Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Researchers show new antioxidant could help treat cardiovascular disease (Scotland)

Researchers at the University of Glasgow believe they have found a potential new treatment for cardiovascular disease which reduces blood pressure. Scientists at the British Heart Foundation Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Centre (BHF GCRC) used a recently-developed antioxidant called MitoQ10 to prevent damage to the mitochondria of cells in an experimental model of hypertension and stroke. The researchers found that MitoQ10 improved the function of the endothelial cells which line blood vessels and play an important part in controlling blood pressure, as well as reducing thickening of the heart muscle (cardiac hypertrophy) which results from high blood pressure (hypertension)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Smoking, drinking, lack of exercise interact with genes to increase risk of hypertension

Cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption and lack of exercise can interact with genes to influence a person's risk of developing high blood pressure, according to a report published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics. "The three lifestyle characteristics are well-known risk factors for high blood pressure," said Nora Franceschini, M.D, lead author of the study and assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. "What's new is that we are showing that these behaviors interact with your genes to influence blood pressure levels" - AHA

Bypass surgery has long-term benefits for children with Kawasaki disease

Coronary artery bypass surgery provides long-term benefits for children whose hearts and blood vessels are damaged by Kawasaki disease, Japanese researchers report in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. Researchers followed 114 people for up to 25 years who had bypass surgery as children or adolescents (ages 1 to 19) to treat Kawasaki disease - AHA

The VITamin D and OmegA-3 TriaL (VITAL)

The VITamin D and OmegA-3 TriaL (VITAL) is a research study in 20,000 U.S. men and women investigating whether taking daily dietary supplements of vitamin D (about 2000 IU) or fish oil (about 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acids) reduces the risk of developing cancer, heart disease, and stroke in people who do not have a prior history of these illnesses. Recruitment for the study will begin in January 2010.

New plans to cut heart, stroke death rates (Scotland)

Scotland is on course to cut the number of deaths from heart disease and strokes by half inside a decade, doctors revealed. The health boost was revealed as Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met recovering patients in Glasgow and announced new plans to reduce the death rates even further. They will focus on prevention and treatment, as well as increasing the survival rates for those who are affected. David Clark, chief executive of Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland, said: "We have seen death rates from heart disease and stroke drop by nearly half in the last 10 years. "This new strategy provides an excellent opportunity to take this to the next stage by improving the quality of life for people who survive heart disease and strokes." The NHS in Scotland has targets of reducing premature heart deaths by 60% and stroke by 50% by 2010 from 1995 levels. The last set of figures were published in 2005 and showed deaths from heart attacks had reduced from 18 per 10,000 of the population in 1995 to 12 per 10,000 in 2005. Stroke deaths fell from 3.7 per 10,000 to 2 per 10,000 over the same period - Evening Times

Sunday, June 28, 2009

New Orleans clinic keeps music, musicians alive

Walk into New Orleans' St. Anna's Episcopal Church and you can attend Mass and share a fellowship meal, both with great musical accompaniment. And - if you visit on a Wednesday - you can see folks getting acupuncture treatments or having their blood pressure checked in a hallway near the church's kitchen. This weekly treatment center is run by the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic, in cooperation with its many partners - including the church and some local hospitals. The musicians get a paying gig, a free meal and medical attention

Trans fats affect blood flow

U.S. researchers say partially hydrogenated vegetable oils have trans fats that can interfere with blood flow. The study, scheduled to be published in the journal Atherosclerosis, finds trans fats reduce the amount of an enzyme - prostacyclin - that keeps blood flowing and helps prevents blood clots. "This is the first time that trans fatty acids have been shown to interfere with yet another part of the blood-flow process," study leader Fred Kummerow, emeritus at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, says in a statement. "This study adds another piece of evidence to a long list that points to trans fats as significant contributors to heart disease." - UPI

Binge drinking linked to stroke in men (Korea)

Binge drinking - six or more alcoholic drinks at one occasion at lease once a week - is linked with stroke in South Korean men, researchers said. In the study, binge drinkers were defined as men who drank six or more servings of alcohol and women who drank four or more servings of alcohol on one occasion at least once a week. Most of the alcohol was soju, a native Korean distilled liquor similar to vodka. It is 25 percent alcohol by volume. The study, published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, found the risk of a bleeding stroke - hemorrhagic - was more than 300 percent higher among male binge drinkers, while the risk of total stroke was 86 percent higher among male binge drinkers - UPI

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Peanut butter 'wards off heart disease'

Peanut butter sandwiches, favoured by cartoon character Charlie Brown, could be the secret to beating heart disease, according to new research. A study in the US reveals snacking on peanuts or peanut butter at least five days a week can nearly halve the risk of a heart attack. A team of experts at Harvard Medical School in Boston came up with the findings after studying the eating habits of thousands of women with type two diabetes. The condition dramatically increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Poor diet and lifestyle has led to a surge in the numbers affected by type two diabetes in the UK, up from 1.5 million five years ago to 2.25 million. The latest findings, published in the Journal of Nutrition, support earlier studies on the cardiovascular benefits of peanuts and peanut products. - Mail

Drinking in week before surgery a bad idea, doctors say

Drinking alcohol during the week before heart surgery multiplies the risk of delirium by six times, a study done at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver suggests. Delirium can include agitation, confusion and hallucinations. It may last days or weeks and can delay discharge from hospital or even increase the risk of complications and dying after surgery. Delirium is distressing for family members and increases the burden of care on nursing staff. Previous research has shown that it occurs more frequently in patients who are chronic drinkers and elderly. But in the current study, age was not a risk factor and merely drinking in the week before surgery increased the risk. The study, published in the B.C. Medical Journal, was conducted by six local physicians and a medical student. It was based on the charts of 38 patients who were admitted to St. Paul's for open heart bypass and/or valve surgery over a two-week period - Star Phoenix

The CBHF Mascot competition (UK)

