Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Congenital Cardiology Today

Congenital Cardiology Today is the only worldwide monthly publication exclusively serving pediatric, congenital / structural cardiologists, adult cardiologists that focus on congenital / structural heart disease, and congenital / structural heart surgeons

BHF - Robin Hood Bike Ride 2009 (UK)

"Explore the stomping ground of one of Britain's best loved legends on the British Heart Foundation's Robin Hood Bike Ride at Sherwood Pines Forest Park. The Robin Hood Bike Ride is suitable for all ages and abilities with a choice of two routes. The 36 mile Challenge Route takes you through Sherwood Forest along the Robin Hood Way to circle Clumber Park before returning to Sherwood Pines, or explore the 3 mile Scramble Route following the Sherwood Pines cycle tracks as many times as you like in 6 hours. This option is ideal for families or mixed ability groups or if you are looking for something more the Challenge Route is the one for you. Cycle hire is available on the day so there is no reason to miss out"

Boston Scientific will pay $716.3M to J&J in settlement over 14 patent lawsuits

"Boston Scientific Corp. said Tuesday it will pay Johnson&Johnson US$716.3 million to settle 14 patent infringement lawsuits related to the use of stents in treating heart disease. Boston Scientific, of Natick, Mass., will pay Johnson&Johnson's subsidiary Cordis Corp. on Thursday, using cash from a legal reserve. New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson&Johnson will record most of the payment as a special item in the fourth quarter. Stents are mesh metal tubes used to prop open arteries after the vessels have been cleared of fatty plaque. Some of the lawsuits being settled are related to Boston Scientific's NIR stent delivery system" - CP

Obesity 'ignificantly' cuts life short

"Putting on weight in middle age cuts the chance of living a long and healthy life by around 80%, researchers have warned. Obesity is a "significant factor" in predicting how long a person will live, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, US, and Britain's University of Warwick analysed data gathered since 1976 from more than 17,000 female nurses living in 11 US states. They found that women who were obese in middle age had 79% lower odds of healthy survival compared with women who kept their weight at a healthy level." - Sky

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Big tobacco will feel the burn with $50 billion lawsuit (Ontario)

Big tobacco will feel the burn with $50 billion lawsuit"The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario applauds the Ontario Government for launching a $50 billion lawsuit that seeks damages for past and ongoing health care costs. This will finally hold the tobacco companies responsible for their duplicitous business tactics that has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Ontarians as well as placing an enormous strain on our health care system. In Spring 2009, Ontario joined British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba in passing legislation paving the way for law suits against tobacco companies, and the opportunity to form a strong multi-provincial coalition to ensure cost recovery and comprehensive settlements. Earlier this morning, Attorney General Chris Bentley filed a $50 billion lawsuit against the tobacco manufacturers. The lawsuit represents tobacco-related health care costs borne by Ontarians since 1955. Tobacco related health care costs currently total more than $1.6 billion a year in Ontario"

India set to be heart disease capital of the world by 2010

"Various issues related to heart diseases as well as the latest advancements in their treatment were discussed at the 10th CME (Continued Medical Education) organised at Hotel Shivalikview in Sector 17 on the occasion of World Heart Day on Sunday. 'Three-dimensional imaging is now helping in remote diagnostics and even in training doctors in invasive procedures on virtual heart models,' said Dr Navin C Nanda, former president of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, and an authority on echocardiography. Dr Naresh Trehan, CEO of Medicity Gurgaon, PGI director Dr K K Talwar, Dr J P S Sawhney of Sir Gangaram Hospital, Dr Puneet Verma, executive director of Prime Heart Institute, Mohali, too, spoke on the occasion. Dr Trehan lamented the continued incidence of heart disease in the country and said with over a 100 million people affected by heart-related diseases, India is set to be the heart disease capital of the world by 2010"

Weight maintenance linked to how the brain sees food

Weight maintenance linked to how the brain sees food"A recent study found that how people's brains respond to images of food may determine if they can successfully maintain their weight. A study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at how three groups - successful weight-loss maintainers, and obese and control (normal weight) participants - to see how images of high-calorie and low-calorie foods affected their brains. After fasting to ensure they were hungry, participants were given an MRI while looking at photos of different foods, including low-calorie (salads, vegetables, fruit and whole grains), high-calorie (cheeseburgers, French fries, cookies, ice cream), and non-food objects. The maintainers had more activity in the areas of the brain associated with attention to food types and better restraint in response to the images, compared to obese and control subjects. The ability to better monitor their foods and restrain their cravings may be what helps the maintainers control their food intake and their overall weight" - Heart and Stroke Foundation

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mohindar Sachdev, CARG's treasurer, wins Career Service Award from IEEE

Dr. Mohindar Sachdev, CARG's treasurer, received on September 17, 2009 a Career Service Award from the Power and Energy Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers which is an international organization. Mohindar has been an active volunteer with the Society since 1972 and has played a leading role in many of its Working Groups, Subcommittees and Committees at the local, national and international levels. Notably, he led activities in 1979, 1988 and 1997 for disseminating information on the use of latest technologies in protection and control of electric power systems. He spearheaded the preparation of textbooks for the use in the those activities and participated in offering several courses in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. He is presently Chair of a Working Group that is preparing a guide that would assist engineers in applying equipment to protect transmission lines

CARG Newsletter - October 2009

The October 2009 issue of the CARG Newsletter is now available

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Long day at the office can kill will to exercise, diet: study

Long day at the office can kill will to exercise, diet: studyIf you find yourself lacking the motivation swim laps at the pool after an especially stressful day at the office, you're not alone, say researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton. Steven Bray, an associate professor of kinesiology, has co-written a study that's found humans only have a certain amount of willpower stored at any one time. That willpower, he says, can be burned up either mentally or physically. "Sometimes, you're trying to meet a deadline. And when you finally finish, you feel physically exhausted, even if you just sat at your desk," Bray told Canwest News Service. His report was published recently in the journal Psychology & Health. It has implications for those trying to maintain a strict exercise regimen, especially if they try to combine it with stressful office jobs.

