Sunday, August 29, 2010

Podcast: Heart attack symptoms in women - are they different?

Mayo Clinic podcast: "Heart attack symptoms in women - are they different from men? The most common symptom of a heart attack in both men and women is some type of pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest. But chest pain isn't always the most severe or even the most prominent symptom in women, and since more women than men die each year of cardiovascular disease, we thought it important to get the facts about heart attack symptoms in women..."

Quitting smoking helps after serious heart attack damage

Quitting smoking helps after serious heart attack damage It's never too late for smokers to do their hearts good by kicking the habit -- even after a heart attack has left them with significant damage to the organ's main pumping chamber, a new study suggests. Past studies have found that smokers who kick the habit after suffering a heart attack have a lower rate of repeat heart attacks and live longer than their counterparts who continue to smoke. But little has been known about the benefits of quitting among heart attack patients left with a complication called left ventricular (LV) dysfunction -- where damage to the heart's main pumping chamber significantly reduces its blood-pumping efficiency. So it has been unclear whether that dysfunction might "drown out" the heart benefits of smoking cessation, said Dr. Amil M. Shah, the lead researcher on the new study and a staff cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. But in their study, Shah and his colleagues found that heart attack survivors with LV dysfunction may stand to benefit as much from smoking cessation as other heart attack patients do - Reuters

Monday, August 23, 2010

Study: Motor vehicles make Americans fat

Study: Motor vehicles make Americans fatEuropean countries with high rates of walking and cycling have fewer obese people than Australia and the United States, U.S. researchers found. David Bassett Jr. of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville said "active travel" - bicycling or walking - fosters healthier communities compared with regions where cars are the favored way to get around. Bassett and colleagues conducted a study on "active travel" in the United States and 15 other countries. They linked more than half of the differences in obesity rates among countries to walking and cycling rates, finding places with the highest walking and biking rates have fewer obese people. In addition, about 30 percent of the difference in obesity rates among U.S. states and cities was also linked to walking and cycling rates. "A growing body of evidence suggests that differences in the built environment for physical activity (e.g., infrastructure for walking and cycling, availability of public transit, street connectivity, housing density and mixed land use) influence the likelihood that people will use active transport for their daily travel," the study said. "Moreover, land-use policies should foster compact, mixed-use developments that generate shorter trip distances that are more suitable for walking and biking." The findings are published in the American Journal of Public Health

Saturday, August 21, 2010

RhinoChill Intra-Nasal Cooling System effectively chills brain after cardiac arrest

RhinoChill Intra-Nasal Cooling System effectively chills brain after cardiac arrest"It has been known for a while now that cooling the body after cardiac arrest improves neurological outcome, and therapeutic hypothermia has become a standard measure in many hospitals. However, in a study in this month's Circulation, a new nasopharyngeal device was used to initiate cooling during cardiac arrest. The RhinoChill Intra-Nasal Cooling System from BeneChill (San Diego, CA) uses a non-invasive nasal catheter that sprays a rapidly evaporating coolant liquid into the nasal cavity, adjacent to the major vascular structures of the brain. The system is compact, battery operated and easy and fast to insert, making it more practical in emergency situations than surface or intravascular cooling devices" - medGadget

Lack of close ties may increase heart disease risk

Lack of close ties may increase heart disease riskWomen who live in neighborhoods lacking in close ties are more likely to have coronary artery calcification, a key marker for underlying heart disease, than those who live in more socially cohesive neighborhoods, according to a study led by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researcher Daniel Kim. Women who lived in the most economically deprived neighborhoods had more than double the odds of underlying heart disease. The study was published online last month in the American Journal of Epidemiology

The Heart Foundation 2011 Conference - Australia

The Heart Foundation 2011 Conference - Australia"The Heart Foundation's 2011 Conference, "Heart to Heart: from Access to Action", will be held at the world class Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, on 17-19 March 2011. The Heart Foundation is the leading organisation in the fight against cardiovascular disease in Australia. Over more than five decades, we have achieved some great milestones in pursuit of our mission of reducing suffering and death from heart, stroke, and blood vessel disease in Australia"

