Friday, July 31, 2009

Obesity costs $147 bn a year, US researchers say

Obesity costs $147 bn a year, US researchers sayObesity-related diseases account for nearly 10 per cent of all medical spending in the United States or an estimated $147 billion (£89 billion) a year, US researchers said on Monday. They said obese people spend 40 per cent more - or $1,429 (£867) more per year - in healthcare costs than people of normal weight. Overall obesity-related health spending has doubled in less than 10 years, according to the study published on Monday by the journal Health Affairs. "It is critical that we take effective steps to contain and reduce the enormous burden of obesity on our nation," Dr Thomas Frieden, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a news conference at a CDC obesity meeting where the study was presented. "Reversing obesity is not going to be done successfully with individual effort," Dr Frieden said. "It will be done successfully as a society."

Heart risk rising in younger Canadians

"Cardiovascular disease is declining in Canada overall, but it is increasing in adults under age 50 of lower socioeconomic status, researchers said. The researchers at the Peter Munk Cardiac Center at Toronto General Hospital studied national trends in heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and smoking prevalence from 1994-2005. The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found the prevalence of heart disease and diabetes is rising fastest among Canadians of lower socioeconomic status. However, the prevalence of hypertension and obesity is increasing in nearly all Canadians, but is rising fastest in those with higher incomes" - UPI

Cigarette packaging design impacts safety (Canada)

"A majority of consumers say cigarettes are less hazardous when the packs display words such as "silver" or "smooth," Canadian researchers find. Study leader David Hammond of the University of Waterloo calls for for the list of words banned from cigarette packaging to be expanded beyond the current prohibition of "light," "mild" and "low-tar." Hammond also suggests that other pack design elements may need to be eliminated to prevent consumers erroneously believing that one brand is less harmful than another. "Our study found that commonly used words not covered by the bans, as well as other packaging design elements such as color, the use of numbers and references to filters, were just as misleading, which means there's a loophole that needs to be closed," Hammond says in a statement" - UPI

Raw and smelly, fresh crushed garlic is best for the heart

Garlic is best for your heart when it is raw, crushed and smelly rather than when it is processed or cooked, according to a study by U.S. scientists. For centuries garlic has been hailed for its health benefits but cardiovascular researchers from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine said they have the first scientific evidence that freshly crushed garlic has more potent heart-healthy effects than dried garlic. Their study, based on feeding garlic to rats for 30 days, also challenged the belief that most of garlic's benefits are due to its rich array of antioxidants. - Reuters now live

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

High calcium level in arteries "signals heart attack risk"

High calcium level in arteries may signal serious risk of heart attack, according to a new study. The study, published in the online edition of Radiology, claims that scientists may be able to predict future severe cardiac events in patients with known, stable coronary artery disease, thanks to coronary calcium scoring - ANI

Many heart disease patients not referred for rehab (USA)

Despite evidence that cardiac rehabilitation helps patients following discharge from the hospital, almost half of heart disease patients eligible for such rehabilitation are not referred for it, according to a new study. Cardiac rehabilitation involves exercise and counseling on diet and other risk factors. It has been shown to decrease the likelihood of future heart problems. Dr. Todd M. Brown, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, analyzed data from the American Heart Association's Get With The Guidelines program. Included were 72,817 patients who were discharged from 156 hospitals in the US after a heart attack or procedure such as placement of a stent or bypass surgery to clear blocked arteries feeding the heart, between January 2000 and September 2007. Brown and colleagues note in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that just 56 percent of patients were referred for cardiac rehabilitation, the report indicates. Those who had undergone bypass operations were more likely - 74 percent overall - to be referred. "Increased physician awareness about the benefits of cardiac rehabilitation and initiatives to overcome barriers to referral are critical to improve the quality of care of patients with coronary artery disease," the authors conclude. SOURCE: Journal of the American College of Cardiology, August 4, 2009 - Reuters

New link between depression and heart disease (Canada)

Researchers have identified an enzyme that may trigger depressive symptoms in patients with heart disease and may help to explain why general antidepressants are often not as effective for these specific patients. "Our study confirms that depressive symptoms are associated with inflammation in patients with heart disease and suggests a mechanism by which the brain might be affected," says Walter Swardfager, lead author of a new study and PhD candidate in the Neuropsychopharmacology Research Program at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Canada