American heart health takes bad turn

Obesity, diabetes and hypertension are eroding heart health gains of past decades, U.S. researchers say. The study, published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, finds only one in 12 U.S. adults - 8.3 percent - had a low-risk profile for cardiovascular disease in the 1994-2004 period. However, there is one encouraging finding: Fewer adults are smoking. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys shows 4.4 percent of adults rated low risk in 1971-1975, 5.7 percent in 1976-1980, 10.5 percent in 1988-1994 and 7.5 percent in 1999-2004. "Until the early '90s, we were moving in a positive direction, but then it took a turn and we're headed in a negative direction," the lead author, Dr. Earl Ford of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said in a statement. The adults in the study were ages 25-74 and were considered low risk if they never smoked or were former smokers, were never diagnosed with diabetes, and kept total cholesterol below 200 milligrams per deciliter and blood pressure below 120/80 without the help of medication - UPI

Fructose boosts blood pressure, studies find

Fructose boosts blood pressure, studies find"America's sweet tooth may be contributing to the ever-increasing number of people with high blood pressure. Two new studies link fructose, the kind of sugar in soft drinks and many sweetened foods, to high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. "It raises the possibility that fructose may have a role in the pathogenesis of hypertension," said Dr. Richard J. Johnson, professor and head of the division of renal diseases and hypertension at the University of Colorado and a co-author of one of the studies. Both were scheduled to be presented this week at an American Heart Association conference in Chicago on blood pressure research. "It shows that if you ingest a certain amount of fructose, you can raise blood pressure" to the level of hypertension, Johnson said" - HealthDay

2009 British Association for Cardiac Rehabilitation Annual Conference

2009 British Association for Cardiac Rehabilitation Annual ConferenceThe BACR Annual Conference will be held 8-9 October 2009 at the Jury's Inn, Birmingham, UK. Please note the conference is being held on Thursday and Friday this year, instead of Friday and Saturday. Fee for full attendance: Members £150, Non-Members £190

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Journal of Angiogenesis Research publishes first articles

"The first articles published in Journal of Angiogenesis Research cover a wide range of angiogenesis related topics, reflecting the journal's aim of providing a pivotal platform for researchers in this area. Dr Meadows and colleagues examine the role of Akt signalling factors in early embryonic heart development, while Professor Mross and colleagues assess the cancer drug vandetanib on tumor vasculature in colorectal and liver cancer patients, and Professor Ribatti provides an overview on the role of William Harvey in the circulation of blood"

Thursday, September 24, 2009

American Heart Association applauds public service campaign, "Rock Stars of Science"

The American Heart Association commends the Geoffrey Beene Foundation for launching a new public service campaign that intends to build a broader base of support for research as a national priority. With an innovative approach, the Rock Stars of Science campaign honors researchers dedicated to finding cures for heart disease and stroke and other chronic illnesses that impact millions of Americans and their loved ones

Doctors invent 'egg whisk' to help heart pump blood during surgery (UK)

"Doctors have pioneered a revolutionary 'egg whisk' to help the heart pump blood round the body during life-saving operations. The device, which rotates faster than a high-speed food blender, could revolutionise surgery to unblock arteries and reduce the risk of organ failure during heart surgery. The ground-breaking procedure involves passing the miniature fold-up whisk through the body and next to the heart. It is then used to clear blocked arteries or to keep blood pumping around the body during heart surgery and so reducing the risk of cardiac arrest or other organ failure, the Times reported. It is inserted via a catheter through the groin shortly before angioplasty - the technique used to mechanically widen an obstructed or blocked blood vessel. It then folds out to form a plastic cage encasing two eight mm blades which can rotate at a speeds of 12,000rpm"

Pioneering heart surgery saves man's life (Greece)

Pioneering heart surgery saves man's life "Surgeons have, for the first time, used a combination of an artificial heart and stem cells to save the life of a dying man. Ioannis Manolopoulos was fitted with the mechanical pump because his heart was too weak to push blood around his body. Surgeons then injected his failing heart muscle with six million of his own stem cells in the hope that they would repair the damage. Speaking exclusively to Sky News, he said he owed the British and Greek surgeons his life. The team was led by British surgeon Professor Stephen Westaby, who has pioneered the use of mechanical pumps in patients suffering from heart failure"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tamille Leslie Schuler and daughter Jaslyn

Many CARG members will remember meeting Tamille Leslie Schuler in her role as Provincial Big Bike Program Specialist, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Saskatchewan. On Sunday September 20, at 5.17am, Tamille gave birth to her daughter, Jaslyn. CARG wishes to congratulate Tamille and husband Shaun. Please come and visit us at the Field House as soon as possible!

Why aren't more children walking or biking to school, Heart and Stroke Foundation researchers ask

Why aren't more children walking or biking to school, Heart and Stroke Foundation researchers askIn Canada, more than half of children aged 5 to 17 get to school by car or bus, a fact that could be contributing to the inactive lifestyle that is linked to rising rates of childhood obesity and early heart problems. Heart and Stroke Foundation-funded researchers, Drs. Guy Faulkner and Ron Buliung at the University of Toronto, are conducting three studies aimed at finding out how they can increase the number of children walking or riding their bikes to school. Their first study will aim to find out what influences parents' decisions about how their kids travel to and from school in the Greater Toronto Area. Their second study will look at the way streets are organized and sidewalks are used, a concept known as the built environment, to find out how that contributes to choices around school transportation. They will then expand the study out across the province"

Turning a blind eye to obesity

Turning a blind eye to obesity "A survey suggests the vast majority of those who are obese do not realise they are so. How is this possible amid what some see as saturation coverage of the nation's burgeoning bellies? The poll, carried out by YouGov for Slimming World, found just over a quarter of 2,000 people questioned had measurements which would place them squarely in the obese camp. But only 7% of those asked classified themselves as so. Over half of those deemed morbidly obese believed they ate a healthy diet, while more than a third of the overweight said they had never tried to shed the pounds" - BBC

Study: Flu viruses can spark heart attacks

"Heart patients who catch the flu may have more to worry about than just a fever or the sniffles: the virus could also spark a heart attack, new research shows. Amid the global outbreak of swine flu, experts say it's crucial that heart patients get vaccinated against both regular flu and swine flu to avoid medical problems. Doctors said swine flu isn't any more dangerous than regular flu, but it's important for heart patients to get vaccinated because more flu viruses will be circulating this year. British researchers analyzed 39 previous studies of heart patients and found a consistent link between flu and heart attacks. Up to half of all unexpected flu deaths were due to heart disease, the researchers found. The study was published online Tuesday in the British medical journal, The Lancet Infectious Diseases."