Binge drinking, high blood pressure a lethal combo

Binge drinking, high blood pressure a lethal combo"It's no secret that high blood pressure increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. Nor should it come as a surprise that binge drinking isn't the healthiest habit. But a new study suggests that combining the two may add up to double the trouble - and much more, in some cases. Compared to teetotalers with normal blood pressure, men with high blood pressure (hypertension) who even occasionally down more than six drinks in one sitting have nearly double the risk of dying from a stroke or heart attack, according to the study, which followed 6,100 South Koreans age 55 and up for two decades. If men with high blood pressure have 12 drinks or more at one time, their risk is nearly five times higher, the study found. 'Somehow the binge drinking compounds [high blood pressure] - and more than just a little bit,' says Brian Silver, MD, a neurologist at Henry Ford Hospital, in Detroit, and a spokesman for the American Heart Association"

Sleep hours could cause heart disease

The amount of sleep a person gets could increase risk for heart disease, a recent study by a West Virginia University professor found. Anoop Shankar, associate professor in the Department of Community Medicine, examined 30,397 adults who participated in the 2005 National Health Interview Survey to see if there was a correlation between sleeping habits and heart disease. His study, published in the August journal issue of SLEEP, found sleeping fewer than five hours a night or more than nine hours a night could increase the risk of heart disease. "We asked a question: On an average how many hours did you sleep in 24-hour period?," Shankar said. "The adults answered that question and we then did a diagnostic on heart disease." They examined this association between heart disease and sleep to establish the percentage of people with heart disease and all cardiovascular diseases, such as angina, coronary heart disease, heart attack or stroke, he said.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Antagonistic people may increase heart attack, stroke risk

Antagonistic people may increase heart attack, stroke riskAntagonistic people, particularly those who are competitive and aggressive, may be increasing their risk of heart attack or stroke, researchers report in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association. Researchers for the U.S. National Institute on Aging (NIA), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), studied 5,614 Italians in four villages and found that those who scored high for antagonistic traits on a standard personality test had greater thickening of the neck (carotid) arteries compared to people who were more agreeable. Thickness of neck artery walls is a risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Three years later, those who scored higher on antagonism or low agreeableness - especially those who were manipulative and quick to express anger - continued to have thickening of their artery walls. These traits also predicted greater progression of arterial thickening. Those who scored in the bottom 10 percent of agreeableness and were the most antagonistic had about a 40 percent increased risk for elevated intima-media thickness, a measure of arterial wall thickness. The effect on artery walls was similar to having metabolic syndrome - a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease

More smokers quit using NHS help (UK)

More smokers quit using NHS help (UK)National Health Service smoking services helped a record number of people quit last year, figures show. The NHS Information Centre said 373,964 had successfully given up, an 11% rise from the 337,054 who gave up in in 2008/09. The figures are for people in England who successfully stopped when they were followed up after four-weeks. A separate report from the centre shows around one in 20 hospital admissions for over-35s were linked to smoking. It brought together data from a wide range of previously published material and said smoking accounted for 462,900 admissions. - BBC

Physical activity and cardiovascular health (UK)

Physical Activity and Cardiovascular HealthIn 1953, Morris et al published the findings from a study showing that bus conductors in London, who spent their working hours walking the length of the buses as well as climbing up and down the stairs of the English double-decker buses to collect fares, experienced half the coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality rates of their driver counterparts, who spent their day sitting behind the wheel. Investigators hypothesized that it was the physical activity of work that protected the conductors from developing CHD, at the same time realizing that other factors may also play a role because the conductors were smaller in size, as evidenced by their smaller uniform sizes. Thus was born the field of "physical activity epidemiology": formal epidemiological investigations into the associations of physical activity with many health outcomes...more in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Expensive new blood pressure meds no better than generics