Have you ever dreamt of walking out at Wembley? Enter the CBHF competition for your chance to live that dream! As part of the 'Get Girls into Football Week', you can win a once in a lifetime chance to be an away mascot at the Senior Men's England team v Slovenia at Wembley on Saturday 5 September 2009, courtesy of The Football Association. If you are between 7 and 12 years old you could win the chance to walk out onto the pitch at Wembley with the Slovenian payers at the beginning of the match

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Boy, 10, drives grandfather to hospital (USA)

"A 10-year-old boy drove his grandfather to the hospital last week when the grandfather suffered a heart attack. Lonnie Lee of Roswell said he had incredible chest pains and knew he was having a heart attack, and that his body was telling him that time was up and that he needed to go to the ER immediately. So he asked his grandsons, Nathanael and Rion, to help get him to the hospital. Nathanael, 10, steered as his grandfather operated the pedals." - KRQE

Heart disease to cost economy $18b (Australia)

Heart attack and chronic chest pain will cost the Australian economy an estimated $18 billion this year - a burden that could be avoided. The figure covers a range of costs from hospital bills through to lost productivity resulting from 90,000 new cases of Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS). ACS is a preventable disease, The Heart Foundation's Professor Derek Chew said at the launch of new Access Economics research on Wednesday. "If we all exercised more, if we all controlled our cholesterol, stopped smoking, all those sorts of things, it is estimated that 90 per cent of those heart attacks would not occur," Professor Chew said. The study estimated there will be just over 87,500 ACS events in 2009 - split between approximately 55,000 heart attacks and 32,500 chest pain events. Most of these will occur in men (61 per cent) and they will lead to 10,000 deaths - 9News

Intensive in-hospital support doubles likelihood of smoking cessation in heart patients

Patients admitted to hospital with coronary artery disease are twice as likely to quit smoking after receiving intensive smoking cessation support compared to minimal support, found a new study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The study, a randomised clinical trial, compared intensive intervention with minimal intervention and found that patients admitted for open heart surgery (coronary artery bypass grafts) had significantly higher long-term abstinence rates at 1 year compared with those admitted for heart attacks (acute myocardial infarctions.) Other factors that contributed to successful long-term smoking cessation included absence of a previous heart attack, postsecondary education and at least some smoking restrictions at home. The intervention used in the study resulted in the highest rates of 1-year confirmed smoking cessation in previous tests in the US. - Science Centric

Patients lowering 'bad' cholesterol (USA)

The percentage of U.S. patients lowering their elevated "bad" cholesterol to within target levels nearly doubled in the last decade, researchers found. Dr. David D. Waters, an emeritus professor at University of California in San Francisco who was the lead author of the study, said the Lipid Treatment Assessment Project surveyed nearly 10,000 patients - average age 62 - from nine countries undergoing cholesterol-lowering and management efforts. Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, is known as "bad" cholesterol because it's associated with increased cardiovascular risk. The study was published in the journal Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association - UPI

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

CMAJ 23 June 2009, Volume 180, Issue 13 online

The Canadian Medical Association Journal - 23 June 2009, Volume 180, Issue 13, is now available online

Texas Governor signs landmark early heart disease detection screening legislation

Governor Rick Perry of Texas has signed HB1290, the nation's (USA) first preventive cardiovascular screening bill for early detection of coronary artery disease. The legislation, which will take effect on September 1, requires Texas insurers to pay up to $200 for a either a non-contrast computed tomography (CT) scan measuring coronary artery calcification, commonly known as a Calcium scoring exam, or ultrasonography for measuring carotid intima-media thickness and plaque. The reimbursement is being made available to men between 45 and 76 years of age and women between 55 and 76 who are either diabetic or who have an intermediate or higher risk of developing coronary artery disease, based on the Framingham Heart Study coronary prediction algorithm. The test may be conducted every five years by a certified laboratory - Angioplasty.org

Out of Order video podcast from BHF

"How easy is it for children to buy cigarettes in pubs? Unchallenged? This British Heart Foundation video podcast lays bare the disturbing facts. It's the latest part of our campaign for an immediate ban on the sale of cigarettes from vending machines."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Heart attack man 'saved 12 times' (Wales)

A man whose heart was re-started 12 times has been reunited with the Welsh Ambulance Service staff who saved him. Three ambulance staff fought for an hour to save 35-year-old builder Ian Burston after he suffered a massive heart attack at his girlfriend's home. The father of two from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, thanked them in person after they visited him during his recovery. Paramedic Gareth Williams said: "You do get people back but 12 times is pretty incredible." The incident happened at about 0800 BST on 15 April, when Mr Burston collapsed after feeling unwell on his way to work. Ambulance crew Adrian Cook and Steve Jones were on scene within a minute, closely followed by Mr Williams in a Rapid Response Vehicle. - BBC

Recession 'keeps smokers puffing' (UK)

Many smokers are too stressed by the hard economic times to attempt to give up their habit, research suggests. Almost a quarter (23%) of smokers quizzed by Ipsos Mori said they had put off plans to quit. And 28% said they had simply been too stressed to make a successful attempt to quit in the last six months, blaming job and financial worries. If reflected across the country it could mean more than two million people have delayed plans to quit. - BBC

Music keeps rhythm for heart and lungs

"Cardiovascular and breathing rates consistently fall into step with musical crescendos and rhythms, according to a controlled clinical trial that may give impetus to new musical therapies. Contrary to the conventional view of music as an intensely personal medium, researchers found that the same piece of music had similar cardiovascular effects on all subjects. Taking advantage of these interactions may open the way to standardized treatments for blood pressure control and rehabilitation, Luciano Bernardi, MD, of Pavia University in Pavia, Italy, and colleagues wrote in the June 30 issue of Circulation."