Children need hour of daily exercise to cut cardiac risk

Children need hour of daily exercise to cut cardiac risk"Children should be active for at least one hour every day, and have no more than two hours of sedentary time during the same time period, if they are to be protected from developing heart disease later in life, according to medical and exercise experts. The advice comes ahead of World Heart Day on September 27, which aims to raise global awareness that reducing childhood obesity is essential to reducing the risk of heart disease in adulthood"

Cardiac CT scan gives clearer picture of heart disease

"A team of researchers led by Massachusetts General Hospital radiologists has developed a computed-tomography-based protocol that identifies both narrowing of coronary arteries and areas of myocardial ischemia - restricted blood flow to heart muscle tissue - giving a better indication of clinically significant coronary artery disease. "This is among the first demonstrations of the use of cardiac CT [computed tomography] to detect both coronary artery stenosis and resulting myocardial ischemia simultaneously in a single examination," says Ricardo C. Cury, MD, a cardiac imaging specialist at the MGH Heart Center and the study's principal investigator."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Italian sociologist cave dweller dies of heart attack

Italian sociologist cave dweller dies of "Italian sociologist Maurizio Montalbini, who spent months living in caves to study how the mind and body cope with isolation, has died aged 56. Montalbini died of a heart attack on Saturday in a mountain hamlet near the central Italian town of Macerata, said Guido Galvagno, a long-time colleague. Galvagno said the death did not appear connected to his cave stays. Montalbini spent a total of two years and eight months underground after starting his experiments in the 1980s, according to his website, and subsisted mostly on powdered foods and pills similar to those used by astronauts." - Guardian

Diabetes and Vascular Disease Research

SAGE has announced that Diabetes and Vascular Disease Research is now available online. Diabetes & Vascular Disease Research is the first international peer-reviewed journal to unite diabetes and vascular disease in a single title. It mirrors the increasing recognition that diabetes and cardiovascular disease are a single entity in which diabetes and related disorders such as insulin resistance Diabetes & Vascular Disease Research are directly linked with assaults on the vessel wall and the development of vascular risk clustering. Key features of this journal online include browsing the archives, keyword searching, and links to abstracts and full text of many other frequently-cited journals

Saturday, September 19, 2009

New blood pressure drug shows promise

As many as 30% of patients with hypertension fail to achieve their target blood pressures levels with treatment, but an experimental drug may help them hit their blood pressure goals. In a newly reported study, patients whose blood pressure remained high despite very aggressive treatment had significant reductions in both the top (systolic) and bottom (diastolic) blood pressure numbers by adding the drug darusentan to the mix. The drug works in a novel way by blocking the production of the amino acid endothelin within the walls of the artery. Endothelin is believed to raise blood pressure by causing the blood vessels to constrict. 'When you block endothelin the arteries relax and blood pressure should drop,' researcher Michael A. Weber, MD, of the State University of New York, tells WebMD.

Heart study shows many suffer poor quality of life (Australia)

"The world's largest quality of life study of chronic angina patients has revealed that almost one in three experience frequent chest pain, which affects their daily life. The collaborative project between the University of Adelaide and Servier Australia surveyed more than 2000 chronic angina patients attending general practice clinics throughout Australia and has been published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Lead author Associate Professor John Beltrame says the study showed that 29% of patients experienced angina chest pain at least once a week, despite contemporary treatments which include medications, balloon/stent treatments and bypass surgery" -

Common pain cream could protect heart during attack, study shows

Common pain cream could protect heart during attack, study shows"New research from the University of Cincinnati shows that a common, over-the-counter pain salve rubbed on the skin during a heart attack could serve as a cardiac-protectant, preventing or reducing damage to the heart while interventions are administered. These findings are published in the September 14 edition of the journal Circulation. Keith Jones, PhD, a researcher in the department of pharmacology and cell biophysics, and scientists in his lab have found that applying capsaicin to specific skin locations in mice caused sensory nerves in the skin to trigger signals in the nervous system. These signals activate cellular 'pro-survival' pathways in the heart which protect the muscle. Capsaicin is the main component of chili peppers and produces a hot sensation. It is also the active ingredient in several topical medications used for temporary pain relief." - ScienceDaily

Guthrie Cardiovascular Center event to address women, heart disease in Ithaca (USA)

Guthrie Cardiovascular Center will hold a Women and Heart Disease event from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, at The Holiday Inn, 222 S. Cayuga St. The free program, titled Women and Heart Disease: What You Need to Know, addresses issues related to women's heart health, and how heart disease affects women differently than men. The evening includes dinner, educational presentations and a panel discussion. Topics are "Prevention Strategies for Heart Disease," including information on risk factors, nutrition and exercise; "How to Fix a Broken Heart," given by Guthrie cardiologist Kishore Harjai; and "Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery," given by cardiothoracic surgeon Felice Reitknecht. A question-and-answer session by a panel of seven experts will round out the evening

No health insurance, higher death risk (USA)

"In a new study, researchers estimate that 45,000 deaths per year in the U.S. are associated with not having health insurance. That estimate appears in the advance online edition of the American Journal of Public Health. Data came from about 9,000 people aged 17 to 64 who took part in a government health survey between 1988 and 1994. They were followed through 2000. During those years, about 3% of the participants died. People without any health insurance were 40% more likely than people with health insurance to die during the years studied, regardless of factors such as age, gender, race, income, education, health status, BMI (body mass index), exercise, smoking, and alcohol use. The researchers then applied that finding to U.S. census data. "We calculated approximately 44,789 deaths among working-age Americans in 2005 associated with the lack of insurance," write the researchers, who included Andrew Wilper, MD, MPH. Wilper worked on the study while at the Cambridge Health Alliance, which is associated with the Harvard Medical School. Wilper now works at the University of Washington. Wilper's team can't rule out other factors that could have affected the results. But they note that people without health insurance often don't" -

Transradial Angioplasty activities at TCT 2009

This year's Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics meeting in San Francisco will host a number of symposia and workshops highlighting the growing use of the transradial (wrist) approach to angioplasty, stenting and diagnostic catheterizations. The centerpiece of the weeklong activities is "The Transradial Angiography and Intervention Seminar" comprising an entire afternoon with twenty-three separate presentations by global leaders in the field. - September 21-25, 2009

Heart&Stroke Actions Plans

With these interactive and easy-to-use e-tools, you'll be able to set and achieve goals to manage your blood pressure or achieve a healthy weight and keep track of important details such as medications and appointments. The first step is to take the assessment in order to be directed to the plan that's right for you. The assessment is based in well-researched science. It's free, confidential and takes about 10 minutes to complete - Heart and Stroke Foundation

