Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fishguard Cardiac Rehabilitation Group (UK)

Fishguard Cardiac Rehabilitation Group (UK)Fishguard Cardiac Rehabilitation Group's aims & objectives are:

The preservation and protection of good health among persons suffering from any form of cardiac illness, their carers, partners and co-opted specialists, in particular but not exclusively by:

* The promotion of Cardiac Rehabilitation and Cardiac related illnesses
* The education of the public in Cardiac related health issues
* The provision of facilities for recreation or leisure-time occupation with the object of improving the conditions of life of such persons.
* The area to be served by the Charity will be the area North of Haverfordwest, North West to St David's and North, covering all geographical towns and villages to St Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire

Low vitamin D tied to heart, stroke deaths

"Low vitamin D levels in the body may be deadly, according to a new study hinting that adults with lower, versus higher, blood levels of vitamin D may be more likely to die from heart disease or stroke. Vitamin D is an essential vitamin mostly obtained from direct sunlight exposure, but also found in foods and multivitamins. Dr. Annamari Kilkkinen, at the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki, Finland, and colleagues compared blood levels of vitamin D and deaths from heart disease or stroke over time in 2,817 men and 3,402 women in Finland. At enrollment, participants were just over 49 years old on average, and had no indicators of cardiovascular disease, the researchers note in the American Journal of Epidemiology. During follow-up of about 27 years on average, 640 of the participants (358 men) died from heart disease and another 293 (122 men) died from stroke" - Reuters

Statins show dramatic drug and cell dependent effects in the brain

"Besides their tremendous value in treating high cholesterol and lowering the risk of heart disease, statins have also been reported to potentially lower the risks of other diseases, such as dementia. However, a study in the October Journal of Lipid Research finds that similar statin drugs can have profoundly different effects on brain cells - both beneficial and detrimental. These findings reinforce the idea that great care should be taken when deciding on the dosage and type of statin given to individuals, particularly the elderly"

The Sensium Life Pebble (UK)

The Sensium Life Pebble (UK)The Sensium Life Pebble TZ203002 is an ultra small size vital signs monitor which continuously monitors ECG, heart rate, physical activity (3 axis accelerometer) and skin temperature and streams the data using a wireless datalink over a short range ( ~5m) to a Sensium USB adapter or data logger. The Life Pebble is designed for use in a wide range of professional sports monitoring, lifestyle and healthcare applications. The Sensium Life Pebble can be used on its own or fitted into a flexible holder and attached to the body around the torso, leg or arm with different size elasticated belts. Data is continuously transmitted to a USB adapter plugged into a PC for real time capture and analysis or to a small size USB data logger for storage and later download/analysis. The Life Pebble TZ2030 uses Toumaz Technology's unique Sensium platform to enable continuous data capture, local processing and wireless transmission at ultra low power

Study: Cholesterol drugs may improve flu survival (USA)

"A new treatment for swine flu may already be on pharmacy shelves - cholesterol-lowering statin drugs like Lipitor and Zocor. A large study found that people who were taking these drugs when they caught seasonal flu and had to be hospitalized were twice as likely to survive than those who were not on such medicines. This doesn't prove that statins can cure flu, or that starting on them after catching the flu would help. A federal study is under way now to test that. Doctors are optimistic, because previous studies also found that statins may improve survival from infectious diseases. "It's very promising," said the new study's leader, Dr. Ann Thomas of the Oregon Public Health Division. Results were discussed Thursday at an Infectious Diseases Society of America conference in Philadelphia"

Friday, October 30, 2009

Seymour Schulich makes a new $10-million investment in the heart centre that bears his name (Canada)

Seymour Schulich makes a new $10-million investment in the heart centre that bears his name (Canada)"The people of Ontario will have more access than ever to the latest life-saving, minimally invasive cardiovascular treatments thanks to the visionary leadership of one of Canada's foremost philanthropists, Seymour Schulich. Mr. Schulich has made a new $10-million investment in the heart centre that bears his name. About a year ago, Mr. Schulich challenged Sunnybrook Foundation to raise $10 million by the end of 2008 to rebuild the Schulich Heart Centre at Sunnybrook. The Foundation did just that and Mr. Schulich has made this $10-million gift to Sunnybrook to match those donations dollar-for-dollar"

'Pear and apple' shape a DVT risk

'Pear and apple' shape a DVT risk Women who carry excess weight on the hips and thighs, and apple-shaped men who carry it on the waist, risk dangerous blood clots, say experts. Being overweight per se is risky, but where the fat accumulates is also critical, say the Danish scientists. They tracked more than 50,000 men and women to see how many suffered a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or a clot in the lung called pulmonary embolism (PE). The findings are published in the journal Circulation. During the 10-year study, there were 641 cases of DVT or PE among the men and women. After stripping out known risk factors such as smoking, diabetes and cholesterol, a pattern between body shape and clot risk emerged, independent of body weight alone. Pear-shaped women with big hips and thighs were at higher risk of dangerous clots, even if they had an "ideal" body weight. - BBC

Survival after heart attack improves in younger women (USA)

"In recent years, women, particularly younger women, experienced larger improvements in hospital mortality after myocardial infarction (MI) than men, according to a study published in the 26 October issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. Over the last decade several studies showed that younger women, but not older ones, are more likely to die in the hospital after MI than age-matched men. A team of Emory University researchers examined whether such mortality differences have declined in recent years." - Science Centric

Why is this researcher riding a tricyle? (Canada)

Why is this researcher riding a tricyle? (Canada)"Research is one way to change the way heart disease and stroke affect Canadians. Donor dollars are working hard to make sure our children live longer, healthier lives. The Heart and Stroke Foundation funded researcher on the tricycle is Dr. Brian McCrindle. He is taking an innovative approach to the problem by using the internet. Dr. McCrindle and his team are comparing two different rehabilitation programs to encourage children who have had surgery for congenital heart disease to be more physically active. One program will provide the family with specific physical activities for the children to perform each week. The other program involves games and stories to teach the family about the importance of physical activity. Families access the programs via the internet" - Heart and Stroke Foundation

Screening for cardiovascular diseases difficult, but necessary

Screening for cardiovascular diseases difficult, but necessary"Cardiovascular diseases are difficult to screen for, but the practice of doing so is critical to ensure safe athletic participation. This fact is emphasized by the recent deaths of three individuals in the Detroit Marathon on October 18th, 2009. The new study published in the November/December issue of Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach discusses the issues of cardiovascular screening. The study gives a comprehensive overview of the current guidelines and controversies surrounding cardiovascular screening of athletes. The screening challenges arise, the study notes, from trying to identify very rare and often clinically silent, but potentially fatal cardiac diseases in a large number of athletes competing at various levels. "Athletes are two and a half times as likely to experience Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) than nonathletes," explains study author Sharlene M. Day, MD, Assistant Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, and Director of the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Program at the University of Michigan. "This statistic should impress upon us the need for cardiovascular disease screening in our athletes. It is important to emphasize to athletes the importance of reporting symptoms that could reflect underlying heart disease."