Management of LDL improved over last decade

Patients at risk for coronary heart disease are taking heed and lowering their low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, researchers said. More than 70% of patients have an LDL cholesterol within target levels, nearly double the percentage in the late 90s, David D. Waters, MD, of the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues reported online in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. "Although there is room for improvement, particularly in very high-risk patients, these results indicate that lipid-lowering therapy is being applied much more successfully than it was a decade ago," Dr. Waters said. Many trials have demonstrated that lowering LDL, predominantly with the use of statins, lowers cardiovascular risk. Guidelines have recommended that very high-risk patients achieve a target of less than 70 mg/dL. MedPage Today

More women than men dying of heart disease: Canadian study

Deaths and hospital admissions for heart disease in Canada have dropped by 30 per cent during the past decade, according to a new study to be published Tuesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. However, more women than men are dying of cardiovascular causes, especially elderly women. The study, touted as the first of its kind in Canada, analyzed data from Statistics Canada's national death registry, which contains information on the cause of all deaths in the country. The 10-year study, conducted between 1994 and 2004, showed high mortality rates and hospital admissions related to cardiovascular diseases - such as heart attacks, heart failure and stroke - in women. Of the patients who died of cardiovascular diseases in 1994, 49.3 per cent were women. That increased to 50.7 per cent a decade later. - Star Phoenix

Pictures from the BHF London to Brighton Bike Ride 2009

Here are pictures from the British Heart Foundation's London to Brighton Bike Ride 2009

Half-price Saskatoon Yellow Jackets game

When you purchase your ticket for this Saskatoon Yellow Jackets game on July 16, 2009, you just have to mention that you are either a Heart and Stroke volunteer or Survivor

Autopsy finds Tasered man died of heart attack (Australia)

"A woman claiming to have witnessed a fatal Taser incident in north Queensland last week says she begged police to stop continuously zapping him with the electric stun gun moments before he died. Antonio Galeano, 39, died after being shot with a 50,000-volt Taser stun gun during a violent confrontation with police at a unit in Brandon, near Townsville last Friday. Police initially said Mr Galeano was shot three times but data recorded by the Taser showed it operated on 28 separate cycles during the confrontation." - Brisbane Times

Fish oil may be good for you but it can be pricey (USA)

"Almost 800,000 people are expected to have their first heart attack this year. Along with traditional medicine such as statins, omega-3 oils found in fish have been shown to help prevent heart disease. Fish oil is sold as a dietary supplement, but now it comes as a prescription, too. Lovaza is one of the first supplements to be offered as a prescription. Lovaza has a concentrated amount of fish oil, so if you need to take a high dose to lower your triglycerides, you can do so by taking fewer pills, which is more convenient. Consumer Reports says Lovaza is expensive, costing roughly $160 a month. And even people with existing heart disease don't usually need the high dose it offers. The American Heart Association recommends one gram of omega-3s per day for people with existing heart disease. You can easily get that much from one or two capsules of a fish oil supplement"

Exercise recommended in post heart attack, cancer therapy

Exercise and weight training after a serious illness such as a heart attack or cancer is often recommended as part of recovery therapy even when the patient is old or not athletic. Though it can't entirely replace medicine, it can result in the need for smaller dosages. "All people who have had a tumour profit from physical activity," said Freerk Baumann of a research institute in Germany's sports college in Cologne dedicated to circulation and sports medicine. Activity can reduce fears and restore confidence in one's physical condition, he added. In patients who have had heart and circulation disease, research indicates the positive effect of physical activity. In a study conducted at the University of Leipzig, a team led by Professor Rainer Hambrecht showed that people with a minor type of cardiovascular illness who used physical activity in their recovery did just as well as people who relied on common treatments such as stents or angioplasty - Earth Times

BCHS cardiac & pulmonary rehab patients travel up, up, and away (USA)

BCHS cardiac & pulmonary rehab patients travel up, up, and away (USA)Battle Creek has a long history of international balloon competitions. Keeping that theme in mind, earlier this spring 65 cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation patients at Battle Creek Health System, Michigan, began their 'flights to fame' too. Their training did not include stretching nylon material or loading propane tanks into gondolas, but instead involved putting on tennis shoes, hiking up their workout gear, and 'walking' 'cycling,' 'stair climbing,' and 'rowing' their way around the world on the BCHS campus. Even though 18 of them logged in enough miles to 'finish,' all of them experienced a successful journey. "The goal was to have our patients 'travel' the 23,180-mile circuit, the same distance as circling the globe in a hot air balloon," says Nathan Burns, exercise specialist at Battle Creek Health System. "Our patients weren't out sailing in the atmosphere per se, but they did receive credit for exercise they completed in the rehab exercise program. One hour of exercise computed to 400 miles of credit. The goal was to log in 23,000+ miles from last October through this spring. Our patients worked this challenge by using a wide variety of exercise equipment from treadmills and cycles to recumbent steppers and rowing machines. All told, more than 1.1 million miles were completed by our patients." - BCHS

Friday, June 19, 2009

Live With a Healthy Heart - videos from the British Heart Foundation

The British Heart Foundation has a new series of six videos called Live With a Healthy Heart, about heart disease and risk factors for people with learning disabilities, is now available on our British Heart Foundation YouTube Channel. Here's the Introduction:

Aerobically unfit young adults on road to diabetes in middle age (USA)

Researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine have found that young adults (18 to 30 years old) with low aerobic fitness levels - as measured by a treadmill test - are two to three times more likely to develop diabetes in 20 years than those who are fit. The study also shows that young women and young African Americans are less aerobically fit than men and white adults in the same age group, placing a larger number of these population subgroups at risk for diabetes. 'These young adults are setting the stage for chronic disease in middle age by not being physically active and fit,' said Mercedes Carnethon, lead author and assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern's Feinberg School. 'People who have low fitness in their late teens and 20's tend to stay the same later in life or even get worse. Not many climb out of that category.' The study will be published in the July issue of Diabetes Care. - Science Centric

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Phones, Internet may help extend our lives