PMC Canada: Making Canadian health research accessible to all

Canadians will soon have access to the latest health research findings with the launch of PubMed Central Canada (PMC Canada). Building on the successful PubMed Central archive developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, PMC Canada will help accelerate the creation of knowledge and facilitate its use by providing a freely accessible, Canada-based archive of peer-reviewed health science literature. The first phase of PMC Canada will be launched during Open Access Week - October 19-23, 2009. It will include a manuscript submission system to enable CIHR researchers to deposit articles that are accepted for publication by peer-reviewed journals

Friday, September 18, 2009

Chocolate-lovers found to have increased survival rates after heart attack (Sweden)

"In a study that will provide comfort to chocoholics everywhere, researchers in Sweden have found evidence that people who eat chocolate have increased survival rates after a heart attack. And it may be that the more they eat, the better. Scientists followed 1,169 nondiabetic men and women who had been hospitalized for a first heart attack. Each filled out a standardized health questionnaire that included a question about chocolate consumption in the past 12 months. Chocolate contains flavonoid antioxidants that are widely believed to have beneficial cardiovascular effects. The patients had a health examination three months after their discharge from the hospital, and researchers followed them for the next eight years using Swedish national registries of hospitalizations and deaths. After controlling for age, sex, obesity, physical inactivity, smoking, education and other factors, they found that the more chocolate people consumed, the more likely they were to survive. The results are reported in the September issue of The Journal of Internal Medicine." - Sun Sentinel

Penn State Hershey Heart and Vascular Institute showcases new dedicated units (USA)

"Penn State Hershey Heart and Vascular Institute at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center has celebrated the opening of two new units dedicated to the critical care needs of heart and vascular patients. The co-located Heart and Vascular Intensive Care Unit and Heart and Vascular Intermediate Care Unit create a hospital-within-a-hospital model that provides the most efficient access to the resources and specially trained staff needed by patients recovering from cardiovascular events and procedures, including transplant surgery or implantation of artificial heart pumps"

Heart attack program expanded (Ottawa)

"Patients who have major heart attacks in outlying parts of Eastern Ontario now have a better chance at survival thanks to an expanded University of Ottawa Heart Institute program. Heralded as a pioneering model in North America, the STEMI program now includes 16 regional and community hospitals, giving patients from Deep River to Hawkesbury a better chance at surviving a serious heart attack. The newly expanded program builds on a 50% drop in death rates five years after the Heart Institute changed the treatment for major heart attack victims. Since 2004, patients with life-threatening heart attacks are transferred from Ottawa hospitals or by paramedics to the Heart Institute's angioplasty lab to get a balloon stent to open up a blocked artery. Under the STEMI program, paramedics can get patients to a catheter lab within 65 minutes, said Dr. Michel Le May, director of the coronary care unit at the Heart Institute. The fast track to state-of-the-art cardiac care is now expanded to a 200-km radius of the cardiac centre, with staff at smaller community hospitals trained with new standards and treatments for major heart attacks, said Le May" - Sun

A decade of difference - BHF urges the middle-aged to have a heart risk check

A decade of difference - BHF urges the middle-aged to have a heart risk check"British Heart Foundation-funded research published today by the University of Oxford suggests the presence of three key heart disease risk factors in men aged 50 - smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol – could translate into a reduced life expectancy of 10-15 years. The findings – published in the British Medical Journal - come from the 'Whitehall' study of over 19,000 men aged 40-69 years employed in the civil service in London. They were first examined in 1967-1970, before the records of 18,863 men were traced and 7,044 surviving participants were re-examined in 1997. The BHF funded the follow-up examination of the volunteers and health records, which have highlighted the results released today."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Vigorous CPR is best for cardiac arrest

Vigorous cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with more chest compressions on people with sudden cardiac arrest can improve the survival rate, a new study shows. "Chest compressions move blood with oxygen to the heart and the brain to save the brain and prepare the heart to start up its own rhythm when a shock is delivered with a defibrillator," says study researcher Jim Christenson, MD, of the University of British Columbia. "We found that even short pauses in chest compressions were quite detrimental." In the new study, published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers analyzed data from 78 emergency medical services agencies to determine the effect of chest compressions on patient outcome. They specifically looked at something called the "chest compression fraction" (CCF), which refers to the percentage of time spent performing chest compressions relative to the entire time that CPR is performed - WebMD

Black patients are less likely to survive cardiac arrest

"Black hospital patients are far less likely to survive cardiac arrest than white patients, new research shows. And the reason in many cases is that black patients usually go to the hospitals that do the poorest job resuscitating patients. Just 25.2 percent of black patients who suffered cardiac arrest while they were hospitalized left the hospital alive, according to a study published this week in The Journal of the American Medical Association. That compares with 37.4 percent of white patients who survived - a difference of 48 percent" - AZ Star

Stress from debt 'costing GBP450m' (UK)

"An estimated 250,000 Londoners suffer from mental health problems as a result of debt, which is costing NHS London GBP450m a year, a campaign group said. London Health Forum said job cuts and money worries in recession resulted in 350,000 London GP appointments a year. Stress-related illnesses which could cause high blood pressure and heart attacks are also on the rise, it said. The forum urged councils and primary care trusts to "prescribe early debt advice" to Londoners. The forum's report, London Capital of Debt, said primary care trusts in London are currently spending £1.8bn a year treating patients with mental health issues, which is 26% more than the national average"

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Melon compound 'reduces stress'

Scientists may have uncovered a natural way to combat stress - eat a melon. The key ingredient is an enzyme called superoxide dismutase, thought to have beneficial antioxidant properties which prevent damage to the body's tissues. Volunteers given a capsule containing the enzyme reported fewer symptoms of stress and fatigue than those given a dummy capsule. The French study is published in BioMed Central's open access Nutrition Journal - BBC

Sweden to fight ban on tobacco tea bags

Sweden is fighting to end a European ban on "snus", a moist tobacco popular across Scandinavia that is sucked rather than chewed or smoked. The tea bag-like pouches are placed under the user's lip and quickly deliver a nicotine rush to the blood and a strong salt and herbs flavour in the mouth. While cigarette sales have tumbled by 50 per cent in Sweden over the past 30 years, snus is on the up, with sales rising from 2,500 tonnes a year in the 1970s to almost 7,500 tonnes last year. Sweden is the only EU member state where sales are permitted after it obtained an exemption when the European Union banned snus in 1992. Ewa Bjoerling, Sweden's trade minister, said the ban was discriminatory as other forms of "oral" tobacco were allowed. But health experts have warned consuming tobacco in this way is dangerous and highly addictive - Telegraph