NIH launches multicenter clinical trial to test blood pressure strategy (USA)

"The National Institutes of Health is launching a large multicenter randomized clinical trial to determine whether maintaining blood pressure levels lower than current recommendations further reduces the risk of cardiovascular and kidney diseases, or age-related cognitive decline. Called the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT), the nine-year, $114 million study will be conducted in more than 80 clinical sites across the United States. Current clinical guidelines recommend systolic pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) of less than 140 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) for healthy adults, and 130 mm Hg for adults with kidney disease or diabetes. SPRINT will evaluate the potential benefits of maintaining systolic blood pressure at less than 120 mm Hg for adults who are at risk for heart disease or kidney disease. The study will also assess possible risks of this therapeutic strategy. Study participants will be treated with commonly available blood pressure medications to achieve one of two different levels of blood pressure control - either less than 140 mm Hg (standard group) or less than 120 mm Hg (treatment group). Those in the treatment group will take an average of three to four medications; those in the standard group will take about two medications. SPRINT participants will be seen in clinics every few months at the beginning of the study and less frequently as their blood pressure is controlled. The study will include standard tests for determining the health of the heart, kidneys, and brain. "

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cardiologists clear the way for lifesaving breast cancer treatment (Canada)

A team of Canadian cardiologists, in collaboration with oncologists, are playing an important role in fighting breast cancer, Dr. Michael McDonald told the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2009, co-hosted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society. At issue is how to use a highly effective drug therapy for early-stage breast cancer while maintaining the cardiovascular health of the patient. The drug - trastuzumab (herceptin) - inhibits cancer cell survival. Herceptin is prescribed as an adjuvant to other standard chemotherapy treatments" - ScienceDaily

Cardiac Care to improve in the Interior (British Columbia)

"With a mandate to provide equal health care to all British Columbians, the Provincial Health Authority recently help their annual board meeting in Rossland. The group heard from a hand full of Interior Health Doctors, including Dr Richard Hooper, Interior Healths cardiac clinical program director. He stressed the importance of bringing better cardiac care to the interior. The province is injecting $27 million to enhance cardiac care at the Kelowna hospital. The upgrades will hopefully allow Interior doctors to preform angioplasties and open heart surgeries by 2012. Interior Health is looking to train rural nurse practitioners and family doctors to become specialists in heart disease" - KBS News

Even 'light smoking' affects young adults' arteries (Canada)

Even 'light smoking' affects young adults' arteries"Smoking just one cigarette stiffens the arteries of young adults by 25 percent, says a new study. The stiffer a person's arteries, the greater their risk for heart disease or stroke, noted researcher Dr. Stella Daskalopoulou, an internal medicine and vascular medicine specialist at McGill University Health Center in Montreal. She measured arterial stiffness in smokers and non-smokers, ages 18 to 30, at rest and after exercise. To establish a baseline measurement, the smokers, who smoked five to six cigarettes a day, were asked to refrain from having a cigarette for 12 hours before their first exercise test. Before the second exercise test, smokers were allowed to have one cigarette. Before the final test, they were asked to chew a piece of nicotine gum. After exercise, arterial stiffness in non-smokers decreased 3.6 percent. But the smokers' arterial stiffness increased 2.2 percent after exercise. In smokers, arterial stiffness increased 12.6 percent after they chewed nicotine gum and 24.5 percent after they had one cigarette. There was no difference in arterial stiffness between smokers and non-smokers at rest"

New Zealand medical team to help in Zambia

"New Zealand medics have launched a plan to carry out life-saving heart surgery in Zambia. A team of medical experts aim to save over 100 lives in Zambia by setting up the country's first ever cardiac unit. The 35 person unit was inspired by Munanga Mwandila in Christchurch who has related tales of his homeland's health system to colleagues. "There is a huge burden with conditions such as HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. These are conditions which take up the bulk of the health resources," Dr Mwandila told ONE News. With most of Zambia's 12 million people living in poverty, the team plan to make five trips to Zambia over the next five years to perform the country's first ever heart operations. Cardiac surgeon Harsh Singh will lead the team, who have all volunteered their time for the project" - TVNZ

CIRM awards Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute $5.5 million grant for development of cardiac stem cell therapies

"A team of Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute stem cell researchers led by Eduardo Marb-n, M.D., Ph.D. has been awarded a four-year, $5.5 million grant from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to fund research leading to clinical trials of new treatments for heart attack patients. The grant will be used to continue Marb-n's development of cardiac stem cell therapies to strengthen and heal damaged heart muscle caused by cardiac arrest. The grant is part of a new strategy by the California state stem cell agency aimed at speeding the process of moving medical research from the laboratory to patient care" - The Medical News

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

H1N1 preparation in Saskatoon Health Region 'unacceptable', says HSAS president

"The president of the Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan (HSAS) says the Saskatchewan Party government has not done enough to ensure Saskatoon has adequate health professionals for an H1N1 outbreak. According to Chris Driol, speaking at a news conference Tuesday morning, there are not enough respiratory therapists in the city to meet the expected demand during an H1N1 flu outbreak. "This is unacceptable," said Driol. "Saskatchewan residents who become acutely ill need the best possible care. That's what putting patients first is all about." According to Driol, Saskatoon's standard operating procedure requires one respiratory therapist for every four to six ventilators. The current staffing in the Saskatoon Health Region has one therapist for every six to eight ventilators. While Driol says the health region has added 37 beds and has increased the amount of ventilators to 90, the human resources required to manage the ventilators is 'woefully inadequate."" - Star Phoenix

CMAJ - 27 October 2009

The Canadian Medical Association Journal - 27 October 2009, Volume 181, Issue 9, is now available online

Women have 'same heart symptoms' (Canada)

Women have 'same heart symptoms' (Canada)"It is a myth that women have different heart attack symptoms from men, according to Canadian researchers. A study presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress found no gender differences in symptoms after studying 305 patients undergoing angioplasty. They say it is a commonly held belief that men and women feel the effects of a heart attack differently. Dr Beth Abramson, of Canada's Heart and Stroke Foundation, said: "Heart disease is an equal-opportunities killer." - BBC

Leisure centre 'junk food' alert (UK)

"Vending machines stocked with unhealthy snacks in leisure centres run the risk of fuelling childhood obesity, warn experts. Crisps and chocolate are on sale where children exercise despite being banned from schools and children's TV, the British Heart Foundation found. And children's meals on offer at the 35 venues spot-checked were dominated by chips, nuggets, sausages and burgers. The charity wants stricter regulation over the food choices available. The report, which was prepared by the Food Commission, looked at leisure centres, bowling alleys, ice skating rinks and park cafes. The average calorie content of vending machine snacks was 203 calories, which would take a seven-year-old 88 minutes of swimming to use up" - BBC

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saskatoon Health Region updates influenza immunization plans

Saskatoon Health Region ipdates influenza immunization plansSaskatoon Health Region is expecting its first shipment of H1N1 vaccine to arrive by the end of this week and plans to start immunization of health care workers Monday, October 26. "We are pleased that the vaccine has cleared all the safety checks from Health Canada and we ready to move forward with immunization plans," says Ross Findlater, deputy medical health officer Saskatoon Health Region. "Because we are receiving H1N1 vaccine shipments each week, we are staggering our immunization plans. Next week, we will start with health care workers to ensure they stay healthy and are able to care for those who may require medical attention." Given the information Saskatoon Health Region has today regarding its H1N1 vaccine shipments, the immunization plans are as follows:

* October 26 - H1N1 immunization begins for health care workers

* November 2 - H1N1 immunization of Saskatoon's core neighborhoods

* November 9 – H1N1 immunization of groups at elevated risk. Those groups are residents with underlying medical conditions (obesity, heart and lung diseases, diabetes, those with compromised immune systems, etc.), children six months of age to 5 years old, and pregnant women - building towards mass immunization of general public.