Phones, Internet may help extend our lives"Modern communication technologies such as cell phones and the internet don't just make our lives easier - they may even make our lives longer, at least when the devices are used to keep good communication between patients and their doctors. New research finds that heart patients who used tele-health systems to talk to their doctors and nurses were less likely to have future heart attacks or other forms of coronary artery disease. A new study published today finds that telephones and internet devices can help heart patients reduce their risk factors and lower their odds of future heart attacks. Patients use these modern technologies to talk to nurses or doctors who can answer questions, as well as guide patients in a personalized care program. Researchers in Australia examined 11 studies that contained more than 3,000 patients to see if tele-communication could actually improve people's health. They found that people using phones or the internet to talk to their health-care providers tended to have a lower rate of death. In addition, patients improved on many risk factors for heart disease - they lowered their cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and reduced their smoking. They even increased their physical activity as well. Researchers say that today's patients lead busy lives and often don't want to come in for face-to-face appointments. Modern technology allows patients, nurses and doctors to have conversations about diet, medications, and exercise programs that would not have happened otherwise. Source: published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation"

Pioneering vein op a success (UK)

"A Derby, UK, heart-bypass patient has been one of the first in the East Midlands to benefit from pioneering medical technology. Leslie Partridge feared he was going to be left with a long scar running down his leg when he was taken to hospital for a triple heart-bypass. Surgeons traditionally make a long cut to remove a vein, which runs between the groin and ankle and then use it to improve the blood supply to the heart. This leaves patients vulnerable to infection and means they have to spend longer recovering. But, thanks to new technology, the 71-year-old had just two small cuts made to his right leg. A small camera was then inserted which allowed his surgeon to see inside his leg without cutting it open." - Derby Telegraph

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Why smoking may increase heart risk

"U.S. researchers suggest nicotine may be a reason smoking increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles and Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, Calif., said the studies in animals found nicotine promotes insulin resistance - a prediabetic condition where blood-sugar levels are above normal. Other studies show people with prediabetes are at greater risk of developing stroke, heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases. The researchers studied the effects of twice-daily injections of nicotine on 24 adult mice during a two-week period. "Our results in mice show that nicotine administration leads to both weight loss and decreased food intake," study researcher Theodore Friedman of Charles Drew University said in a statement. "Mice exposed to nicotine have less fat. In spite of this, mice have abnormal glucose tolerance and are insulin resistant." In the tests, the mice receiving nicotine also had high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which increases blood pressure and blood sugar. "Our results suggest that decreasing insulin resistance may reduce the heart disease seen in smokers," Friedman said. The study was presented at The Endocrine Society's 91st annual meeting in Washington" - UPI

Monday, June 15, 2009

Psoriasis linked to vascular disease (USA)

Patients with psoriasis are at increased risk for atherosclerosis and accompanying vascular diseases, researchers found. Among predominantly male patients at a Veterans Affairs medical center, the skin disease was associated with a greater likelihood of ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and peripheral arterial disease, as well as death, according to Robert Kirsner, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Miami, and colleagues. "This result is not surprising, given the systemic nature of atherosclerosis," the researchers wrote in the June issue of Archives of Dermatology. - medpage Today

2009 Stroke Report Card - Heart and Stroke Foundation

2009 Stroke Report Card - full report: "According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, 250,000 Canadians currently diagnosed with the most common type of heart arrhythmia - atrial fibrillation (AF) - are at least five times more at risk to have a stroke and twice as likely to die from one. More worrisome is that the vast majority may not be aware of their stroke risk"

4th UK Stroke Forum Conference

4th UK Stroke Forum Conference: bringing together the multidisciplinary stroke community to improve stroke care in the UK - 1-3 December 2009 - Glasgow, Scotland

Stroke News - Summer 2009 (UK)

Stroke News - Summer 2009 (UK)From the editor of Stroke News - Summer 2009: "It never ceases to amaze me how some people can face all sorts of difficulties after a stroke, both psychological and physical, and yet go on to achieve the most amazing things. This issue features several amazing stroke survivors. Larry Cotton is 78 and is still diving after his stroke even though he can't move one side, and he's just been to the Red Sea on a diving trip. And why not read about the stroke survivors who have found that singing can help to improve their communication difficulties on page 16. Whatever you do, keeping up with your hobbies is a good start"

Greece to impose smoking ban on July 1 in third attempt to stamp out the nation's cigarette habit

"Greece will impose a tobacco ban in public places on July 1 in its third attempt in a decade to stamp out the habit in Europe's biggest-smoking nation, the health ministry said on Thursday. Under the terms of a law voted a year ago, thousands of restaurants and bars over 70 square metres will have to build sealed-off smoking areas" - Telegraph

Hypertension among lower-status employees lingers well into retirement

Retirement from some occupations may not provide relief from the potentially devastating health effects of work-related hypertension, according to a new study from UC Davis. Published in the June issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the study is the first to show that retirement-aged Americans who held higher-status jobs - such as chief executives, financial managers and management analysts - tend to have the lowest rates of hypertension, while those who had lower-status jobs tend to have the highest rates. Hypertension is diagnosed when blood pressure on the artery walls is consistently too high. This condition can eventually damage cells of the arteries' inner lining, leading to angina, heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, kidney failure and other serious health problems. "People's occupations during their working years can clearly be a risk for hypertension after they retire," said senior study author Paul Leigh, a professor with the Center for Healthcare Policy and Research and the Department of Public Health Sciences at UC Davis. "The body seems to have built up a stress reaction that takes years to ramp down and may last well beyond age 75" - EurekAlert

Beat It!

