from Halifax wants to find out why. "We're trying to figure out what factors explain these women's exercise levels after they leave the organized rehab," Dr. Blanchard says. "Do they come from high or low-income communities? Are there high crime rates in the area? Does it matter if the rehab setting is women-only? Is there a support system for the women? Out of all of the factors, what can best explain why women don't do as much activity after finishing cardiac rehab as men do?" With funding from the Foundation, Dr. Blanchard's team has surveyed 500 participants and wants to get another 700 to take the questionnaire as well. Although he doesn't have any results yet, he does have an idea about why men might maintain higher activity levels than women. "Generally speaking, we suspect that men are going to have more confidence to overcome barriers to activity. We suspect that women are less likely to use freely available facilities in their environment and that the distance to an exercise centre may play more of a role for them, as well."

Alberta decides not to cut out the fat (Canada)

"The Ministry of Health in Alberta backtracked from a province-wide ban on use of trans fats under pressure from the food industry. Ron Liepert, Alberta's Minister of Health, announced on March 15, 2009 that the province would continue to allow eateries to, in effect, police themselves rather than instituting a government regulation. Since Health Canada, the national department responsible for health issues affecting the whole country, may well enact its own regulations, Alberta has decided to "wait and see" how things play out on the national stage. Trans fat is a name given commonly to a type of unsaturated fat that is known to play a significant role in heart disease and other illnesses. Trans fats not only increase the amount of so-called "bad" cholesterol in the blood stream, but they also decrease the amount of "good" cholesterol. In the past the human diet has included very little trans fats, exclusively from fats present in certain cuts of meat" - eCanadaNow

Sunnybrook first in Canada to implant cutting-edge heart monitors

Cardiologists at Sunnybrook's Schulich Heart Centre are the first in Canada to surgically implant a new type of heart monitor that will improve diagnosis of patients with potential heart problems. The implantable cardiac monitoring device records the heart's electrical activity in order to help physicians diagnose whether or not common symptoms like syncope (fainting), dizziness, palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath and unexplained seizure-like episodes are related to cardiac problems. Although similar monitors are available in Canada, this device has unique diagnostic benefits. It can more accurately sense cardiac signals, enabling physicians to program the monitor to sense small and wide-ranging signals. Additionally, the device has a life-span of up to three years compared with the 18 month life-span of similar devices. "Patients may only experience one or two episodes in the span a couple of years so the problem with implanting a monitor that only lasts up to 18 months is that you might miss the event altogether," says Eugene Crystal, head of Cardiac Arrhythmia Services. "The increased sensitivity of this monitor and the extended life-span will give us more accurate and more comprehensive data about our patients' hearts."

CMAJ 17 March 2009, Volume 180, Issue 5 online

The Canadian Medical Association Journal 17 March 2009, Volume 180, Issue 6, is now available online

Recovering? The latest BHF podcast offers help and advice

In its latest podcast, the British Heart Foundation talks about the major issues faced by heart patients coming out of hospital after suffering a heart attack, or having undergone major heart surgery. These include how much physical activity to safely do, whether or not to drive, how to cope emotionally with the new situation, dealing with financial and insurance issues, and knowing when it's right to return to work. The first days and weeks after leaving hospital can leave you feeling vulnerable and unsure how to cope with a world that now seems very different. This podcast aims to reassure you that it is possible be able to return to normal life quite quickly, and they are here to support and advise you in your efforts to achieve as normal a life as you can

Men and women get different benefits from daily aspirin

"The benefit of daily aspirin appears to differ by gender - for men it means fewer heart attacks, but in women it reduces the risk of stroke, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. The gender disparity emerged in studies reported after 2002 and the new information led the guideline agency to tweak its recommendation on aspirin, recommending a daily dose for men ages 45 to 79 to prevent myocardial infarction and for women ages 55 to 79 to reduce risk of ischemic strokes. The new recommendation, published in the March 17 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, addresses primary prevention in men and women who have no history of coronary heart disease or stroke. And in both cases the potential benefit - reducing heart attacks in men and strokes in women - should be weighed against the risk of gastrointestinal hemorrhage, the guideline writers said" - MedPage Today

What Is Moderate Exercise? (USA)