The Region has been told there will be enough H1N1 vaccine for all residents who wish to receive it. H1N1 immunization of all residents is expected to be completed over the next 4-6 weeks. H1N1 vaccinations are free. As soon as mass immunization clinic locations and dates are available, they will be advertised. Children under six months of age are not eligible for the vaccine. Saskatoon Health Region is also expanding its seasonal influenza immunization clinics now that it is known H1N1 vaccine will be arriving in stages. Along with long-term care residents and those over 65 years old, the Region will now offer seasonal flu shots to the remaining high-risk groups of children 6-23 months of age, pregnant women, health care workers, and anyone under the age of 65 with a chronic health condition. Seasonal flu vaccination clinics will cease when mass H1N1 immunizations begin in mid-November. The seasonal clinics will re-start upon the completion of H1N1 immunization. Almost all influenza detected in Canada currently is H1N1 - pandemic influenza. This is the predominant virus and poses the greatest risk to Canadians for this influenza season. The Region is encouraging everyone to get immunized to help minimize the spread. Saskatoon Health Region will continue to inform the public of any changes to immunization plans as vaccinations progress over the next few weeks. The public is asked to check for both seasonal and H1N1 immunization clinic times and locations by visiting our website at

Side effects in statin users linked to gene mutation (USA)

Side effects in statin users linked to gene mutation"U.S. researchers have identified a common gene mutation linked to side effects in people taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. Statins can reduce high cholesterol and lower the risk of heart attack or stroke. But 25 percent to 50 percent of people prescribed the potentially lifesaving drugs stop taking them after a year because of side effects, in particular muscle aches. The study included 509 people taking one of three types of statins: atorvastatin (Lipitor), simvastatin (Zocor) or pravastatin (Pravachol). The patients took the drugs for an initial period of eight weeks and then had their doses increased for an additional eight weeks. The Duke University Medical Center researchers found that people with the common mutation in the SLCO1B1 gene were more likely to have muscle aches. The more copies of the mutation, the greater their risk. The study also found that the muscle side effects differed depending on the type of statin. People taking simvastatin reported the most side effects while those taking pravastatin had the least muscle aches. The findings, published online October 12 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, may help doctors increase the number of patients who keep taking the drugs." - HealthDay

Genes not destiny when it comes to heart disease (Canada)

When it comes to heart disease, lifestyle usually trumps genetics, says noted genetic researcher Dr. Robert Hegele, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Lecturer at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2009. Dr. Hegele's work is unravelling the nature vs. nurture debate that has intrigued scientists for years. He says that for about five per cent of patients, the effect of genetics is so strong there is little they can do, but that 95 per cent of us can override our genes by following a healthy lifestyle. "Even if you've been dealt a bad hand of genes, it's not a life sentence for most people," says Dr. Hegele, director of the Martha G. Blackburn Cardiovascular Genetics Laboratory at Robarts Research Institute. "Simple actions - basic things like smoking cessation, following a healthy diet, and physical activity - are the key to overturning genetic predisposition." - Robarts Research

Grant brings real-world science to Boston classrooms (USA)

"A new curriculum called The Great Diseases will bring real-world biomedical research to students in three Boston high schools. The result of a collaboration between scientists from Tufts University School of Medicine and teachers from the Boston Public Schools, the curriculum presents current threats to global health through laboratory learning, multimedia, and case-based studies. Funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, the curriculum is designed to increase science literacy and generate enthusiasm for the life sciences among high school students. The curriculum will be taught to 11th and 12th graders at Madison Park Technical and Vocational High School, Boston Latin School, and Boston Latin Academy. Students will investigate diseases in five modules: infectious disease, cancer, metabolic disease, neurological disease, and cardiovascular disease" - EurekAlert

Canadian Cardiovascular Society recognizes trailblazing work by U of Alberta heart researcher

Canadian Cardiovascular Society recognizes trailblazing work by U of Alberta heart researcher"A University of Alberta medical researcher, a world leader in his field, is receiving a national award for both his pioneering work in understanding heart and kidney function, and in the development of a new class of drugs that could someday treat a wide variety of diseases. The Canadian Cardiovascular Society is giving its 2009 Young Investigator Award in the basic science category to Gavin Y. Oudit, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry's Department of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology, and a staff cardiologist at Alberta Health Services' University of Alberta Hospital. The prestigious award is to be presented at the society's awards ceremony on October 25, during the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress being held in Edmonton. Millions of people around the world who have high blood pressure and/or heart failure are treated with a class of drugs called ACE inhibitors. Oudit and his collaborators are working on an alternative drug that wouldn't have the negative side effects that often occur with ACE inhibitors while providing a new type of therapeutic benefit. Those side effects can include cough, fatigue, dizziness and the possibility of kidney complications."

Low dose radiation 'harms heart' (UK)

"Low doses of radiation can cause cardiovascular disease, according to work carried out by mathematicians at Imperial College. They have constructed a model which suggests that the risk would increase as the dose increases. Studies have shown that nuclear workers exposed to long-term doses of radiation have higher levels of heart disease. But experts said it was too early to draw such conclusions without the biological research to back it up. The team at Imperial College, writing in the journal PLOS Computational Biology, say they explored a novel mechanism that suggests radiation kills monocytes, which travel across the arterial wall to mop up a protein called MCP-1" - BBC