Beat It!The Beat It! campaign started with the support of the European Heart Rhythm Association to reduce the impact of sudden cardiac death. Beat It! aims to cut the incidence of sudden cardiac death by public education and the greater availability of portable electronic defibrillators able to diagnose and treat the potentially life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias of ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia. The Beat It! campaign has already seen visible results in the congress's host city of Berlin, where portable defibrillators have been placed in shopping centres, theatres and metro stations - as part of a joint initiative of 'Lions Clubs International' and the 'European Heart Rhythm Association'. In support of the Beat It! campaign, Richard von Weizs├Ącker, past Mayor of Berlin and past President of the Federal Republic of Germany, will address the congress during the Sudden cardiac death and cardiac arrhythmias: Beat It! session on Monday 22 June from 14:00 to 15:30

Mayo Clinic receives $48 million in grants to study catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation

"Mayo Clinic received $48 million in grants from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a component of the National Institutes of Health, and from industry to study the treatment of atrial fibrillation in 3,000 patients and 140 centers around the world. Mayo Clinic is leading the study. The Catheter Ablation Versus Anti-arrhythmic Drug Therapy for Atrial Fibrillation (CABANA) Trial is designed to determine whether catheter ablation is more effective than drug therapy for the treatment of atrial fibrillation, says Douglas Packer, M.D., the trial's principal investigator and a cardiologist at Mayo Clinic. The study, which will take six years from beginning to releasing results, is a collaborative effort among Dr. Packer and Richard Robb, Ph.D., at Mayo Clinic, Kerry Lee, Ph.D., and Daniel Mark, M.D., at Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham, N.C., and the NHLBI. Funding for the trial consists of $18 million from NHLBI/NIH, $20 million from St. Jude Medical and $10 million from Biosense Webster. Atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac arrhythmia seen by physicians and affects more than 2 million Americans"

Sunday, June 14, 2009

CMAJ 9 June 2009, Volume 180, Issue 12 online

The Canadian Medical Association Journal - 9 June 2009, Volume 180, Issue 12, is now available online

Basic anatomy 'baffles Britons'

Basic anatomy 'baffles Britons'"Many people in the UK are unable to identify the location of their major organs, a study suggests. A team at King's College London found public understanding of basic anatomy has not improved since a similar survey was conducted 40 years ago. Less than 50% of the more than 700 people surveyed could correctly place the heart, BMC Family Practice says." - BBC

World Blood Donor Day 2009 (June 14)

World Blood Donor Day 2009 (June 14)"World Blood Donor Day builds on the success of World Health Day 2000 which was devoted to the theme 'Blood Saves Lives. Safe Blood Starts With Me.' The enthusiasm and energy with which this day was celebrated indicated that there would be a positive response to an opportunity to give thanks to the millions of people who give the precious gift of life. It also builds on International Blood Donor Day organized annually by the International Federation of Blood Donor Organizations since 1995. The event on 14 June 2005 is not intended to replace events such as national Blood Donor Days, but provides a special opportunity for a united, global celebration on a day that has particular significance: the birthday of Karl Landsteiner, the Nobel prize winner who discovered the ABO blood group system. "

The silent menace of cholesterol

Danish researchers said they have found the strongest evidence yet that an often ignored form of cholesterol can cause heart attacks. They said people with higher levels of a little-understood form of cholesterol called lipoprotein (a), which varies up to a thousand fold from one person to another, were also more likely to have heart attacks. Statins - taken by millions to cut heart attack and stroke risk - do not affect lipoprotein (a) but the findings may encourage the development of new cholesterol-lowering drugs, said Borge Nordestgaard of Copenhagen University Hospital, who led the study. The research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that people with the highest lipoprotein (a) levels were two to three times more likely to have a heart attack than those with the lowest levels

Conference told battle against heart disease is far from over (Northern Ireland)

"The number of people who have lost their lives as a result of heart complications has fallen by more than 70% in the last 25 years. However, a conference to mark the achievements of Professor Frank Pantridge has also heard that this has led to more people than ever before living with the physical and mental consequences of coronary heart disease. In an address to the Prof Frank Pantridge Legacy Symposium, Andrew Dougal, chief executive of Northern Ireland Chest, Heart and Stroke, paid tribute to the cardiologist who transformed emergency medicine around the world and who died in 2004 - but warned that the battle against heart disease was far from over."

Hepatitis C increases risk of cardiovascular disease

'Hepatitis C virus increases the risk of coronary artery disease, a large American study published in the 15th July edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases has found. The study involved over 160,000 individuals, approximately half of whom were infected with hepatitis C. Despite having fewer risk factors for cardiovascular disease, the hepatitis C-infected individuals were more likely to have been diagnosed with coronary artery disease. 'This is the largest study to determine the role of hepatitis C virus infection in the risk if coronary artery disease', write the investigators. A number of infectious diseases, including HIV have been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Many patients with HIV are co-infected with hepatitis C, and these individuals have a higher risk of early death from a number of causes than patients who are only infected with HIV" - NAM

Death rate declines for those admitted to hospital after heart attack: report (Canada)

"Progress is being made in the fight against one of the leading causes of death in Canada, with new statistics Thursday showing that fewer Canadians are dying from heart attacks after being admitted to hospital. The hospital admission rate for heart attack patients in Canada (excluding Quebec) dropped 13 per cent over five years, says the annual Health Indicators report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information. And for those who do suffer a heart attack and are admitted to hospital, the outcomes are better. Death rates in hospital within 30 days of admission were down 11 per cent in the five-year period ending in 2007-2008. And unplanned readmissions to hospital after a heart attack fell by 31 per cent" - Canada East

Free heart tests in memory of teenage Brentford fan (UK)

The Tom Clabburn Memorial Fund will be running free heart screenings for young people at Brentford Football Club as part of a Cry and Philips Test My Heart Tour, the first free national heart screening programme, which aims to promote awareness of sudden death syndrome and sudden cardiac arrest among 14 to 35-year-olds.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Chemical in baby bottles 'raises risk of heart disease'

"A chemical found babies' bottles, tin cans and CD cases may raise the risk of heart disease in women. Research shows that bisphenol A - a building block of many commonly used plastics - can cause potentially dangerous alterations to cardiac rhythm. Although the studies were applied to female mice and rats, scientists warn that women's health could also be at risk. Researcher Scott Belcher said: 'These studies have identified new and important cardiac risks associated with bisphenol A exposure that may be especially important for women's heart health.' The finding adds to a long list of health problems linked to the chemical which is found in the linings of many food and drink cans." - Mail

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lacking sleep boosts risk of high blood pressure, study finds

Sleeping less than seven or eight hours a night as a routine puts people at risk for high blood pressure, a study found. The less the adults participating in the research slept, the more likely they were to see their blood pressure rise, according to research published in Archives of Internal Medicine. For every hour of missed sleep, odds of developing the condition rose an average 37 percent over five years, said Kristen Knutson, the lead author. Skipping two hours sleep raised the blood pressure risk 86 percent - Bloomberg

Is angioplasty worth the risk?