What exactly is moderate exercise? A new study suggests the much-touted moderate-intensity walk should translate to about 100 steps per minute, or 3,000 steps in 30 minutes. Federal exercise recommendations call for Americans to get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise for optimal health. And some studies have suggested that moderate-intensity exercise - like walking - may be just as beneficial as more vigorous exercise. "This presents a challenge because health benefits are dependent on the intensity of activity, yet there are few valid and reliable monitoring tools available to the public that are affordable and easy to use," researchers write in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. In their study, researchers sought to translate the moderate-exercise recommendations into easily achievable targets that could be measured using a common pedometer. - WebMD

ICNC9 - Spain

The goal of ICNC9, a joint endeavour between the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC), the European Association of Nuclear Medicine (EANM) and the ESC Working Group on Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiac Computed Tomography (ESC), is the emphasis on education and continued growth of cardiac imaging within nuclear cardiology. May 10-13 2009 - Barcelona, Spain

Any exercise good after a heart attack, Swiss study

Any exercise program can improve blood flow after a heart attack, but the benefit vanishes just four weeks after exercise is stopped, a new Swiss study finds. "The main goal of our study was to determine the impact of different types of exercise on vascular [blood vessel] function," said Dr. Margherita Vona, director of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Center at the Clinique Valmont-Genolier in Glion sur Montreux. "The conclusion was that in our patients, after a heart attack, all types of exercise were useful for correcting vascular dysfunction, without any difference among aerobic, resistance or combined training." But the improvement in blood flow seen in the 209 heart attack survivors enrolled in the program was lost four weeks after they stopped exercising, according to the report in the March 31 issue of Circulation - Business Week

Sunday, March 15, 2009

2009 Zoo Run

2009 Zoo Run - A 5 Km Fun Run or 2.5 Km Walk - Sunday, April 19 at 9:00 a.m. - Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park & Zoo, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

New blog: Statin Watch

Statin Watch has been established to address the love-hate relationship people have with these cholesterol-lowering drugs. Are they curing us, or killing us? Do they really work or are they just a huge money-maker for drug companies? Maybe we can find some answers. We are also on Twitter

Irregular hearts need attention

Results from a large, international, randomised, controlled trial have shown that there is a strong link between diabetics who have an abnormal heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation) and an increased risk of other heart-related problems and death. The findings were published in Europe's leading cardiology journal, the European Heart Journal on 12 March 2009. - ScienceAlert

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Britons 'in denial' over heart risk from obesity and smoking

Britons at high risk of heart attack are 'in denial' and ignoring doctors' advice to change their lifestyle, says a new survey. More than three-quarters are obese or overweight - with dangerously big stomachs - and most smokers have refused to give up. More than half have out-of-control blood pressure and 40 per cent have high cholesterol levels. Two out of three refuse to accept they are more at risk than other people their age - despite being given warnings by their GP and lots of prescription drugs. The findings from a major European survey are published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation. Around one in three middle-aged Britons is at high risk of heart disease because of factors such as obesity, diabetes, family history, high cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Mail

Statins: "Wonder drug that stole my memory"

StatinsStatins have been hailed as a miracle cure for cholesterol but little is known about their side effects. Christopher Hudson, from Kent, UK, describes his loss of memory while taking statins - The Telegraph

Preventing cardiovascular disease - The Lancet

"Results of the EUROASPIRE III study highlight how cardiologists are not prioritising prevention programmes for high-risk individuals who have already presented with heart disease. Since the last EUROASPIRE study, smoking in young women and obesity across all ages has increased, with no reduction in blood pressure despite an increase in antihypertensive prescribing. The study is discussed in this week's podcast."

Traffic jams could trigger heart attacks

Traffic jams could trigger heart attacksIt's happened to almost every driver. You're late, creeping along for what feels like forever with no idea what's holding up all those cars in front of you. Well, as it turns out, traffic can make you sick. It can even kill you. German researchers have done a study linking traffic to heart attacks. The more time you spend behind the wheel, the more likely you are to have one. Scientists found women, the elderly, the unemployed and people who already have heart problems face an even higher risk. Jawad Ahmad's on the road four or five hours a day and wonders if all that stress is making him sick. "I gained almost 30-40 pounds since I've been driving," says Ahmad. "You sit and your blood pressure goes up, your stress level goes up and it has a big affect on your health." The American Heart Association's published a German study that found people exposed to traffic are three times more likely to have a heart attack within a few hours and not just if you're driving - KARE11