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Death data boost to cardiac care

"Outcomes for adult cardiac patients in the UK have improved significantly since publication of information on death rates, research suggests. The study also found more elderly and high-risk patients were now being treated, despite fears surgeons would not want to take them on. It is based on analysis of more than 400,000 operations by the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery. Experts said all surgical specialties should now publish data on death rates" - BBC

Transplant for heart refusal girl (UK)

Transplant for heart refusal girl (UK)"A terminally ill girl who won the right to refuse a heart transplant is thought to have undergone the operation. Great Ormond Street Hospital in London has confirmed Hannah Jones, 14, from Marden, near Hereford, is a patient. In a statement, the hospital said she had been admitted but refused to comment further on her case. Hannah, whose heart has been weakened by medication for leukaemia, is thought to have been transferred to the hospital on Tuesday night" - BBC

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Heart risks 'missed in smokers'

Heart risks 'missed in smokers'High blood pressure is picked up less often in people who smoke, despite them being at higher risk of heart disease, research suggests. A study of more than 20,000 men and women in England found smokers were less likely to be aware that they had high blood pressure than non-smokers. The University College London team said spotting the condition was particularly important in those who smoke. Being diagnosed can also prompt people to quit, heart experts said. Smoking and high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, are both key causes of early death, the researchers wrote in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Louisville man gets groundbreaking cardiac stem cell treatment

Louisville man gets groundbreaking cardiac stem cell treatment"After two heart attacks, Michael Jones of Louisville suffered heart failure that made him so weak he could manage only a few football passes now and then with his grandson. But after becoming one of the world's first heart patients to get an infusion of cardiac stem cells, Jones said he works out on a treadmill and bike and feels invigorated. 'I hope to have as normal a life as anyone,' 'the self-employed painting and remodeling contractor said at a news conference Friday. 'I might even start jogging again.' Jones, 66, received an infusion of his own stem cells through a minimally invasive catheterization procedure on July 17 - as part of a clinical trial being conducted by a team of University of Louisville physicians at Jewish Hospital

Friday, July 24, 2009

'New way' to repair heart damage

'New way' to repair heart damageScientists say they have found a new way to mend damage to the heart. When cells turn into fully-formed adult heart muscle they stop dividing, and cannot replace tissue damaged by disease or deformity. But a US team have found a way to coax the cells to start dividing again, raising hopes they could be used to regenerate healthy tissue. The study, carried out on mice and rats by Children's Hospital Boston, appears in the journal Cell. The researchers say their work could provide an alternative to stem cell therapy, which is still largely untested, and carries a potential risk of side effects. In theory, it could be used to treat heart attack patients, those with heart failure and children with congenital heart defects. The key ingredient is a growth factor known as neuregulin1 (NRG1) - BBC

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wanted: volunteers to eat chocolate every day for a year in the name of science (UK)

Wanted: volunteers to eat chocolate every day for a year in the name of science (UK)Researchers studying the potential health benefits of dark chocolate at UEA in Norwich, Norfolk, need 40 women to test specially made bars. Participants must be post-menopausal and have type 2 diabetes to help see whether flavonoid compounds in chocolate can reduce the risk of heart disease. Some 150 volunteers who took part in the study's first round of tests last year will soon be tested for any health benefits. Dr Peter Curtis, of the UEA's School of Medicine, said: "Our first volunteers are about to return for their final visit to see if the markers of heart health – such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels – have changed. "A successful outcome could be the first step in developing new ways to improve the lives of people at increased risk of heart disease." Researchers believe that chocolate rich in flavonoid plant compounds found in cocoa and soy could help postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes ward off heart disease.