Saskatoon Health Region - H1N1 News Conference October 21, 2009 - Part 2

Saskatoon Health Region announces upcoming H1N1 vaccination schedule. Part 2

Saskatoon Health Region - H1N1 News Conference October 21, 2009 - Part 1

Saskatoon Health Region announces upcoming H1N1 vaccination schedule. Part 1

Shirley Patola Obituary from Saskatoon Star Phoenix

Shirley Patola ObituaryShirley Irene Patola (Collinge) January 6, 1937 October 22, 2009. Our much loved mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend passed away at home, in the company of her family, after a battle with cancer at the age of 72 years. Shirley is survived by sons, Mark (Lindsay) and David (Shannen); granddaughters, Ava and Mira; sister, Marge Foley-Jacob; brother in law, Nick Patola; nieces and nephews; and many friends. She was predeceased by her husband, Walter; parents, Harry and Violet Collinge; and her brother, Wayne. Shirley was born on January 6, 1937 in Eston, SK. She attended grade school in Quill Lake and graduated from high school in Kindersley, SK in 1955. Shirley became a qualified nurse in 1958 and received her B.Sc. in nursing in 1964. She worked as a general duty nurse, a clinical teacher, a researcher and an administrator. Her most rewarding work was the 18 years she spent as the clinic nurse for children and adults with Cystic Fibrosis. She retired in 1998 after 40 years in the profession. Shirley married Walt Patola in 1966. Mark was born in 1971 and David in 1972. Shirley's first grandchild, Ava Jane, was born in August 2007 and her second grandchild, Mira Shirley, was born in April 2009. Shirley was very proud to be a Grandma. Travel was a great enjoyment for her. But her greatest joy came from volunteering her time and helping others; which included her family, her friends and strangers (that were soon to be friends); and she had great memories of all of you. Vigil for Shirley will be held on Monday, October 26, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. from Park Funeral Chapel, 311 3rd Ave N, Saskatoon. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Rev. Fr. Joseph Nsiah on Tuesday, October 27, 2009 at 10:30 a.m. from St. Philip Neri Roman Catholic Church, 1904 Munroe Avenue, Saskatoon. Committal of Shirley's ashes will follow in Woodlawn Catholic Cemetery. In Shirley's honour Donations can be made to: The Children's Health & Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan, 850, 410 22nd Street East, Saskatoon, SK S7K 5T6. To sign the online book of condolences visit Arrangements entrusted to Greg Lalach. View/sign the Guestbook

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Researchers define barriers to successful heart cell transplants (Canada)

Researchers at the University of Toronto have developed a novel cell injection test-bed to evaluate the barriers to transplanted cell integration with cardiac tissue. The results provide insights into the barriers that should be considered during heart cell transplantation studies - PhysOrg

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


EUROECHO 2009EUROECHO 2009, 9-12 December 2009, Madrid, Spain, is the thirteenth Annual Meeting of the European Association of Echocardiography, a Registered Branch of the ESC, organised in cooperation with the Working Group on Echocardiography of the Spanish Society of Cardiology. This year's main themes are 3D Echo and Cardiomyopathies. Watch President-Elect Luigi Badano talk about 3D Echo Box:

$8 million NIH grant for heart cell development and study (USA)

The Medical College of Wisconsin has been awarded a five-year, $8 million, multi-investigator Program Project Grant (PPG) from the National Institutes of Health to understand how human pluripotent stem cells, defined as cells which if left to their own designs can develop into any of the more than 200 cell types in the human body, can be channeled to exclusively become heart muscle cells. "To date no one has been able to replace damaged heart tissue. If we can use pluripotent cells to produce cardiac myocytes, which constitute the contractile tissue of the human heart, in laboratory dishes, we could potentially transplant them into diseased hearts to compensate for the loss of muscle tissue," says John Lough, Ph.D., head of the investigative team and professor of cell biology, neurobiology and anatomy - EurekAlert

Nestor Shabits obituary from Saskatoon Star Phoenix

Nestor Shabits 1935- 2009. It is with sadness that the family announces that the death of Nestor Shabits occurred at St. Paul's Hospital on Sunday, October 18th 2009 at the age of 74 years. Nestor is survived by his loving wife, Eva (nee Armistead); daughters, Shari (David Priest) and Marie (George Hutchinson), both of Vernon BC; sister, Elizabeth Kendrick of Victoria BC; aunt, Mary Farion; sister-in-law, Janet (Ken) Armistead of Winnipeg; brotherin-law, Frank Armistead of Regina; and sister-in-law, Janet Kostyna of Gravelbourg; as well as numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and friends. He was predeceased by his parents, Katherine (1976) and Paul (1974); sister, Eugenia Makahoniuk and her husband, Bill; brother, Adam; mother-in-law and father-in-law, Lucy and Cecil Armistead; and brothers-in-law, Graham Kendrick and Ken Armistead. Nestor was born on May 4th, 1935 near Verigin SK. The family moved to Benito when he was 5 years old where he attended school and worked on the farm as he grew up. He obtained his B.Sc. and B.Ed. degrees at Brandon College and while there enrolled in the Canadian Officers Training Corps. After graduation he started his teaching career in Durban Manitoba and later Waskada. He and Eva were married on July 7th 1962 in Swan River and they relocated to Brandon in 1966 where Nestor would teach high school classes for the next 22 years. In 1987 he attended Assiniboine Community College and received his Computer Technology Certificate following which he and Eva relocated to Saskatoon where Nestor continued his teaching career at Compucollege as well as Northlands College in Buffalo Narrows and LaLoche before retiring from CDI in Saskatoon. Nestor was a valued member of St. John's Anglican Church and was active in the men's club, Bridge Club, Supper Club, and mentoring of refugees. He was a driving force in the Coronary Artery Rehabilitation Group (CARG) holding many executive positions and editing the newsletter. He was on the Board of the Saskatoon Convalescent Home and a member of the Woodworker's Guild. Nestor was always busy and had a number of favorite pastimes and hobbies including wood working, gardening, photography, computer programming, walking and the outdoors as well as camping and campfire cooking and making cheese cake. Nestor particularly cherished the times he had with family and friends. Long weekends and summer holidays were spent traveling to and visiting with family both immediate and extended. Nestor had a lifelong dedication of giving back to his community and was always willing to help out wherever he saw a need. He was a kind, gentle and generous man with a dry sense of humor who will be dearly missed and lovingly remembered by his family and many friends. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to CARG (Coronary Artery Rehabilitation Group 2020 College Dr. Saskatoon, SK S7N 2W4), the Prostrate Cancer Research Foundation (#306 145 Front St. E. Toronto ON M5A 1E3) or a charity of choice. Funeral Services will take place on Friday, October 23rd, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. at the St. John's Anglican Cathedral with inturnment to follow in the Columbarium prior to a reception in the Church Hall. The family invites members of CARG to wear their shirts in remembrance of Nestor. Condolences may be sent to Arrangements have been entrusted to SASKATOON FUNERAL HOME. View and sign the guestbook

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Take Heart America

"Take Heart America is a demonstration project designed to show how cardiac arrest survival rates in America's cities can be significantly increased through a comprehensive, community-wide approach. THA has deployed state-of-the art resuscitation science strategies and outreach programs in four demonstration communities: St. Cloud, MN; Anoka Co, MN; Columbus, OH; and Austin, Texas. Combining the efforts of doctors, nurses, paramedics, health educators and community leaders, THA has successfully proved the validity of our general concept by increasing survival rates more than two-fold. Sudden cardiac arrest claims more than 300,000 lives per year, nearly 1,000 people each day in the United States alone. Current statistics reveal merely five percent of SCA victims survive to leave the hospital."