Augusta Medical Center to expand its cardiac services (USA)

"Augusta Medical Center, Virginia, USA, plans to expand its cardiac services by hiring three cardiologists to perform interventional procedures such as catherizations, stents and angioplasty, hospital officials announced Friday. The procedures now are performed by a University of Virginia interventional cardiologist who travels to Fishersville each day. AMC CEO and President Mary Mannix said the Valley's aging demographic and the fact that heart disease is the area's top killer demand that hospital have "24-7 diagnosis and treatment of acute episodes." She said the hospital next week will begin recruiting interventional cardiologists, likely making hires over the next six to 12 months" - NewsVirginian

2009 Saskatchewan Blue Cross MS WALK

2009 Saskatchewan Blue Cross MS WALK2009 Saskatchewan Blue Cross MS WALK - Sunday April 26, 2009 - Archibald Arena, Saskatoon - Check in 8:30am, WALK 10:00am - Route is 6km

City of Saskatoon Leisure Guide Spring/Summer 2009

The City of Saskatoon Leisure Guide Spring/Summer 2009 is your community source for a variety of arts, culture, and recreational activities throughout the year. Select from Drop In programs, which do not require pre-registration and provide the public with access to the City's recreation facilities and to instructor-led classes, or from Registered Programs, which include an instructor who leads the participants through a pre-defined set of activities

Drop the heels, hoser, and get walking (Canada)

Drop the heels, hoser, and get walking"Longer days, sunshine that warms your face and sidewalks clear of snow and ice all mean one thing: The walking season has arrived. So shed your winter coat and boots and head outside for a little fresh air and exercise. Why walk? It's affordable, accessible and simple to master. There's no learning curve, no need to wear Lycra and no better way to improve your health and well-being. Going for a daily walk burns unwanted calories, improves heart health, builds stronger bones and reduces the risk of some forms of cancer. It can be done solo, with a buddy or with a pair of earbuds pumping in some solid tunes. Think of it as exercise's Canadian option; understated, underrated and totally forgiving." - Star Phoenix

Friday, March 13, 2009

Leaky blood vessels stroke link

"One in five strokes may be caused by a weakening of the tiny arteries in the brain, a new study has found. The brain damage caused by lacunar strokes, which occur in tiny rather than large arteries, may be caused by a gradual weakening of the artery wall. It was previously thought this type of stroke was caused only by reduced blood flow to the brain. Edinburgh University experts believe the weakening occurs in the protective lining of the small arteries" - BBC

Check the neck for heart risk

When a doctor determines your risk for heart disease, he or she might look at your weight, cholesterol level and blood pressure. But soon, they may also look at your neck. Independent of other factors, the width of your neck may play a role in determining your heart disease risk, according to researchers with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's Framingham Heart Study, who presented their data Wednesday at a meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando, Fla. - ABC News

Aging baby boomers may swamp cardiac care (USA)

Baby boomers are not in good shape, even when compared with their counterparts 10 or 20 years ago, researchers warn. According to a new study, more aging boomers are being hospitalized for heart attacks now than people their age were a generation ago, and the increase in cases could place a big burden on cardiac care wards nationwide. But on the upside, improvements in medical care may allow more people from this generation to recover and leave the hospital after a heart attack, the researchers say. "The first baby boomers will begin turning 65 in a year-and-a-half, making the aging of this group an important public health issue," said Hylan Shoob, lead author of a study that was to be presented Thursday at an American Heart Association conference in Palm Harbor, Fla. - Business Week

Wearing mask in traffic reduces heart attack risk

"Facemasks can help prevent adverse cardiovascular effects caused by pollution, scientists have shown. Researchers discovered that pollution from car exhausts caused arteries to stiffen, resulting in higher blood pressure and reduced blood flow to the heart, reports BioMed Central's open access journal Particle and Fibre Toxicology." - Newstrack India

Aspirin improves survival in women with stable heart disease, according to study

"New results from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) Observational Study provide additional evidence that aspirin may reduce the risk of death in postmenopausal women who have heart disease or who have had a stroke" - ScienceDaily

New test successfully identifies life-threatening heart disease

"A study led by investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has demonstrated that a new immunohistochemical test is reliable in diagnosing a dangerous arrhythmic heart disease known as arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC.) Reported in the March 12 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, the new findings offer the possibility of a highly sensitive and specific means of identifying this life-threatening condition at an early stage, when it can be treated with by implanting a cardiac defibrillator" Physorg.com