Healthy lifestyle halves heart failure risk

Men who follow a healthy lifestyle may cut their risk of heart failure in half. Researchers say it's the first time a large study has shown that modifiable lifestyle factors, such as diet, exercise, alcohol use, and smoking, can have a significant impact on the lifetime risk of congestive heart failure. About 550,000 Americans each year are diagnosed with congestive heart failure, and 20%-50% die from the disease. The condition occurs when the heart is no longer strong enough to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. Although medical treatments can slow the progression of the disease, there is no cure. In an editorial that accompanies the study in The Journal of the American Medical Association, Veronique L. Roger, MD, MPH, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., says the findings underscore a powerfully simple message - that a healthy lifestyle will help prevent heart disease and greatly enhance overall health

Blue collar workers unhealthier (New Zealand)

One in four blue-collar workers is at risk of a heart attack or stroke within the next five years, a workplace survey has found. The workplace wellness provider Vitality Works, which assessed almost 4300 workers nationwide, found most were overweight and unhealthy. More than one in four - 28 per cent - of factory and field workers were in serious danger of a heart attack compared with only 10 per cent of those with desk jobs. Vitality Works operations director Clara Soper said many people with physical jobs were too tired to exercise by the end of the day and tended to opt for fast food.

Heart disease on the rise (Barbados)

The nature of heart disease in Barbados has changed and added to that, the number of cases being diagnosed has risen and is continuing to rise. According to cardiologist and Vice-President of the Caribbean Cardiac Society, Dr. Raymond Massay, we have an 'epidemic of heart disease' in this island and while heart disease in Barbados was traditionally as a result of bacterial infection, it is now more like the cases being diagnosed in the developed world. His comments came yesterday morning at the Hilton Hotel where he was briefing the media on the upcoming Caribbean Cardiology Conference, which is to be held from July 28 to 31 under the theme 'Meeting Emerging Challenges to Cardiovascular Care in the Caribbean'.

Study finds risk from popular heart bypass method (USA)

A common method used in heart bypass surgery spares patients pain and problems upfront but seems to raise their risk of dying or suffering a heart attack over the next three years, a worrisome new study finds. The results could have a big impact - about 450,000 bypass operations are done each year in the United States and 70 percent of them use the method at issue. It involves the way doctors remove a leg vein that is cut up and moved to the chest to create detours around clogged heart arteries. For decades, this was done with a long incision - sometimes groin to toe. That was painful, left a big scar and often led to infections and longer time in the hospital. About 13 years ago, doctors started trying a new way: making small 'porthole' cuts and using a tiny scope and tools to tunnel along the vein and pull it out through the small openings. This quickly became popular as part of a big push toward less invasive surgery. The new study is 'a wake-up call' to rethink the approach, said study leader, Dr. John Alexander of Duke University Medical Center. It found that people who had the small-incision method were significantly more likely to die, suffer a heart attack or need another artery-opening procedure in the following three years. The likely reason is that the vein suffers damage from being pulled out and doesn’t hold up well over time. “This is a very worrisome finding,” said Dr. Timothy Gardner, a heart surgeon at Christiana Care Health Services in Wilmington, Del., and former American Heart Association president. More research is needed to confirm the results, but doctors probably should use the technique more sparingly or handle the vein more carefully when they do pull it out, Gardner said. Results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine

A pint of milk a day cuts chances of heart disease and stroke (UK)

A pint of milk a day cuts chances of heart disease and stroke (UK)Researchers found that drinking more than half a litre of milk a day - just under a pint - reduces your chances of suffering heart attacks and strokes by up to a fifth. It also reduces your chances of developing diabetes and colon cancer, the research found. The findings appear to reverse the commonly held view that drinking too much milk is bad for you and suggest the removal of free milk in schools could have been a mistake. Scientists at the University of Reading and University of Cardiff analysed more than 324 studies from across the world, which covered health and milk consumption in thousands of people. They found that those who drank around a pint of milk a day had greatly reduced chance (around 15 to 20 per cent) of contracting cardiovascular disease

Heart attack teen saved by mystery woman (UK)

The mother of a teenage boy who suffered a heart attack on a bus has thanked a mystery woman who helped keep her son alive saying she is an 'angel'. Sporty Frankie Quinn, 16, collapsed as he travelled home on the 267 bus, shortly after a visit to the gym last Saturday afternoon. The heart attack hit the keen cricketer with such force that his heart stopped and passengers rushed to his aid. A woman gave him mouth to mouth resuscitation, while Frankie's former school pal, who was also on the bus, took his phone and called his parents. The teenager is now recovering in hospital where he is in a critical but stable condition