Science to 'stop age clock at 50' (UK)

"Centenarians with the bodies of 50-year-olds will one day be a realistic possibility, say scientists. Half of babies now born in the UK will reach 100, thanks to higher living standards, but our bodies are wearing out at the same rate. To achieve "50 active years after 50", experts at Leeds University are spending £50m over five years looking at innovative solutions. They plan to provide pensioners with own-grown tissues and durable implants. New hips, knees and heart valves are the starting points, but eventually they envisage most of the body parts that flounder with age could be upgraded. The university's Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering has already made a hip transplant that should last for life, rather than the 20 years maximum expected from current artificial hips" - BBC

Monday, October 19, 2009

Work out at work (Canada)

Work out at work (Canada)"Did you know that more than 15 million Canadians spend half of their waking hours at work and a full 51% participate in no physical activities in their leisure time? According the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute, 63% of Canadians are not active enough to achieve health benefits, which leaves them at risk for heart and other diseases, disability and premature death. Now that many of us sit for long periods of time either commuting to and from work or while at work, it's time to get up and use the time you spend at work to get moving. The benefits to being physically active at work are not only good for you, but also your co-workers. According to Health Canada employers that have instituted or supported workplace activity programs have noticed improved morale, a sense of well-being, higher energy levels and improved team building among their employees. Talk to your supervisor about these benefits. Health Canada recommends adults be active 30 to 60 minutes a day, most days of the week. No need to do it all at once. Just try to be active in small increments throughout your day - Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Astra, Bristol diabetes drug wins EU approval

"A new diabetes drug from AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb has been approved for sale in Europe, clearing the way for a head-to-head battle with Merck & Co's Januvia in EU markets. The green light for Onglyza from the European Commission had been widely expected, following a positive recommendation from the European Medicines Agency in June. The two pharmaceutical partners said they expected to launch Onglyza in Europe in the fourth quarter of 2009 as an add-on therapy for use alongside the older medicines metformin, thiazolidinedione or sulphonylurea. Both Onglyza and Januvia, which sold $1.4 billion worldwide in 2008, aim to enhance the body's ability to lower elevated blood sugar levels and are part of a class of drugs known as dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors" - Reuters

Health Department to regulate trans fats in foods (South Africa)

"The Department of Health is in the process of consulting with stakeholders with the intention to develop legislation aimed at the reduction of certain trans-fats, in particular trans fatty acids deriving from the process of partial hydrogenation of vegetable oil, present in certain processed and prepared foods currently for sale in South Africa. The development and implementation of the legislation will contribute significantly to the reduction in risk of chronic diseases of lifestyle associated with the presence of trans fatty acids in the diet of South Africans, in line with the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health, which was adopted in May 2004, at the 57th World Health Assembly (WHA). The Global Strategy fosters the formulation of national policies to improve, amongst others, diet, which provides a unique opportunity for the Department to assume a central role, through cooperation with relevant stakeholders, to implement regulatory measures that would reduce the intake of man-made trans fatty acids"

Stroke for Stroke 2010 (UK)

"Stroke for Stroke is a partnership between The Stroke Association and Siemens to help support Siemens' sponsorship of the GB rowing team, and to raise money to help fight stroke in the UK. Stroke for Stroke aims to highlight the positive benefits of regular exercise by encouraging as many people as possible to row 10km during Stroke for Stroke Week, 25 to 31 January 2010, whilst raising funds for The Stroke Association. Stroke is the second biggest killer in the UK and over 1.1 million people are living with the after effects of stroke. It touches so many lives and yet is still incredibly underfunded. You can make a real difference by raising vital funds for The Stroke Association and reduce your stroke risk through exercise"

Syria bans smoking in public places

Syria bans smoking in public places"President Bashar al-Assad has issued a decree banning smoking in a wide range of public places such as cafes and restaurants, official news agency SANA reported.
The decree "forbids smoking and the sale of tobacco in any form in cafes, restaurants and nightclubs as well as in schools, universities, hospitals, public transport, cinemas, theatres and museums." "Tobacco is also banned in official meetings," it said, adding that designated smoking zones can be established in public places. The Syrian government has passed several laws restricting smoking. A decree in 1996 banned tobacco advertising while a 2006 law outlawed smoking on transport and in some public places, introducing fines for offenders. In March last year the Syrian ministry of local government and the environment issued a regulation banning the sale of tobacco to under-18s" - AFP

Cost effectiveness of blood pressure device evaluated

Cost effectiveness of blood pressure device evaluated"A study conducted by the University of Rochester Medical Center demonstrates that, for certain patient populations, an experimental device that lowers blood pressure may be a cost effective treatment. The implantable device, called Rheos, is in advanced stages of testing for individuals with drug resistant hypertension. The study - which appears in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension - used data from two large population-based studies and compared the incidence of adverse health events such as stroke and heart attack for groups of individuals with and without the blood pressure lowering benefit of the device" - ScienceDaily

World Diabetes Day on Twitter

World Diabetes Day now has an account on #Twitter

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Teenagers offered heart screening (UK)

Teenagers offered heart screening (UK)"A charity is offering 14-year-olds in London and the South East free heart screening in a bid to cut sudden deaths from undetected cardiac problems. Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) said 12 apparently fit under 35s die every week from undiagnosed heart conditions. The screening initiative will help to lay the foundations for a national programme in the future. The focus on 14-year-olds is because post puberty is the earliest age that proactive screening is viable. The launch of CRY's programme coincides with the announcement of what is thought to be the world's first specialist centre dedicated to sudden cardiac death, which will be based at St George's Healthcare NHS Trust in south-west London"

Thursday, October 15, 2009

CMAJ - 13 October 2009

The Canadian Medical Association Journal - 13 October 2009, Volume 181, Issue 8, is now available online

Stem cells grow heart tissue in lab (USA)

Researchers report a major step toward the goal of literally rebuilding a broken heart - creating a strip of working heart muscle in the laboratory by using a newly identified human cardiac master stem cell. "This work moves us closer to heart stem cell therapy," said Dr. Kenneth Chien, director of the Massachusetts General Center for Cardiovascular Research, a member of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and leader of a group reporting the work online October 15 in Science. That therapy, he said, would be "almost like slapping a Band-Aid on the heart." - HealthDay

Aging heart can be prevented, say scientists (Japan)

Scientists in Japan said they have uncovered evidence that shows it may be possible to delay or prevent heart failure in humans. In a paper published in the journal Circulation, Tetsuo Shioi, lead researcher and assistant professor of medicine at Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine in Kyoto, and his team described how they managed to suppress a variety of the P13K gene in a group of elderly mice. The gene regulates the lifespan of cells and plays a role in the aging of tissues. In previous studies, suppression of this gene extended the lifespan of the roundworm and kept the hearts of old fruit flies healthy. Compared with another group of mice in which the gene was left intact, mice with the suppressed gene had improved cardiac function, less fibrosis (which makes the heart inflexible) and fewer biological markers of aging. "This study showed that aging of the heart can be prevented by modifying the function of insulin and paves the way to preventing age-associated susceptibility to heart failure," Shioi said - Reuters

Report urges revamp of Saskatchewan health system

Report urges revamp of Saskatchewasn health system"The Saskatchewan government is being urged to make widespread changes to the health-care system to put more emphasis on what patients want, but also to allow a greater private-sector role. The Patient First Review Commissioner's Report was released Thursday, 11 months after Health Minister Don McMorris appointed veteran health-care administrator Tony Dagnone to lead the review. The 55-page report says the province's $4-billion health-care system has been designed around the people who deliver health care, not the patients. That must change, Dagnone said, and the change must start with an attitude adjustment. "Patients don't want medicare to be dismantled, they want medicare to be fixed," Dagnone told CBC News."

Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects: Making Sense of the Evidence

"Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An American has a heart attack nearly every 25 seconds, resulting in death about every minute, but those who smoke are not the only ones at risk. Evidence suggests that exposure to secondhand smoke also can result in adverse health effects, including heart disease in nonsmoking adults. To better understand this health threat, the CDC asked the Institute of Medicine to convene a committee to assess the relationship between secondhand-smoke exposure and effects on the heart. In its 2009 report, Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects: Making Sense of the Evidence, the committee concludes that data consistently demonstrates that secondhand-smoke exposure increases the risk of coronary heart disease and heart attacks and that smoking bans reduce this risk. Given the prevalence of heart attacks, and the resultant deaths, smoking bans can have a substantial impact on public health"

Monday, October 12, 2009

OPP, RCMP told not to aim Taser guns at the chest (Canada)

OPP, RCMP told not to aim Taser guns at the chest (Canada)"In a new approach aimed at reducing deaths caused by stun guns, Canadian police forces are being ordered to take new precautions with Taser guns by no longer aiming the weapon at a person's chest and heart. Police authorities have been told that their Tasers must now only point at a person's abdomen, legs or back if they want to subdue the suspect. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Ontario Provincial Police and other municipal and provincial forces were issued the directive late last week after Taser International made mention of new concerns about the weapons and its links to cardiac arrest. The organization said reducing chest shots will avoid the controversy about whether the electronic control devices affect the human heart" -

New strategy for mending broken hearts? - Duke University

By mimicking the way embryonic stem cells develop into heart muscle in a lab, Duke University bioengineers believe they have taken an important first step toward growing a living 'heart patch' to repair heart tissue damaged by disease. In a series of experiments using mouse embryonic stem cells, the bioengineers used a novel mold of their own design to fashion a three-dimensional 'patch' made up of heart muscle cells, known as cardiomyocytes. The new tissue exhibited the two most important attributes of heart muscle cells - the ability to contract and to conduct electrical impulses. The mold looks much like a piece of Chex cereal in which researchers varied the shape and length of the pores to control the direction and orientation of the growing cells. The research was supported by National Institutes of Health, the National Heart Lung Blood Institute and Duke's Stem Cell Innovation program. Other Duke members of the research team were Weining Bian and Nicolas Christoforou

Friday, October 9, 2009

Video: Inhaling a heart attack: How air pollution can cause heart disease

One in three Americans suffer from hypertension, a significant health problem that can lead to cardiovascular disease, heart failure, stroke, diabetes and other life-threatening problems. Researchers at the University of Michigan Health System have determined that the very air we breathe can be an invisible catalyst to cardiovascular disease

Patients who received donated pacemakers survive without complications (USA)

"Patients who received refurbished pacemakers donated from Detroit area funeral homes survived without complications from the devices, according to a case series reported by the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Centre. The pacemakers were implanted in 12 patients at the University of Philippines - Philippine General Hospital who could not afford advanced cardiac care and were confined to their beds as they waited for a permanent pacemaker. All donated pacemakers functioned normally at six months, and most importantly there were no device complications such as infections. The study appears online ahead of print in the 13 October issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology"

Therapeutic Hypothermia journal announced by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

"Therapeutic Hypothermia, a new online open access peer-reviewed journal, will focus on medical treatment which lowers a patient's body temperature to help reduce the risk of ischemic injury to tissues following a period of insufficient blood flow. This therapy is applicable to patients with cardiac arrrest, peripheral embolism, and ischemic stroke. This important new journal, which will begin publication in February 2010, focuses on advancing the understanding of therapeutic hypothermia and its applications in cardiology and neurotrauma. This will be the journal of record in a field that has promising therapeutic applications. 'There is a strong imperative for a dedicated multidisciplinary forum to ensure that research advances are well disseminated, and therapeutic hypothermia is well understood and used effectively to enhance patient outcomes,' says Mary Ann Liebert, president of Mary Ann Liebert, Inc."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Anytime is good for heart surgery

"The October issue of the journal Anesthesiology contains a study reviewing potential adverse effects associated with the timing of a patient's heart surgery; but based on this study, there is no bad time of the day or week or year to have elective coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Research indicates that sleep deficits, natural body rhythm disturbances, and prolonged duty all reduce performance of drivers and pilots. This study's authors tested the theory that the same adverse effects may impact hospital personnel performance. Hospital personnel often work off-hours and pull long shifts. The study investigators thus expected surgical outcomes to be worse at the end of the day and at the end of the week when personnel are likely most fatigued. Similarly, outcomes might be worse in July when new resident physician trainees, fresh out of medical school or newly promoted to perform more demanding duties, start working"

As TV drug ads increase, so do concerns (USA)

"You can't channel surf at all these days without stumbling across drug advertisements featuring happy people, sunny days, vague descriptions and a quickly mumbled list of side effects. If you think you're seeing more of these ads than ever before, you're right. The amount of money spent by pharmaceutical companies on direct-to-consumer advertising more than tripled between 1997 and 2005, growing from $1.3 billion to $4.2 billion since restrictions governing drug ads were relaxed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to the California Public Interest Research Group, a public advocacy group nicknamed CalPIRG. Only the United States and New Zealand allow pharmaceutical companies to advertise their medications directly to consumers, according to the FDA" - HealthDay News

Smokers' Helpline Services launched for Yukon (Canada)

"The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, federal Minister of Health, along with Yukon's Health and Social Services Minister the Honourable Glenn Hart, today announced the launch of a toll-free quitline service that will help Yukoners quit smoking. "The Government of Canada is proud to support a territorial Smokers' Helpline in Yukon," said Minister Aglukkaq. "Providing help to people trying to kick the tobacco addiction is important for both the federal and territorial governments and quitlines in other regions of Canada have already proven themselves to be very effective tools." The Smokers' Helpline provides free, confidential, telephone-based smoking cessation services to smokers who are interested in quitting. Individuals who call the Smokers' Helpline receive important information, advice, and motivational counselling from a quit specialist. In addition, specialists will help connect smokers with available local cessation services and provide support materials that will assist them in quitting" - Health C anada