"Angioplasty is one of the most common medical procedures in the U.S.; in 2006 more than 1.3 million were done. But recent studies have cast doubt on its benefits. Now CBS News medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook reports on the controversy over whether too many people are getting angioplasty at hospitals that may not be prepared if something goes wrong"

Older cardiac patients equally benefit from cardiac rehab

"Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide and a major driver of medical and economic costs, especially among older adults. It has long been established that cardiac rehabilitation improves survival, at least in middle-aged, low- and moderate-risk white men. Now a large Brandeis University-led study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reports that older cardiac patients benefit as much from cardiac rehab as their younger counterparts. Worldwide, in 2004, 7.2 million people died from CHD, while in the United States alone, more than 13 million people suffered from CHD, and almost half a million died from heart disease in 2003. Moreover, Americans aged 65 and older account for more than 55 percent of heart attacks and 86 percent of CHD deaths." - EmaxHealth

Monday, June 8, 2009

102-year-old Hatfield man survives heart attack (UK)

"A survivor of the D-Day landings has survived a heart attack just a few weeks before he turned 102. William Riley, of Southdown Road, will celebrate his birthday today with an extra large smile, as the Hatfield man had just recovered from a heart murmer. The veteran had been in hospital on May 1st after the heart attack, but within days he was back out and full of his usual self again" - Archant

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Knebworth Jog 2009 - video

Video from the British Heart Foundation's Knebworth Jog 2009

13th Annual HFSA Scientific Meeting Information

The 13th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Heart Failure Society of America will be held on Sunday, September 13, through Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, Massachusetts

Overweight teen boys show heart damage (USA)

"Despite having normal blood pressure, U.S. researchers say overweight male teens show signs of heart damage. Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta looked at 126 healthy 15- to 17-year-old students in a local high school and found overweight males showed elevated levels of the hormone aldosterone. This hormone produced by the adrenal gland is known to increase sodium, water retention and blood pressure. The researchers suggest the overweight males' thickened heart walls and an increase in the size of the pumping chamber of the heart may be linked to aldosterone-linked inflammation and formation of fibrous tissue in the heart muscle, the researchers say. Overweight females in the group did not have elevated aldosterone levels or the associated heart damage, perhaps the researchers say, because of estrogen's protective effect on the heart. "These associations give us reason to question whether we should be screening for and treating high aldosterone in obese males with normal pressures, particularly those with a family history of cardiovascular disease," Dr. Dayal D. Raja of the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, the study's leader, said in a statement. The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists in Houston"

Rapping Nurses? Boston hospitals launch creative hand-washing campaigns

"With all the reminders lately to wash your hands to prevent the spread of flu, you might feel like you're back in grade school. But it can be so hard to get people to follow proper hand hygiene that even many doctors and nurses don't do it correctly. That contributes to 1.7 million hospital-acquired infections each year. So several Boston hospitals have launched hand-washing campaigns, including some that involve rap music videos and undercover surveillance:"

Cal-Stat Rap from WBUR on Vimeo.

Fatigue common after myocardial infarction

"Half of all patients who undergo myocardial infarction are experiencing onerous fatigue four months after the infarction. The patients who are most fatigued are those who perceive the infarction as a sign of chronic illness, those who experience the illness as difficult to control, and those who believe that the illness has a large impact on their life. These are the conclusions of a thesis presented at the Sahlgrenska Academy, Sweden"

HEARTS aims to save young lives (USA)

In May, nearly 100 6th graders were screened for cardiac problems at Key Middle School, Texas, USA. Preliminary results show that 10 of those children had problems that needed medical treatment. Two of those students had heart abnormalities that could have led to sudden death. The findings led those two children to be treated at Children’s Memorial Hermann. Five other Key Middle School students had heart conditions that need to be monitored. Three more students had high blood pressure problems that required treatment. The results surprised Dr. John Higgins, the principal investigator of the Houston Early Age Risk Testing and Screening Study or HEARTS program

SCA Foundation announces winners of video contest

"Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Foundation has announced the winners of its first video contest designed to raise awareness of sudden cardiac arrest. The student competition drove teams from across the country (USA) to submit videos about the importance of CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) use, and empowering students to make a difference in helping to save lives. The Grand Prize Winner is St. Francis de Sales Catholic School in Salisbury, Maryland. The SCA Foundation will award the school with a new AED, three CPR Anytime™ kits, and a Nintendo Wii game system"

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Dead US man gets parking tickets

"Officials in New York have found the decomposing body of a man inside a van parked for weeks beneath a busy highway overpass, gathering parking tickets. The city's medical examiner said George Morales, 59, had died naturally of heart disease. His body was found in the back seat only when the vehicle was being towed away after members of the public reported a foul odour in the area. Police said officers would not normally search vehicles they ticketed. The daughter of Mr Morales said she couldn't understand how no one noticed her father inside the Chevy Ventura. "They just gave him tickets," Jennifer Morales told the New York Daily News. She said she had reported her father's disappearance, but the police said they had no record of it. They did, however, say that they are looking into the case" - BBC