Deaths prompt heart patient alert (UK)

Deaths prompt heart patient alert (UK)A hospital has recalled 14 people who have had heart valve surgery after three patients died from an infection. Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust contacted the patients, who all underwent the procedure at the Trent Cardiac Centre at the City Hospital. A trust spokesman said the three who died were among eight patients who had the surgery who went on to develop the skin infection staphylococcal. He said the other 14 were at low risk but had been recalled as a precaution - BBC

Activity Tips for Parents - British Heart Foundation

Activity Tips for Parents - British Heart Foundation"It's too easy for children to become sedentary, preferring to play computer games or watch TV than to go outside to play. But it's important to encourage them to take part in physical activity, to teach them to live a heart healthy lifestyle and avoid problems further on in their lives. So why not try out our tips for getting your child more active"

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Water Way To Go: Grandad Sheds 10 Stone (UK)

A grandfather who was told he had to diet or die by doctors has lost more than 10 stone in six months - by drinking water. Idris Lewis, 69, was told in January that if he did not lose 11 stone by the end of July, he could not have an operation on his heart and could die within a year. Mr Lewis, a retired civil servant from Nailsea, near Bristol, suffers from a chronic lung condition and a scan 18 months ago revealed he also has an abnormal heart valve. His doctor gave him a stark choice, he either lost the weight so he could have an operation to widen the valve, or he had a year to live. Mr Lewis cannot eat anything - his strict diet consists of mineral water and a vitamin supplement powder.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

London to Paris Bike Ride 2009

"Join The Stroke Association as we set off from London and cycle 244 miles finishing in Paris, one of the worlds most enchanting and exciting cities. Route: London, Portsmouth, Caen, Bernay, Arc de Triomphe - Paris. 244 miles, 4 days, 2 countries and 1 happy charity

CMAJ - 1 September 2009

The Canadian Medical Association Journal - 1 September 2009, Volume 181, Issue 5, is now available online

Pendulum heart cured by spine op (UK)

A teenage girl whose heart was pushed to the wrong side of her body by a rare spine deformity has been cured by surgery. Koryn McFadden, an 18-year-old nursery nurse from Corby, Northants, had scoliosis, a curvature of the spine. The defect produced a pendulum effect where her heart was pushed three inches to the right. Surgeons at the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham say her heart should now stay in place following her operation - BBC

Heart disease: Research off the beating patch

Heart disease: Research off the beating patch"Research group leader Steven Goldman, MD, (right) and pre-doctoral Fellow Jordan Lancaster look at the microscopic image of a synthetic fiber mesh with beating heart muscle cells. It is an amazing sight: What looks like a tiny beating heart is actually a piece of synthetic, gauze-like mesh, barely the size of a fingernail, floating in a Petri dish. And yet it keeps squeezing away, nice and rhythmically" -

New life-saving device offered to heart patients at Watford General Hospital (UK)

New life-saving device offered to heart patients at Watford General Hospital (UK) Heart patients at Watford General Hospital can now benefit from the very latest life-saving technique after the arrival of one of the country's leading cardiac surgeons. Consultant cardiologist Dr Anthony Nathan, who arrived just three weeks ago to head the hospital's new heart attack centre, has brought with him a cutting-edge procedure capable of saving dozens of lives a year - the implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD)

Induced pluripotent stem cells repair heart, study shows

In a proof-of-concept study, Mayo Clinic investigators have demonstrated that induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells can be used to treat heart disease. iPS cells are stem cells converted from adult cells. In this study, the researchers reprogrammed ordinary fibroblasts, cells that contribute to scars such as those resulting from a heart attack, converting them into stem cells that fix heart damage caused by infarction. The findings appear in the current online issue of the journal Circulation

Risk factors for heart disease rising in younger, poorer Canadians: study

Despite a decline in rates for heart disease and stroke among Canada's population overall, cardiovascular disease is actually on the rise in two segments of society - people under age 50 and those of lower socioeconomic status, researchers have found. "Our results indicate that young people are increasingly bearing the burden of cardiovascular risk factors," said Dr. Douglas Lee, a scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES). "This is an important group because they are the ones who will predict future heart disease." "And earlier onset of cardiovascular disease means potentially longer and more intense treatment over their lifetime," said Lee, a cardiologist at Toronto's University Health Network who led a 1994-2005 study of national trends in heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and smoking prevalence. The study, published in this week's Canadian Medical Association Journal, looked at a sample of Canadians aged 12 and up from all socioeconomic and ethnic groups. It found the prevalence of heart disease and diabetes is rising fastest among Canadians of lower socioeconomic status