Insomnia could up blood pressure - H&SF

"People who have difficulty sleeping at night may have a greater risk of high blood pressure and associated heart disease than people who get a good night's rest, Heart and Stroke Foundation researcher Paola Lanfranchi has found. Her study, published in the journal Sleep, measured the 24-hour blood pressure of patients who were either considered sound sleepers or insomniacs. People with insomnia were defined as having difficulty falling asleep, difficulty maintaining sleep or waking early, resulting in trouble functioning during the daytime. The patients had to have less than 6.5 hours of sleep a night with at least 30 minutes delay before falling asleep (or waking at that time) - and the symptoms had to be present for more than three nights per week for longer than six months"

Headphones may cause hiccups in cardiac devices

"Patients with implantable cardioverter-defibrillators or pacemakers should avoid placing the headphones from their MP3 players too close to their chests, researchers said. That's because the magnets in portable headphones may cause the cardiac devices to temporarily malfunction, William Maisel, MD, MPH, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues reported in the October issue of Heart Rhythm. In a study of 100 patients with an implanted device, 30% had a clinically significant interaction when certain models of headphones were placed on their chests, including inhibition of tachyarrhythmia detection in ICDs and asynchronous pacing in pacemakers" - Medpage Today

Knowledgeable patients ignore chest pain (USA)

"When it comes to seeking treatment for chest pain, education doesn't always mean people do the right thing. In a new study, heart patients who received counseling about heart attack symptoms and when to get treatment were no more likely to get immediate care than those who had not received counseling. This is disappointing because patients who receive care within 90 minutes after the onset of heart attack symptoms fare much better. The study, published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, included 3,522 patients with documented heart disease. Patients had a mean age of 67 years; two-thirds were men. About half of the patients received counseling. During the next two years, 565 of the study participants were admitted to the hospital with chest pain symptoms. Some were admitted more than once. Even after learning the value of getting to the hospital quickly and using the emergency medical system (EMS), the group that received counseling was not significantly more likely to do these things than the comparison group that didn't get counseling" - WebMD

Barnes-Jewish opens hybrid operating room for combined procedures (USA)

"The final piece of the nation's largest operating room renovation project is now complete with the installation of Barnes-Jewish Hospital's Hybrid OR, allowing both vascular and cardiac surgical procedures to be done in one single room for patients. At 800 square feet, the Hybrid room is the size of two regular operating rooms in Barnes-Jewish's Cardiothoracic OR in the Southwest Tower and will be home to many unique cardiovascular cases"

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Anti-obesity ad shocks New Yorkers glass of thick, yellow human fat, marbled with blood vessels, is the latest weapon in America's war on obesity. The new shock adverts, which are accompanied by the words "Are you pouring on the pounds?", target the billions of hidden calories which Americans consume each year in sodas and other sugary drinks. America has a serious soda habit: residents drink 15 billion gallons of the fizzy stuff each year. New York health officials say the images used in the new campaign are intended to be "ugly" and are designed to give people a jolt. "We really wanted to make a statement and grab people's attention," said Cathy Nonas, director of the city health department's Physical Activity and Nutrition Programs - BBC

High blood pressure tops the list of preventable deaths in China

"High blood pressure is the leading preventable cause of death in China, causing 2.3 million deaths a year, researchers reported on Monday. Their paper, released online by The Lancet, was done by scientists at Tulane University, the National Center for Cardiovascular Disease in Beijing and other institutions. It was based on a study of nearly 170,000 Chinese ages 40 or over who were first gathered in 1991 for medical exams that included blood pressure tests. About 1.3 million of the deaths occurred in men under age 72 or women under 75, the average life expectancies in China in 2005. Most were caused by strokes and aneurysms, followed by heart attacks. The study was financed by the American Heart Association, the National Institutes of Health and China’s Ministries of Health and Science and Technology" - New York Times

Test detects patients who don't respond to Plavix (USA)

"Scripps Health hospital system has begun using a saliva-based genetic test to detect whether patients will respond to Plavix, a widely used blood thinner that usually prevents clots. But recent studies show about one-third of people of European descent, and more than 40 percent of people of African and Asian descent don't properly respond to Plavix, putting them at increased risk of fatal blood clots. The new laboratory test from Quest Diagnostics detects four genetic mutations found in more than 90 percent of patients who won't benefit from the drug, which is marketed by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi-Aventis. While older tests were capable of picking up the mutations, Quest says its test is the first designed for routine use and quick processing" - WCAX

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Saskatoon Health Region YouTube channel

The Saskatoon Health Region YouTube channel is now available

The Region Reporter: News from Saskatoon Health Region

The Region Reporter publishes articles related to the Saskatoon Health Region's strategic directions. Saskatoon Health Region is the largest health region in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada - serving more than 100 cities, towns, villages, RMs and First Nation communities

A simple way for older adults to assess arterial stiffness: reach for the toes

How far you can reach beyond your toes from a sitting position normally used to define the flexibility of a person's body may be an indicator of how stiff your arteries are. A study in the American Journal of Physiology has found that, among people 40 years old and older, performance on the sit-and-reach test could be used to assess the flexibility of the arteries. Because arterial stiffness often precedes cardiovascular disease, the results suggest that this simple test could become a quick measure of an individual's risk for early mortality from heart attack or stroke. "Our findings have potentially important clinical implications because trunk flexibility can be easily evaluated," said one of the authors, Kenta Yamamoto. "This simple test might help to prevent age-related arterial stiffening."

The Hearts in Hand Collection (USA)

The Hearts in Hand Collection (USA)"The Hearts in Hand Collection at the University of Colorado, a library of physical heart models in a variety of structural disease states, allows physicians to gain a quick and thorough understanding of spatial relationships and practice catheter pathways and device selection prior to conducting minimally invasive interventions. Based on patient hearts, the Collection provides physicians and their teams with hands-on training tools to help them plan for safer and more efficient structural heart disease interventions. Each model is individually made with one of the highest resolution rapid prototyping technologies on the market. Due to the anatomical complexity of the human heart and structural heart disease, each model is constructed and meticulously detailed"

Scientists jump-start the heart by gene transfer (USA)

Scientists from the Universities of Michigan and Minnesota show in a research report published online in the FASEB Journal that gene therapy may be used to improve an ailing heart's ability to contract properly. In addition to showing gene therapy's potential for reversing the course of heart failure, it also offers a tantalizing glimpse of a day when "closed heart surgery" via gene therapy is as commonly prescribed as today's cocktail of drugs. "We hope that our study will lead some day to the development of new genetic-based therapies for heart failure patients," said Todd J. Herron, Ph.D., one of the researchers involved in the study and research assistant professor of molecular and integrative physiology at the University of Michigan. "The advent of molecular motor-based gene transfer for the failing heart will hopefully improve cardiac function and quality of life for heart failure patients." - EurekAlert

Nature Medicine celebrates 15th anniversary with expanded content and editorial team