International Journal of COPD

International Journal of COPD - an international, peer-reviewed journal of therapeutics and pharmacology focusing on concise rapid reporting of clinical studies and reviews in COPD. Special focus will be given to the pathophysiological processes underlying the disease, intervention programs, patient focused education, and self management protocols. This journal is directed at specialists and healthcare professionals - DovePress

Key to blood clotting discovered

Key to blood clotting discoveredScientists have discovered a molecular mechanism that is key to regulating the way blood clots. The team from Harvard University, writing in the journal Science, said the finding could help treat people who have blood-clotting disorders. If blood clots too much, people can develop a potentially fatal thrombosis; too little and they can bleed to death. UK experts said the research was important and could help develop new treatments for blood disorders - BBC

Friday, June 5, 2009

Middle-aged women experience more stress but have lower blood pressure (Sweden)

"Both blood pressure and serum lipid levels have improved in Swedish middle-aged women during the past 30 years. Levels of perceived mental stress, however, have increased significantly. These are the of a thesis presented at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. The study is part of the Prospective Population Study of Women in Gothenburg, Sweden. This study was initiated at the end of the 1960s, when 1,462 middle-aged women were examined, and interviewed about their lifestyle and other matters. These women have subsequently been followed up into the 21st century, as well as compared with new generations of middle-aged women who have been examined at later dates, as part of the Prospective Population Study" - Science Centric

Home-based stroke rehab beneficial, heart and Stroke Foundation study shows

"Dramatic improvements in the ability of patients to move their arms and hands after stroke might be achieved with a simple take-home exercise book, researchers funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation have found. A total of 103 stroke patients in British Columbia were recruited for the four week program called Graded Repetitive Arm Supplementary Program (GRASP). It involves a series of arm and hand exercises that don’t require constant supervision by a therapist. This means the program can be continued easily at home after leaving hospital" - HSF

Hypertension Summer School 2009

Hypertension Summer School 2009 - 19-25 September, 2009 - Smolenice, Slovakia

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Coffee seen OK for diabetic men

"There's reassuring news for coffee lovers with type 2 diabetes. Drinking even fairly high amounts of coffee does not raise the risk of developing heart diseases in diabetic men or increase their risk of dying early, according to a brief report in the medical journal Diabetes Care"

'Dying husband saved my life': Tribute to heart victim who managed to stop car (UK)

'Dying husband saved my life': Tribute to heart victim who managed to stop car"A husband who died of a heart attack at the wheel has been hailed a hero after it emerged he almost certainly saved his wife's life by keeping the car largely under control as he collapsed. Peter Stubbs, of Richmond Avenue, Sowerby Bridge, managed to all but stop his Chevrolet as he was suddenly taken ill. It meant when the vehicle collided with a parked Citroen Saxo in Sowerby New Road, Sowerby Bridge, it was going so slow that wife Tracy suffered only minor injuries" - Evening Courier

Heart Failure 2009: webcasts now available

A selection of webcasts from Heart Failure 2009, May 30 to June 2, is now available for viewing

Obesity and diabetes double risk of heart failure

The twin epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes will continue to fuel an explosion in heart failure, already the world's most prevalent chronic cardiovascular disease, according to John McMurray, professor of cardiology at the Western Infirmary, Glasgow, and President of the Heart Failure Association. He reported that around one-third of patients with heart failure have evidence of diabetes, and for them the outlook is very serious. For doctors, he added, effective treatment is "very difficult".

Defibrillators installed on NSW trains (Australia)

Defibrillators installed on NSW trains (Australia)"Life-saving devices to help heart attack victims are being installed on major NSW stations and long-haul trains after a successful trial. The rollout of more than 100 defibrillators, designed to be used by commuters and railway staff, comes after a life was saved during a trial of just five machines. NSW Premier Nathan Rees said the units were aimed to provide vital help during the 24 cases of heart attack on RailCorp platforms and trains recorded on average each year. They will be installed on the network's busiest stations including Central, Strathfield, Parramatta and Penrith, as well as in Newcastle, Maitland and Gosford. The defibrillators will also be available onboard CountryLink XPT and Xplorer trains." - 9News

Drug-coated stents are effective for elderly

Stents coated with the drug paclitaxel may be a safe, effective treatment option for coronary artery disease (CAD) patients age 70 and older and shouldn’t be withheld due to advanced patient age, according to a study reported in Circulation: Cardiovascular Intervention

Health Canada is warning Canadians not to use Slim Magic Herbal weight loss products

Health Canada is warning Canadians not to use Slim Magic Herbal weight loss products"Health Canada is warning consumers not to use the unauthorized product Slim Magic Herbal, which is promoted as a weight-loss product, as it was found to contain an undeclared pharmaceutical ingredient similar to the prescription drug sibutramine. Canadians who have this Slim Magic Herbal product are advised to immediately discontinue its use. Sibutramine is a prescription drug used to treat obesity. The use of sibutramine may cause serious side-effects, including cardiovascular reactions, such as increased blood pressure, chest pain, and stroke, in addition to dry mouth, difficulty sleeping and constipation. Sibutramine should only be used under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner. Sibutramine should not be taken by people who have had a heart attack, coronary artery disease, heart-related chest pain, irregular heart beats, congestive heart failure, a stroke or symptoms of a stroke, in individuals with controlled or poorly controlled high blood pressure, or in patients who are depressed or have a pyschiatric illness. Sibutramine is not recommended for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to become pregnant." - Marketwire

'Heart machines' set for Subway (Scotland)

'Heart machines' set for Subway (Scotland)"Potentially life-saving defibrillators are to be installed at six key Subway stations in Glasgow. Strathclyde Partnership for Transport said staff would be trained to use the equipment which can restart a person's heart when they suffer cardiac arrest. It is part of a wider campaign by the British Heart Foundation to provide 100 defibrillators at 100 locations across the city. The charity hopes to raise £100,000 to purchase the equipment. Ron Culley, chief executive of SPT, said: "Unfortunately statistics still show that a high number of people living in and around Glasgow are struck down by heart attack" - BBC