Most adult Americans at some risk for heart disease

"Decades of steady progress against heart disease may be on the wane, experts say, with a new study showing that only 7.5 percent of Americans are now in the clear when it comes to heart disease risk factors. The continuing U.S. obesity epidemic may bear much of the blame for the downturn, the researchers added. "Our results raise the concern that a worsening cardiovascular risk profile in the population could potentially lead to increases in the incidence and prevalence of cardiovascular disease," said lead researcher Dr. Earl S. Ford, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Potential increases in cardiovascular disease and diabetes could affect the nation's medical costs." Another expert agreed. Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, called the study "a wake-up call to the entire country to take more responsibility for their health by knowing their own cardiovascular risk factor profile and, in consultation with their physician, to take proactive steps to reduce their cardiovascular risk." The report is published in the September 14 online edition of Circulation" - HealthDay

Monday, September 14, 2009

Inflammation care may cut heart risk

Researchers in Montreal say inflammatory diseases - polymyositis and dermatomyositis - are linked to increased cardiovascular risk. The study, published in The Journal of Rheumatology, also find the immunosuppressive therapies currently used to treat the two inflammatory diseases looked at in the study - polymyositis and dermatomyositis - may have a preventive effect against heart attacks. - UPI

Spare tire in kids linked to heart risk

"Children with more fat around their midsections may be at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease later in life, U.S. researchers say. The study, published in the International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, suggests clinical measurement of the waist may help identify the children most likely to develop the warning signs of cardiovascular disease. In the study sample of 188 obese children ages 7-11, those with a waist circumference above the 90th percentile were three times more likely to have high triglycerides - fat particles in the blood - and nearly four times more likely to have lower levels of high density lipoproteins – "good cholesterol." They were also 3.7 times more likely to have high fasting insulin levels - a diabetes precursor." - UPI

CMAJ - 15 September 2009

The Canadian Medical Association Journal - 15 September 2009, Volume 181, Issue 6-7, is now available online

Smokers itching to quit now know why

Smokers itching to quit now know whyScientists are certain that they have pointed the reason why people who are actively trying to stop smoking often itch uncontrollably. Belgian researchers think nicotine triggers a molecular trail in skin, nose and mouth membranes that are connected to inflammation. This might clarify why nicotine patches can irritate the skin, they wrote in an article available in Nature. This might help in creating treatments that help people stop smoking with fewer side effects. Smoking is one of the biggest causes of disease and premature death worldwide and smoking-related illness costs health services billions of dollars each year. British researchers announced in April that smokers are twice as likely to quit smoking if they use nicotine alternates and stop gradually. U.S. research states that normally smokers take 6 to 11 attempts to fully quit. "The identification of TRPA1 as a nicotine target ... may facilitate the development of smoking cessation therapies with less adverse effects,the researchers wrote" - redOrbit

The Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute (USA)

"Heart disease is still the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 785,000 Americans will have a new coronary attack and about 470,000 will have a recurrent attack in 2009. With the establishment of the Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute, which broke ground in 2008 and is scheduled to open in the fall of 2009, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center is positioning itself to be an even greater leader in the fight against this deadly disease"

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cardiologist shortages projected to worsen (USA)

"Cardiology faces decades of workforce shortages that are likely to worsen as an aging, overweight, and diabetic population increases demand for their services, according to a new survey. There are currently 3,000 too few cardiologists to fill open private-practice and academic positions, and the group projected the shortfall will rise to 16,000 by 2050, researchers reported in the September 22 Journal of the American College of Cardiology. To put this gap in perspective, only 750 to 800 new cardiologists rank with the 24,000 already in practice, noted George P. Rodgers, MD, chair of the ACC survey task force and a cardiologist in private practice in Austin, Texas. But it's not a pipeline problem, Rodgers' group reported: Plenty of young physicians apply for the fellowships required to enter the specialty, but there are 50 percent more applicants than spots available." - Work Force

New diet pill helps obese people lose 15% of their body weight (UK)

"A new pill that tackles obesity has helped overweight people lose up to 15 per cent of their mass - and it could be on sale in Britain in two years. Trials of the breakthrough drug Qnexa have shown it to be more effective than any other weight-loss medication on the market. Experts claim that patients can lose as much weight with Qnexa as they would if they had obesity surgery. Tests showed that patients on a high dose lost almost 15 per cent of their body weight, and even patients on a low dose of the drug achieved weight loss of eight per cent. Dr Kishore Gadde, director of obesity clinical trials at Duke University in North Carolina, who led the study, said: 'The weight loss observed with Qnexa in these trials far exceeds the weight loss observed for other obesity drugs.' The pill is being assessed by the American government's watchdog, the Foods and Drugs Administration, after completing its final trials" - Telegraph

Cutting salt could save U.S. billions of dollars

"If Americans were to cut their salt intake to recommended levels, they'd have far fewer cases of high blood pressure, and save billions of dollars in health care costs, a new study estimates. Because high sodium intake can contribute to high blood pressure - and its complications, including heart and kidney disease - the Institute of Medicine recommends that adults consume no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day. The average American, however, gets about 1,000 mg more than that, according to the authors of the study in the American Journal of Health Promotion. In the new study, investigators at the non-profit research organization RAND calculated the potential health and financial benefits that could be reaped if Americans cut their average sodium intake to 2,300 mg." - Reuters

Artificial intelligence helps diagnose cardiac infections

Mayo Clinic researchers say that "teachable software" designed to mimic the human brain may help them diagnose cardiac infections without an invasive exam -

Smoking ban reduces heart attacks (UK)

"The ban on smoking in public places has triggered a greater-than-expected fall in the number of heart attacks, it has been reported. Early results of a study commissioned by the Department of Health revealed heart attack rates dropped by about 10% in England in the year after the ban was introduced in July 2007, The Sunday Times reported. Separate research found an even sharper decrease - 14% - in Scotland, where the ban was imposed a year earlier. Another study in Wales is expected to reveal similar results. The research into heart attack rates in England is being led by Anna Gilmore of Bath University. She said: "There is already overwhelming evidence that reducing people's exposure to cigarette smoke reduces hospital admissions due to heart attacks." John Britton, director of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies at Nottingham University, said: "We always knew a public smoking ban would bring rapid health benefits, but we have been amazed by just how big and how rapid they are." Ellen Mason, a senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, explained why smokers and passive smokers have an increased risk of having a heart attack. She said: "Exposure to cigarette smoke induces rapid changes in blood chemistry, making it much more prone to clotting. In someone who has narrowed or damaged coronary arteries, smoke exposure can tip the balance and cause a heart attack." Other western European countries have seen similar falls in heart attack rates after smoking bans. Figures showed France had a 15% drop in emergency admissions for heart attacks after a year, while both Italy and Ireland had an 11% reduction" - Yahoo

Friday, September 11, 2009 is your one-stop access to on-line information and resources about H1N1 flu virus, from the Public Health Agency of Canada in collaboration with provincial and territorial governments.