"In 2010 Nature Medicine will celebrate 15 years as the leading translational research journal. To mark this anniversary, Nature Medicine will expand its content by 25% and increase its editorial team. From January 2010 Nature Medicine will publish more news, reviews, and research articles. Readers and library customers can enjoy 25% more content in the journal, with no commensurate price increases. At the same time, Nature Medicine will increase the number of professional editors that evaluate manuscripts. Nature Medicine will have expert editors devoted to evaluating manuscripts in most areas of biomedicine: cancer biology, cardiovascular research, metabolism, general physiology, autoimmunity and immunology, infectious diseases and neuroscience. Three new editors are currently being recruited"

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mercury in fish seems to raise blood pressure in spite of nutrients

The negative impact of high amounts of methylmercury in seafood on blood pressure may outweigh the protective effects of fish nutrients, researchers report in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association. Researchers found that even when blood pressure was within the normal range and numerous other factors, including omega-3 fatty acids (essential fats that your body needs to function properly but does not make) and selenium (a dietary essential mineral) were carefully controlled for, the environmental mercury was associated with higher blood pressure and pulse pressure among Nunavik Inuit adults in a recent study - AHA

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Shock finding on salt levels in big-name brand foods (UK)

"Customers searching for the healthy options on supermarket shelves may be better-off choosing the cheaper deals, according to a study which has found that own-brand and "value" ranges have the lowest levels of salt. The study was carried out by the campaign group Consensus Action on Salt and Health (Cash) and comes a day before the Food Standards Agency launches the next part of its campaign to reduce salt consumption in the UK. The FSA will warn customers to be aware of the wide variation in salt levels in these types of food" - Guardian

Test 'spots blood disease danger' (UK)

"UK experts say they have found a way of predicting which thalassaemia patients are going to develop heart failure. The technique uses a magnetic resonance scanner to measure the level of iron in the heart, which builds to life-threatening levels in some patients. The study, published in the journal Circulation, suggests the technique leads to a 71% reduction in deaths. Thalassaemia is an inherited disorder of the blood system which causes a lack of haemoglobin. A government spokesman said it could significantly help in the management of people with thalassaemia. The teams at the Royal Brompton Hospital and Imperial College tried the technique on 652 patients over seven years" - BBC

Study hopes to use patients' own stem cells to mend broken hearts

"On September 14, 46-year-old Hatem Faraj suffered a major heart attack while watching Monday Night Football on TV. Tuesday, the Wesley Chapel man joined the cutting edge of heart disease research, becoming the area's first participant in a study to see if a patient's own stem cells can regenerate his damaged heart muscle. The procedure he had at Pepin Heart at University Community Hospital in Tampa is part of a University of Florida research program. Its aim is improving chances of long-term survival and reducing heart transplants. Using stem cells to regenerate heart tissue has been studied for several years in animals and humans, producing mixed results. Still, the therapy is considered promising for millions of Americans with heart failure" -

Cockroach inspires GBP1,500 heart created by Indian doctor Sujoy Guha

Cockroach inspires GBP1,500 heart created by Indian doctor Sujoy Guha"A ground-breaking GBP1,500 artificial heart inspired by the anatomy of the cockroach could revolutionise human cardiac care, scientists in India believe. The development of a robust, affordable and safe synthetic heart remains one of the holy grails of biomedical engineering amid a shortage of donated organs and rising levels of heart disease. In Britain, critically ill adults wait an average of 103 days and children 143 days for a donated heart, according to the NHS. In India, heart disease will end more lives per year than all infectious illnesses combined, including diarrhoea, tuberculosis and malaria, by 2015, World Health Organisation figures suggest, as Western lifestyle diseases take a grip" - Times, London

Philips Healthcare recalls 5,400 defibrillators

Philips Healthcare said Saturday it is recalling about 5,400 automated external defibrillators after receiving reports of a memory chip failure in a small number of some models that could make them inoperable - SFGate

Friday, October 2, 2009

Stroke News - Autumn 2009 (UK)

Stroke News - Autumn 2009 (UK)From the editor of Stroke News - Autumn 2009: "In this issue we celebrate the inspirational winners of this year's Life After Stroke Awards and highlight the story of Sam, a brave little boy who at the tender age of eight has already spent half his life learning to cope with disabilities caused by a stroke"

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association honors corporate citizens, community programs and advocates for efforts to address sudden cardiac arrest

"October is Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month, and the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association (SCAA) has announced the recipients of its 2009 leadership awards who will be honored for their work to raise awareness of sudden cardiac arrest, prevent sudden cardiac death and improve cardiovascular health. The awards will be presented at the SCAA Awards Dinner sponsored by Abbott on Saturday, October 10, 2009, at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Chicago, Illinois, during the SCAA Annual Meeting" - PRNewswire

Stem cell therapy aims to prevent permanent damage from heart attacks

"Researchers at University of California - San Francisco Medical Center have begun enrollment for an early-stage clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of an adult stem cell therapy for patients who have just experienced their first acute myocardial infarction, or heart attack. The trial is part of a multi-center national study. The cells used, known as mesenchymal stem cells, were obtained from the bone marrow of healthy adult donors. Depending on their location in the body, mesenchymal stem cells give rise to bone, cartilage, fat, muscle and connective tissue. The experimental therapy is intended to combat the symptoms related to heart damage that continue to develop following a heart attack, including low pumping capacity, inflammation and increased scar tissue. Although the exact mechanisms of the stem cells' actions in this setting are not yet known, previous studies have suggested that they could reduce the amount of scar tissue and inflammation caused by heart attack"

Calcium scans may be effective screening tool for heart disease

"A simple, non-invasive test appears to be an effective screening tool for identifying patients with silent heart disease who are at risk for a heart attack or sudden death. Coronary artery calcium scans can be done without triggering excessive additional testing and costs, according to the multi-center EISNER (Early Identification of Subclinical Atherosclerosis by Noninvasive Imaging Research) study, led by investigators at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute. The findings appear in the September 30 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology" - ScienceDaily

Researchers perfect the view of heart disease

"Radiologists have developed a way to gain better insight into signs of heart disease by using cardiac CT scans that detect narrowed arteries and low blood flow. CT scans use X-rays to create cross-sectional images of the body's internal anatomy. The scans can detect blockages in coronary arteries, but it's hard to tell if they're actually preventing blood from flowing to the heart. In a new study, published September 15 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital explained how to gain more detailed pictures of what is going on inside the body, potentially giving doctors more information about the best treatment"

U.S. Health officials announce new heparin formula

"U.S. health officials on Thursday announced new manufacturing standards for the widely used blood-thinner heparin that will decrease the drug's potency by about 10 percent. The reformulation is largely a response to contaminated heparin that came from China in 2007-2008 and caused hundreds of severe reactions and 200 deaths among U.S. patients, most of whom were on kidney dialysis. While the new standards take effect October 1, the four U.S. manufacturers of heparin have already started making units under the new guidelines, which will make it easier to spot impurities." - HealthDay