E-connect: Saskatoon Health Region's employee newsletter - July 17, 2009

E-connect: Saskatoon Health Region's employee newsletter volume 4, issue 14, July 17, 2009 is now available online

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lower IQ 'a heart disease risk'

Having a lower than average IQ is in itself a risk factor for heart disease, say UK researchers. Given the findings, public health messages on things like exercise and diet could be simplified, the authors say in the European Heart Journal. In the study of over 4,000 people, IQ alone explained more than 20% of the difference in mortality between high and low socioeconomic groups. This applied even when known heart disease risk factors were considered. - BBC

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

People who bike or walk to work are more fit, less fat than drivers

"Incorporating even relatively short bouts of exercise into a daily commute appears to deliver significant rewards, according to a new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Researchers looked at the health and fitness levels of active commuters - people who walk or ride a bike to work at least part of the way - compared to those who drive or take public transportation. Men and women who were active commuters performed better on a fitness test, according to the study published in the July 13, 2009, issue of Archives of Internal Medicine" - PhysOrg

Full recovery for two hearts girl (UK)

"A 16-year-old girl from Wales who made history when, as a baby, she had a donor heart grafted onto her own has made a full recovery. Doctors say Hannah Clark's own heart is now in perfect working order three-and-a-half years after her 'piggy-back' donor heart was removed. Sir Magdi Yacoub, the pioneering surgeon who performed Hannah's original transplant when she was two, said he was 'surprised and delighted'. The Lancet journal tells her story" - BBC

Monday, July 13, 2009

Obesity 'link to same-sex parent' (UK)

"There is a strong link in obesity between mothers and daughters and fathers and sons, but not across the gender divide, research suggests. A study of 226 families by Plymouth's Peninsula Medical School, UK, found obese mothers were 10 times more likely to have obese daughters. For fathers and sons, there was a six-fold rise. But in both cases children of the opposite sex were not affected. The researchers believe the link is behavioural rather than genetic. They say the findings mean policy on obesity should be re-though" - BBC

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Obesity health risk cause 'found'

Obesity health risk cause 'found'Scientists believe they may have uncovered a key reason why obese people have a raised risk of health complications such as type 2 diabetes. They blame a specific protein - pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF) - which is secreted by fat cells. The Australian and US research on mice suggests blocking some of PEDF's action may reverse some complications - raising hopes of new drug treatments. The study appears in the journal Cell Metabolism - BBC

Saturday, July 11, 2009

FDA approves Effient to reduce the risk of heart attack in angioplasty patients

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the blood-thinning drug Effient tablets (prasugrel) to reduce the risk of blood clots from forming in patients who undergo angioplasty, a common procedure to unblock a clogged coronary artery. During an angioplasty, a balloon is used to open the artery that has been narrowed by atherosclerotic plaque.Often, a tiny wire mesh scaffold (stent) is inserted into the blood vessel to help keep the artery open after the procedure. Platelets in the blood can clump around the procedure site, causing clots that can lead to heart attack, stroke, and death. Effient was studied in a 13,608-patient trial comparing it to the blood-thinning drug, Plavix (clopidogrel), in patients with a threatened heart attack or an actual heart attack who were about to undergo angioplasty

Too much noise linked to heart attack, high blood pressure risk (UK)

Too much exposure to noise can increase the risk heart attacks and high blood pressure problems, according to an official report. British experts call the problem 'serious', and say that it must be treated alongside smoking and drinking as a major health issue. They warned that there was an increasing problem of noise from neighbours, loud music, airports and roads - New Kerala

E-connect: Saskatoon Health Region's employee newsletter - June 26, 2009

E-connect: Saskatoon Health Region's employee newsletter volume 4, issue 13, June 26, 2009 is now available online