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New obesity surgery goes through mouth

"Doctors are testing a new kind of obesity surgery without any cuts through the abdomen, snaking a tube as thick as a garden hose down the throat to snap staples into the stomach. The experimental, scar-free procedure creates a narrow passage that slows the food as it moves from the upper stomach into the lower stomach, helping patients feel full more quickly and eat less. Doctors say preliminary results from about 200 U.S. patients and 100 in Europe look promising." - AP

The Open Cardiovascular Imaging Journal - Volume 1

The Open Cardiovascular Imaging Journal is an open access online journal, which publishes original full length, short research articles (letters), reviews on cardiovascular imaging. Imaging techniques covered include magnetic resonance and spectroscopy, positron emission tomography, computed tomography, radionuclide, molecular, nuclear cardiology, echocardiography, non-invasive and X-ray imaging, all advances in heart failure research. Coverage includes basic to clinical research, pathogenesis, prevention and treatment of heart failure. Volume 1, 2009 now available

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

First heart patients implanted with next-generation mechanical heart pump

"Three patients at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center were among the first in the United States to be implanted with a next-generation artificial heart pump called the DuraHeart Left-Ventricular Assist System. The surgeries took place earlier this year. New York-Presbyterian/Columbia is one of only three centers in the U.S. currently enrolling patients in a clinical trial studying the device. The DuraHeart is designed to sustain patients with severe left-ventricular heart failure while they wait for a heart transplant. Without intervention, they are at risk of death"

Treadmill to help diagnose heart problems (Canada)

"There is a new, state-of-the-art treadmill at Mission Memorial Hospital, British Columbia, Canada, that will be used to help diagnose heart problems. This new equipment, which runs a test called Exercise Tolerance Test, was purchased with a $10,000 donation to the Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation from the Envision Charitable Foundation."

Silver nanoparticles show 'immense potential' in prevention of blood clots

Scientists are reporting discovery of a potential new alternative to aspirin, ReoPro, and other anti-platelet agents used widely to prevent blood clots in coronary artery disease, heart attack and stroke. Their study involves particles of silver - 1/50,000th the diameter of a human hair - that are injected into the bloodstream. Debabrata Dash and colleagues point out that patients urgently need new anti-thrombotic agents because traditionally prescribed medications too-often cause dangerous bleeding. At the same time, aging of the population, sedentary lifestyle and spiraling rates of certain diseases have increased the use of these drugs. Researchers are seeking treatments that more gently orchestrate activity of platelets, disk-shaped particles in the blood that form clots - American Chemical Society

Smoking major cause of rise in cardiac deaths (India)

Smoking major cause of rise in cardiac deaths (India)As cardiovascular diseases pose one of the biggest health threats in the country, experts believe tobacco consumption is emerging as a major "preventable" risk factor in making the population prone to heart disorders and lowering the age of vulnerability. Tobacco intake, especially smoking, is also a major cause of rise in sudden cardiac deaths, particularly in patients who have no known history or genetic disposal towards cardiac ailments, cardiologists say. "While there are a number of factors that make people prone to cardiac problems, besides genes, tobacco is the most notable facilitator that is leaving a large section of population with blocked arteries and troubled vascular systems," said Dr Balbir Singh, senior cardiologist at Delhi's Apollo hospital - Zeenews

Survivor contestant dies in Philippines

A Bulgarian competing in the reality TV show Survivor Bulgaria died of a heart attack during filming at a beach resort in the central Philippines, local television reports. Moncho Vodnicharov, 53, died on the way to hospital after he collapsed at Gotta Beach resort while filming the show, ABS-CBN television said, quoting local police chief Ayn Natuel. "After performing an activity as part of the contest, he suffered cardiac arrest that resulted in his instant death," said Natuel - TVNZ

ArrhythmiA Awareness Week (UK)

ArrhythmiA Awareness Week (UK)ArrhythmiA Awareness Week - 8-14 June 2009 - raising awareness of arrhythmias and sudden death in your respective area

CRY Philips TestMyHeart Tour 09 (UK)

CRY Philips TestMyHeart Tour 2009"The CRY Philips Test My Heart Tour 09 is the first free tour of its kind in England and has been made possible by charity CRY, health and well-being company Philips, through the fund raising efforts of families whose lives have been affected by Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) or Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD), and the Gwyneth Forrester Trust. The tour aims to test over 3'000 14-35 year old's hearts to identify heart conditions which could potentially prove fatal if left untreated. Philips has donated state of the art ECG and ECHO imaging systems to equip the mobile screening unit on its tour across England. Health and wellness for the patient are at the heart of all Philips' medical technologies. Philips' Advanced Heart Monitoring equipment is designed around the needs of patients and healthcare providers to ensure that tests are as efficient and relaxing as possible. In partnership with CRY, Philips' goal is to help more families understand the simple steps that can be taken to try to reduce the number of SDS deaths"

Video: open heart surgery at the Wellcome Institute (UK)

An audience of 200 people gather to watch a surgeon perform open heart surgery live:

Monday, June 1, 2009

Tomato pill 'beats heart disease'

Tomato pill 'beats heart disease'"Scientists say a natural supplement made from tomatoes, taken daily, can stave off heart disease and strokes. The tomato pill contains an active ingredient from the Mediterranean diet - lycopene - that blocks "bad" LDL cholesterol that can clog the arteries. Ateronon, made by a biotechnology spin-out company of Cambridge University, is being launched as a dietary supplement and will be sold on the high street. Experts said more trials were needed to see how effective the treatment is. Preliminary trials involving around 150 people with heart disease indicate that Ateronon can reduce the oxidation of harmful fats in the blood to almost zero within eight weeks, a meeting of the British Cardiovascular Society will be told at Ateronon's launch on Monday" - BBC