Nurses bring their own soap to work at the Royal North Shore Hospital (Australia)

Nurses bring their own soap to work at the Royal North Shore Hospital"It may be one of the leading trauma centres in Australia but patients and nurses at Royal North Shore Hospital have to bring their own soap. Nurses at the hospital have revealed cash flow problems have caused the Intensive Care Unit to run out of basic hygiene supplies. The State Government ordered a review of the $1 billion redevelopment after surgeons said operating theatres were too small. As of December 2008, the Northern Sydney and Central Coast Area Health Service, Royal North Shore Hospital, owed $25.8million on a total 11,214 bills. A nurse, who did not wish to be identified, said colleagues in ICU had bought soap last month because stores had run out." - news.com.au

Welch Allyn AED 10 recall information

From Welch Allyn: "If you purchased a Welch Allyn AED10 or MRL JumpStart defibrillator your product may be subject to the voluntary recall we initiated on February 25, 2009. Depending upon the date of manufacture, your unit may have a remote chance of having one or more of the following problems":

* Low Energy Shock
* Electromagnetic Noise Interference
* Unexpected Shutdown During Use
* Blown Fuse
* Loss of Voice Prompts
* Shutdown in Cold Temperatures

Researchers shed light on new heart condition Anergia

"Researchers are shedding new light on a syndrome affecting nearly 40 percent of older adults with heart failure: anergia. Anergia, or lack of energy, is a newly delineated, criterion-based geriatric syndrome that is often overlooked or dismissed by doctors and patients alike as simply a natural tiredness associated with "old age". Whether anergia is a result of heart failure or perhaps a potential underlying contributing factor is not entirely clear. However, one thing is certain, researchers say: Fatigue has been shown to have independent long-term prognostic implications in patients with heart failure. Mathew Maurer, associate professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University Medical Centre (CUMC), is the senior co-author of the study." - newKerala

Older patients with 1 type of heart failure may receive little or no benefit from drugs

People over 80 years of age suffering from a certain type of heart failure do not appear to benefit from most commonly prescribed heart medications, according to a study conducted at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and published in the March 15 issue of The American Journal of Cardiology - Physorg.com

Sudden heart failure gene discovered (Holland)

"Researchers have discovered the gene responsible for sudden heart failure among young people, the Amsterdam Medical Centre (AMC) said. In a study, the results of which will be published on the American Journal of Human Genetics website, the focus was on familiar idiopathic ventricle fibrillation, an unexplained life-threatening heart rhythm disorder. People who suffer from this disorder experience unexpected fast contractions of the muscles of the heart chamber. This blocks the heart's regular pumping function and quickly results in cardiac arrest" - 9news

Women's Health for Life by Donnica Moore, M.D.

Women's Health for Life is a unique compilation of women's health information, designed to help women optimize their health, well-being, and quality of life. Written by women physicians for women readers, it discusses topics from contraception to infertility; migraines to menopause; and heartburn to heart disease:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

EuroPRevent 2009

EuroPRevent 2009, the congress of the European Association of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation, will this year mark the culmination of a five-year period of heart-healthy political activity in Europe which saw - in 2007 - the presentation of the European Heart Health Charter to the European Parliament. EuroPRevent 2009 will take place at the Stockholmsmassan in Stockholm, Sweden, from 6-9 May 2009

Stroke Matters - Issue 2

Stroke Matters: Issue 2, February 2009, The Stroke Association quarterly e-publication for professionals in health and social care, is now available for download

Recession thwarts healthy efforts (UK)

"A quarter of people are putting healthier eating on the back burner in the wake of the financial crisis, a report by a consumer watchdog reveals. Which? found 24% of UK adults feel healthier eating is now less important, with 56% saying price has overtaken as a priority when choosing food. And the poll of 2,102 showed 76% think the government needs to take action to make choosing healthier options easier. Meanwhile other work shows more plan to quit smoking during the credit crunch. The charity No Smoking Day day found more than one in three of the nine million smokers in the UK are thinking about or planning to cut down or quit as a direct result of the economic downturn. After health, the most commonly-mentioned reason for wanting to give up smoking is financial, followed by family pressure and the effect on children." - BBC