Friday, July 10, 2009

Canadian Medical Association Journal - 7 July 2009, Volume 181, Issue 1-2

The Canadian Medical Association Journal - 7 July 2009, Volume 181, Issue 1-2, is now available online

Bone marrow stem cells may help heart

U.S. researchers, in a study in mice, found bone marrow stem cells improve cardiac function. Study author Dr. Yerem Yeghiazarians of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues administered three different groups of mice with bone marrow cells, bone marrow cell extract, or saline for the control group. The injections were administered three days after a heart attack. At day 28, both the bone marrow cell group and the extract group had significantly smaller heart damage than the control group. The extract derived from bone marrow cells helped decrease the formation of scar tissue and improved cardiac pumping capacity. Both the cell and cell extract therapies resulted in the presence of more blood vessels and less cardiac cell death - apoptosis - than no therapy. "Peer-reviewed medical literature is controversial as to whether bone marrow cells differentiate into cardiomyocytes, or cardiac muscle cells, but there is general agreement that stem cell therapy with these cells results in some level of functional improvement after a heart attack," Yeghiazarians said in a statement. "The exact mechanism for this is not yet clear. Our results confirm that whole cells are not necessarily required in order to see the beneficial effects of bone marrow cell therapy." The study was published in the Journal of Molecular Therapy

Holiday and travel top tips from the British Heart Foundation

Going on holiday? If you have a heart condition you may be concerned about getting travel insurance or anxious about flying. The British Heart Foundation answers some of your holiday concerns

The best and worst States for heart attack (USA)

In the event of a heart attack or heart failure, the best course of action is to head directly to a hospital. And if that hospital is in New Jersey, so much the better. The Garden State was among the states with the least deaths and fewest hospital readmissions following a heart attack or heart failure, according to a new study published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. The study examined data on heart attack and heart failure patients from about 600,000 hospitals across the country between July 2005 and June 2008. The results showed that, while there was room for improvement in care across the board, the hospitals in some states - like New Jersey, for example - consistently outperformed hospitals in other states in terms of patient mortality or hospital readmission in the 30 days after they received treatment - ABC News

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Health precautions before you fly

It's vacation time and almost everybody is planning to include a few moments of leisure in their otherwise busy schedules and fly away to their dream destination. But at times, health problems like heart diseases, diabetes and blood pressure, or other health related conditions like pregnancy can give you anxious moments during the journey. Therefore, it's best to be cautious so as to avoid any untoward incident during air travel. Always remember to take your doctor's advice before you board the aircraft and avoid air travel if you have suffered a heart attack in the past two weeks or have undergone coronary artery stent placement or a bypass surgery in the past 2-3 weeks or if you are afflicted with angina, congestive heart failure or cardiac arrhythmia or your pregnancy is a complicated one - Times of India

Immune cells lessen cardiac damage in mice

Immune cells lessen cardiac damage in miceResearchers at the Max Delbruck Center in Berlin said they found a specific type of immune cell - the regulatory T lymphocyte cell - plays an important role in hypertension-induced cardiac damage. The injected Treg cells they harvested from donor mice and injected into recipient mice were infused with angiotensin II, a blood pressure-raising peptide. The study showed Tregs had no influence on the blood pressure response to angiotensin II, but cardiac enlargement, fibrosis and inflammation were sharply reduced by the treatment. Furthermore, the scientists said the tendency to develop abnormal heart rhythms that could lead to sudden cardiac death was also reduced. The researchers - Dr. Heda Kvakan and Dominik Muller - said they do not intend Treg as a therapy. However, they said their research provides a better understanding of how the immune system fits into hypertension-induced organ damage. Their findings are reported in the June 9 issue of the journal Circulation.