Influenza vaccine - Saskatoon Health Region

Influenza vaccine is available free of charge to people in high risk categories through Saskatoon Public Health Services. The 3-week immunization blitz will commence October 13 and run until October 30, 2009. Influenza vaccine will be available for sale to people who are not in a risk category

Necklace for long-term and robust cardiac monitoring in daily life

Necklace for long-term and robust cardiac monitoring in daily life"IMEC and its research affiliate Holst Centre presented a prototype of an electrocardiogram or ECG necklace at the IEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology Conference (EMBC) in Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA). The technology enables long-term monitoring of cardiac performance and allows patients to remain ambulatory and continue their routine daily activities while under observation. The embedded beat detection algorithm copes with the artefacts inherent to ambulatory monitoring systems. The ECG necklace is easy to use and characterized by a low power consumption ensuring 7 days autonomy. It contains IMEC's proprietary ultra-low power analog readout ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit), and relies on a low power commercial radio/microprocessor platform. A wavelet-based heart beat detection algorithm is embedded in the processor that ensures the accurate computation of the instantaneous heart rate, even under high level of noise. A second ultra-low power microcontroller unit controls the wireless transmission of the ECG data to a computer within a range of 10m. An optional memory module enables data logging for applications in which the receiving computer is not in the neighborhood"

Milk Bottle CPR (Australia)

"Without a proper dummy, training CPR techniques can be a bit suboptimal, which means people might know the basic methodology but haven't actually practiced chest compressions. Ian Miller, an ER nurse in Canberra, Australia, suggests using two empty 2 liter (quart) plastic milk jugs as a basic replacement for a CPR dummy"

Inhaling a heart attack: how air pollution can cause heart disease

"It's well known that measures such as exercise, a healthy diet and not smoking can help reduce high blood pressure, but researchers at the University of Michigan Health System have determined the very air we breathe can be an invisible catalyst to heart disease. Inhaling air pollution over just two hours caused a significant increase in diastolic blood pressure, the lower number on blood pressure readings, according to new U-M research. The study findings appear in the current issue of Hypertension, a publication of the American Heart Association"

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Heart and Stroke Foundation researcher studies sudden cardiac arrest in First Nations people

"Long QT syndrome is a malfunction of the heart's electrical system that can cause cardiac arrest during periods of high stress or physical activity. Sudden cardiac death is often the outcome - even in young people. The normal incidence of Long QT syndrome is one in 3,000 to one in 5,000 people. However, earlier work by Dr. David Fedida, Associate Head of the Deptartment of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology, and Therapeutics at the University of British Columbia, and other researchers identified a new genetic mutation among members of a First Nations community in northern British Columbia that pushed the incidence of Long QT Syndrome much, much higher - one in every 250 people"

Health Canada warns Canadians of cardiac risks associated with cesium chloride

"Health Canada is warning Canadians that the use of stable cesium compounds (non-radioactive form of cesium salts, primarily cesium chloride) may pose the risk of life-threatening heart problems. Cesium, primarily in the form of cesium chloride, is promoted on the Internet to prevent various forms of cancer and as a self-administered cancer treatment. While use of radioactive cesium in radiation treatment for cancer is authorized in Canada, Health Canada has not authorized any health products containing stable cesium compounds for oral or intravenous use, including cesium chloride. However, numerous Internet sites promote the oral use of cesium chloride as an alternative to chemotherapy. In addition to the risk of life-threatening heart problems, there is inadequate evidence to support claims of benefits with this type of treatment. The decision to self-administer cesium chloride as a treatment for cancer may also delay the start of authorized therapies that have been proven effective."

Acute Cardiac Care 2010

Acute Cardiac Care 2010 - The Acute Cardiac Care congresses are specifically designed to be forums where physicians, nurses, and all health care professionals involved in acute cardiac care can meet, share their experience, and exchange ideas. They also represent unique opportunities to discuss the results of clinical trials and recent scientific data in the various fields of acute cardiac care, such as acute coronary syndromes, acute heart failure and life-threatening arrhythmias - 16-19 October 2010 - Copenhagen, Denmark

King's Lynn Cycle Response Unit (UK)

"In Kings Lynn Town Centre the Cycle Response Unit can arrive on scene within two or three minutes of most calls. The benefits include:
Easy access to pedestrian areas
Can stand down any unnecessary ambulance call outs
Increase response times within Kings Lynn
Increase public awareness of the ambulance service
Can cover local events i.e. The Great East Anglia Run

Bug killed doctor by eating through his artificial heart valve (UK)

A clinical psychologist died after bacteria ate a hole in an artificial valve fitted to his heart and stopped it working. Dr Keith Jones died of a sudden heart attack at Royal Derby Hospital in October last year. A postmortem examination revealed part of the valve, fitted 12 months previously, had been destroyed by the bacteria, called staph aureus. This stopped blood being pumped around his body. Giving evidence at an inquest, Dr Ivan Robinson, who conducted the examination, said: "I think the sudden catastrophic nature of Mr Jones' death was because the valve gave way. "The bacteria destroyed the substance of the valve. "This meant the heart was not pumping effectively. "There was a build-up of blood behind the left ventricle (one of four chambers of the heart)." Derby and South Derbyshire Coroner's Court heard that Dr Jones, 57, from Turnditch, fell ill with endocarditis – an inflammation of the inner layer of the heart – in 2007

Fresh garlic in your diet may help ward off heart trouble: a Living Well video

Elizabeth Penniman of the Cleveland Clinic discusses a study which found that fresh garlic could help ward off heart disease

Road noise link to blood pressure

"People living near noisy roads are at greater risk of developing high blood pressure, a Swedish study suggests. A Lund University team found risk rose above an average daily exposure of 60 decibels, which accounts for about one in four people in western Europe. They said it was likely noise caused stress - and maybe sleep disruption - leading to blood pressure problems. But UK experts questioned the findings, saying other factors such as diet and smoking were more important. Researchers analysed questionnaires completed by nearly 28,000 people as well as analysing neighbourhood traffic noise" - BBC

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Whole flaxseed, but not oil, may cut cholesterol

"Adding whole flaxseed to your diet, but not flaxseed oil, may help lower your cholesterol levels, hint the combined results of multiple studies. Flaxseed is seen as a heart-healthy food as it contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, digestion-aiding compounds called lignans, and alpha linolenic acid, which is linked to heart health. However, individual studies on flaxseed's impact on blood cholesterol levels have yielded mixed results. This led Dr. Xu Lin, at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai, and colleagues, to pool results from 28 studies involving more than 1,500 men and women to try to clarify the impact whole flaxseed and its derivatives have on cholesterol levels. Average whole flaxseed or flaxseed oil intake was about one tablespoon daily. The findings, reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, link whole flaxseed with reductions in total cholesterol and "bad" LDL cholesterol."

High levels of lead in bone increase men’s risk of cardiovascular death

"Exposure to lead in the environment is associated with a sharply increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, according to research reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. In a new study, the risk of death from cardiovascular disease was almost six times higher in men with the highest concentrations of bone lead compared to men with the lowest concentrations. The risk of death from all causes was 2.5 times higher in men with the highest levels of lead compared to those with the lowest levels"

Sleeping with your partner can be bad for your health - and your relationship, scientists have warned (UK)

Researchers found that sharing a bed often led to poor quality sleep because people were regularly disturbed by their loved ones during the night. They found that on average couples suffered up to 50 per cent more disturbances when sleeping with their partners than they did on their own. This often led to 'tension' in the relationship as well as health problems associated with lack of sleep, including heart disease and depression. Yet despite the detrimental effects of snoring, teeth grinding and tossing and turning, people tolerated it because culturally sleeping together is considered a sign of intimacy. To sleep separately is considered 'culturally wrong'. The scientists, speaking at a special seminar on sleep at the British Science Festival, said the answer was to speak to your partner before it led to poor health or divorce - Telegraph

Monday, September 7, 2009

Standardized tests encouraged to assess children's arteries for heart disease

"Addressing the unprecedented rise of heart disease risk factors in children, the American Heart Association recommends standardizing non-invasive assessment of children's arteries. The recommendations - published as a scientific statement in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association - apply only to children who are participating in research. The authors said more investigation is needed before issuing clinical recommendations"

BHF London to Windsor Bike Ride 2009

Photos from the September 6 British Heart Foundation London to Windsor Bike Ride 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Generous doctor gives Whipps gift from the heart (UK)

Generous doctor gives Whipps gift from the heart (UK)"Byron Cardiology Unit at Whipps Cross University Hospital, London, UK, received special heart monitoring equipment that can help to improve people's quality of life from local community GP Dr Abdul Sheikh and Waltham Forest Muslim Burial Trust. The portable monitors which follow heart rhythm continuously for up to seven days are worn by cardiology patients suffering from symptoms such as palpitations and black outs and allows the unit to gather accurate readings after this period for analysis. Maria Arrow, Senior Chief Cardiac Physiologist, said: 'There is a lot of demand for this type of equipment in the unit with a long waiting list. Now we have more monitors we can see many more patients.'"

It pays to quit smoking before surgery (Germany)

People who start nicotine replacement therapy at least four weeks before surgery can halve their risk of poor wound healing. This is what the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) concludes in information published on Quitting smoking in times of stress is not easy. "It is not easy to quit smoking just before an operation," appreciates Professor Peter Sawicki, the Institute's Director. "But people who smoke are more likely to have complications after surgery than people who do not smoke," he adds. - EurekAlert

Scientists discover new genetic variation that contributes to diabetes

"Scientists have identified a genetic variation in people with type 2 diabetes that affects how the body's muscle cells respond to the hormone insulin, in a new study published today in Nature Genetics. The researchers, from Imperial College London and other international institutions, say the findings highlight a new target for scientists developing treatments for diabetes. Previous studies have identified several genetic variations in people with type 2 diabetes that affect how insulin is produced in the pancreas. Today's study shows for the first time a genetic variation that seems to impair the ability of the body's muscle cells to use insulin to help them make energy. People with type 2 diabetes can have problems with the body not producing enough insulin and with cells in the muscles, liver and fat becoming resistant to it. Without sufficient insulin, or if cells cannot use insulin properly, cells are unable to take glucose from the blood and turn it into energy. Until now, scientists had not been able to identify the genetic factors contributing to insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes. In the new research, scientists from international institutions including Imperial College London, McGill University, Canada, CNRS, France, and the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, looked for genetic markers in over 14,000 people and identified four variations associated with type 2 diabetes. One of these was located near a gene called IRS1, which makes a protein that tells the cell to start taking in glucose from the blood when it is activated by insulin. The researchers believe that the variant they have identified interrupts this process, impairing the cells' ability to make energy from glucose. The researchers hope that scientists will be able to target this process to produce new treatments for type 2 diabetes." - EurekAlert

Philips TC50 Cardiograph aims at female patients

Philips TC50 Cardiograph aims at female patients"Men and women have differences in cardiac symptoms in a number of underlying conditions. The software in digital cardiographs can deliver the most comprehensive analysis when it takes into account these gender differences. Philips has just announced the launch of the TC50 cardiograph at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2009, a device which can provide gender specific analysis of ECG data."

How greens may protect the heart (UK)

"Researchers have discovered a possible reason why green vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower are good for the heart. Their work suggests a chemical found in the vegetables can boost a natural defence mechanism to protect arteries from disease. The Imperial College London team hope their work could lead to new dietary treatments to prevent heart problems. Details appear in Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology" - BBC

World Heart Day 2009

World Heart Day 2009"World Heart Day was created to inform people around the globe that heart disease and stroke are the world's leading cause of death, claiming 17.2 million lives each year. Together with its members, the World Heart Federation spreads the news that at least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided if the main risk factors, tobacco, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity, are controlled. World Heart Day will be held on Sunday, 27 September 2009 to inspire you to 'Work with Heart'. Activities organized by members and partners of the World Heart Federation will include runs, public talks, concerts, sporting events and much more

Biotransformed blueberry juice fights fat (Canada)