Gender differences in heart disease revealed in a new study published in Postgraduate Medicine

In a new study published in the March issue of Postgraduate Medicine, doctors from the Department of Cardiology at the University of North Texas Medical Center investigated the different ways that cardiovascular disease, specifically coronary artery disease, presents itself in men and women. The article, entitled Gender Differences in Coronary Artery Disease: Review of Diagnostic Challenges and Current Treatment, discusses the atypical symptoms that women with CAD exhibit, a fact that often leads doctors to underdiagnose the disease. However, by illuminating these sex-based distinctions, these doctors hope to help others realize the importance of critical investigation in women demonstrating these differing symptoms

Monday, July 6, 2009

The HeartLand Tour (Nova Scotia, Canada)

The HeartLand Tour is a public awareness initiative aimed at educating Nova Scotians about Cardiovascular Disease, the toll it takes on those afflicted, their families, and society - and how easy it is to prevent. It began in 2007 when a group of 20+ cyclists (mostly health professionals) rode 1000 km from Yarmouth to Sydney in 8 days; delivering their message along the way: "Heart Disease is devastating and costly - but most can be easily prevented. How? Eat a healthy diet, be active, and reuduce risk factors like smoking and stress. July 12-19

Anger does increase brain blood flow

A piece of research has shown that anger or mental stress can increase the flow of blood in the brain. Led by Tasneem Naqvi and Hahn Hyuhn from the University of Southern California and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the study involved a series of ultrasound experiments. It showed that mental stress causes carotid artery dilation, and increases brain blood flow. The researchers say that that dilatory reflex was absent in people with high blood pressure. They evaluated carotid artery reactivity and brain blood flow in response to mental stress in 10 healthy young volunteers (aged between 19 and 27 years), 20 older healthy volunteers (aged 38 to 60 years) and in 28 patients with essential hypertension (aged 38 to 64 years). It was found that in healthy subjects, mental stress caused vasodilation, which was accompanied by a net increase in brain blood flow. The study has been published in BioMed Central's open access journal Cardiovascular Ultrasound

Father dies saving pet from two bull terriers (UK)

"A father-of-three died of a heart attack after going to the rescue of a neighbour's pet as it was savaged by two dogs. David Wright, 53, fought to save the black spaniel after the Staffordshire bull terriers launched a frenzied attack. The retired painter and decorator then collapsed and died in front of his partner and her toddler grandson. Yesterday Mr Wright's neighbours said they had been living in fear of the dogs and claimed they had attacked other pets. They said that despite repeated complaints to the police no action had been taken. Mr Wright's devastated partner Judith Hay, 47, described how he died in front of her and two-year-old grandson Kaden. She said: 'I cannot believe this has happened. Before the dogs attacked he was fine. He was in perfect health and happy. But after it he couldn't speak. He just gave a couple of gurgles. That was it, and then he was gone.' - Express

$5m to avert heart wait-list deaths (New Zealand)

"Auckland and Northland patients needing state-paid heart surgery have been assured waiting times will shorten following a $5 million boost. Health Minister Tony Ryall announced the cash yesterday after audits at Auckland City Hospital revealed that 141 patients had in May been waiting too long for surgery. The maximum wait under clinical guidelines ranges from two weeks to three months, depending on each patient's condition. Yesterday, the hospital promised to cut waiting times to a maximum of three months by October 31." - NZ Herald

Thursday, July 2, 2009

U.S. obesity rates balloon: survey

U.S. obesity rates balloon: SurveyAmericans have been adding significantly to their waistlines over the past year, with obesity rates rising in almost half of the 50 states, and falling in none, an annual survey released Wednesday shows. The problem continues to be worst in the South, while the western third of the country and a few New England states have the slowest rates of growth, the report by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found - Star Phoenix

A good night's sleep may be heart healthy

Research published from the Whitehall II study group, which is part-funded by the British Heart Foundation, finds that women who have fewer hours of sleep tend to have higher levels of circulating chemicals that indicate general inflammation. In response, June Davison, cardiac nurse at the BHF said: "This study found that women - but not men - who sleep less tend to have indicators of increased inflammation, measured by testing for two chemical 'markers' in the blood. "It is thought that inflammation in our body is related to heart and circulatory disease. "Previous research suggests that a good night's sleep may help to keep our heart and circulation healthy, and this study could point to an underlying reason behind that finding. "We should all try to get enough sleep - as it's likely to be good for heart health as well as overall health." For more information please call the BHF press office on 020 7554 0164 or 07764 290 381 (out of office hours) or email

Statement issued in response to: Sex Differences in the Cross-Sectional Relationships Between Sleep Duration and Markers of Inflammation: Whitehall II Study. Michelle A. Miller SLEEP 2009;32(7)