North American blueberry juice, biotransformed with bacteria from the fruit's skin, may be an anti-obesity and anti-diabetic agent, Canadian researchers say. Researchers at the Universite de Montreal, the Institut Armand-Frappier and the Universite de Moncton tested the effects of biotransformed juices compared to regular blueberry drinks on mice. Senior author Pierre S. Haddad of the Universite de Montreal tested the effect of biotransformed blueberry juice on a group of mice prone to obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes and hypertension. Incorporating biotransformed blueberry juice into the water of mice reduced their food intake and their body weight. "Results of this study clearly show that biotransformed blueberry juice has strong anti-obesity and anti-diabetic potential," Haddad says in a statement. "Biotransformed blueberry juice may represent a novel therapeutic agent, since it decreases hyperglycemia in diabetic mice and can protect young pre-diabetic mice from developing obesity and diabetes." In addition, the study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, found consumption of fermented blueberry juice gradually and significantly reduced high blood glucose levels in diabetic mice - UPI

ESC: 'It's Difficult to Die from a Heart Attack Today'

"Adults today can expect to live 10 years longer than the average adult 30 to 40 years ago, and most of that extra decade resulted from advances in cardiovascular medicine, especially the treatment of myocardial infarction, researchers said. "In cardiology, we have contributed seven of those 10 years of life, while oncologists have contributed 2.4 months," said Roberto Ferrari, MD, PhD, President of the European Society of Cardiology.""

Friday, September 4, 2009

Alan Carr launches the UK's biggest ever stock appeal for the British Heart Foundation

Alan Carr launches the UK's biggest ever stock appeal for the British Heart Foundation"Alan Carr today launched the British Heart Foundation's BIG Donation - the UK's biggest ever stock appeal - aiming to raise more than 350,000 bags of donated items in just 30 days. The comedian and the nation's heart charity are challenging the Great British public to donate their unwanted good quality items to help reach its target. Last year BHF Shops contributed GBP15 million to help in the fight against heart disease. But this year, BHF Shops needs your help in The BIG Donation to help us beat that figure. Speaking of his involvement Alan said: "I am absolutely thrilled to be involved with the British Heart Foundation's 'BIG Donation' appeal and you can do your bit too. "We need you to go through your wardrobes and fill a donation bag with your unwanted, clean clothes, no tat please. "Those chinos with the marmite stains can stay where they are thank you very much. Once you've filled your bag take it to your local shop or a designated drop off point. Everyone's a winner!!"

Heart health is not just about the size of your thighs, says BHF

Heart health is not just about the size of your thighs, says BHFA new study claims that people with thighs over 60cm - or 23.6in - in circumference have a lower risk of heart disease and early death. A team of researchers who studied 3,000 men and women in Denmark says the relationship remains even when body fat, smoking and blood cholesterol are taken into account. Their report suggests that those with narrow thighs may not have enough muscle mass to deal with insulin properly, raising the risk of diabetes and, in turn, heart disease. But in response to the study, published in the British Medical Journal, British Heart Foundation Senior Cardiac Nurse Judy O'Sullivan said: "There is insufficient evidence to confirm that a low thigh circumference affects a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease. "However, low muscle mass is associated with low levels of physical activity which is an established risk factor for developing heart disease. "Rather than focusing on the size of their thighs adults should aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily to help keep their heart healthy."

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Statins may perform better as a solo act

Statins may do their best work at lowering cholesterol levels alone, according to a new review of research on the popular drugs. More than 28 million Americans have some form of heart disease, and doctors often prescribe statin drugs to lower dangerous low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. High LDL cholesterol levels increase the risk of arteries becoming blocked and triggering a heart attack or stroke. Even so, researchers say only about one-third of people with high cholesterol are able to lower their LDL cholesterol to healthy levels and that number is even lower among those with established heart disease. That prompts many doctors to try combining cholesterol-lowering statin therapy with other non-statin medications in an attempt to further lower cholesterol levels. But researchers analyzed 102 published studies on the topic and found no benefit of combination therapy at reducing the risk of death, heart attack, stroke, or the need for bypass surgery over using high doses of statins alone. The studies were of relatively short duration, often did not employ maximal doses of statin drugs in the combination regimens, and did not examine all possible medication combinations. These limitations affect the ability to make firm conclusions regarding the true use of combination therapy. Nevertheless, the proven benefits of using statin drugs alone in reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke suggest that 'the benefits of additional therapies need to be clearly defined along with attendant risks and costs before advocating widespread use of combination treatment,' writes researcher Mukul Sharma, MD, MSc, of the Canadian Stroke Network in the Annals of Internal Medicine. - WebMD

Medscape Mobile from WebMD

WebMD Health Corp. has announced the launch of Medscape Mobile, a free medical application for physicians. Medscape Mobile provides physicians with Medscape's industry-leading medical information in a convenient mobile format that can be accessed on demand on the iPhone(TM) and iPod touch(R)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


"HealthBase is a health information search tool created by Netbase. Search results are drawn from a diverse range of resources, including WebMD, PubMed, Medline Plus, and the Mayo Clinic. NetBase uses a semantic-based indexing system to obtain the context of articles, and provides targeted results categories to allow the user to find specific information on their topic"

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Test may help predict cardiac risk

"U.S. researchers suggest comparing annual electrocardiograms may help predict sudden cardiac arrest. The study, published in the European Heart Journal, finds a statistically significant link between sudden cardiac death and changes over time in a portion of the electrocardiogram called the QRS duration - the composite of waves showing the length of time it takes for an electrical signal to go through the pumping chambers of the heart. "What we hope is that physicians will start paying more attention to QRS duration as a warning signal. If they do, lives could be saved," study co-author Dr. Peter Okin of Weill Cornell Medical College and the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center said in a statement. Study leader Dr. Daniel P. Morin of the Ochsner Clinic Foundation in New Orleans was based on data from the LIFE study - a multicenter study between 1995 and 2001 of more than 9,000 patients with hypertension. "Because of the wealth of data collected during the LIFE study, we were able to fine-tune our efforts and control for potential confounders," Okin said" - UPI

New hope for heart failure patients

"A therapy called cardiac resynchronisation can significantly delay the progression of heart failure, according to a major international study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The treatment reduced the risk of serious heart failure events by 41 percent, the study found. 'This shows, for the first time, that the onset of heart failure symptoms and hospitalisation for heart failure can be delayed with pacing therapy,' said Dr David Wilber, a co-author of the study and director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. A device implanted in the upper chest delivers electrical impulses that help synchronise contractions of the left ventricle, the heart's main pumping chamber. The study included 1,820 patients from 110 centres in the United States, Canada and Europe. Loyola enrolled 13 patients. All patients in the trial had been diagnosed with early stage, mild heart failure (Class 1 and Class 2 on the New York Heart Association classification system). The study's principle investigator is Dr Arthur Moss of the University of Rochester Medical Centre" - Science Centric