Expensive new blood pressure meds no better than generics"Expensive brand-name medications to lower blood pressure are no better at preventing cardiovascular disease than older, generic diuretics, according to new long-term data from a landmark study. Paul Whelton, MB, MD, MSc, reported the results on Aug. 13 at the plenary session of the China Heart Congress and International Heart Forum in Beijing. Whelton is president and CEO of Loyola University Health System and chairman of the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heat Attack Trial (ALLHAT), which has examined the comparative value of different blood pressure-lowering medications. More than 33,000 patients with high blood pressure were randomly assigned to take either a diuretic (chlorthalidone) or one of two newer drugs, a calcium channel blocker (amlodipine) or an ACE inhibitor (lisinopril)"

The European Society of Cardiology chooses venues for its 2013 and 2014 Congresses

The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) has announced that it has chosen the venues for the 2013 and 2014 editions of its flagship annual event, the ESC Congress. Amsterdam and Barcelona respectively have been selected as the host cities after a rigorous evaluation process. The 2013 event will be held between 31 August and 4 September at the RAI Centre, while the 2014 event will be held between 30 August and 3 September at the FIRA de Barcelona

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Obese visit GP more often than smokers, researchers say

Obese visit GP more often than smokers, researchers say"Overweight people are more likely to make frequent trips to their GP than smokers or those who are generally unfit, say Dutch researchers. The findings cannot be explained by overweight people having a higher risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, the analysis showed. Rising rates of obesity means nurses may have to take some of the pressure off doctors, they said. The research is published in Family Practice" - BBC

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Medical researchers at U of Alberta discover potential treatment for pulmonary hypertension (Canada)

Researchers in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta are one step closer to a treatment for a deadly disease. Pulmonary arterial hypertension, which is high blood pressure in the lungs, currently has only a few treatment options but most cases lead to premature death. It is caused by a cancer-like excessive growth of cells in the wall of the lung blood vessels. It causes the lumen, the path where blood travels, to constrict putting pressure on the right ventricle of the heart which eventually leads to heart failure. Evangelos Michelakis, his graduate student Gopinath Sutendra and a group of collaborators have found that this excessive cell growth can be reversed by targeting the mitochondria of the cell, which control metabolism of the cell and initiate cell death - Science Centric

'Give out statins with junk food' (UK)

'Give out statins with junk food' (UK)Fast food outlets should consider handing out cholesterol-lowering drugs to combat the effects of fatty food, say UK researchers. Taking a statin pill every day would offset the harm caused by a daily cheeseburger and milkshake, the Imperial College London team said. It would only cost 5p a customer - similar to a sachet of ketchup. But the British Heart Foundation warned an unhealthy diet does more harm than just raising cholesterol. Writing in the American Journal of Cardiology, Dr Darrel Francis and colleagues said it was about reducing harm in the same way that people who smoke are encouraged to use filters and those who drive are told to wear seatbelts. They took data from trials of almost 43,000 people to calculate whether the statins could override the effects of eating a junk food diet - BBC

Healthy Heart Recipe Finder - British Heart Foundation iPhone app

Healthy Heart Recipe Finder - British Heart Foundation iPhone app:

* Choose from over 100 recipes from all over the world, with new recipes added regularly
* Use your iPhone in the supermarket with the app’s handy shopping list feature
* Email recipes to your friends
* Rate recipes, and save your favourites for later.
* Get inspired - have the random recipe selector choose for you.

Walk to school, less heart risk as an adult (USA)

Walk to school, less heart risk as an adult (USA)A morning walk or bike ride to school could reduce stress reactivity in children, which is linked to later heart risk, U.S. researchers say. Senior investigator James Roemmich, a University at Buffalo associate professor, and graduate students Maya Lambiase and Heather Barry say cardiovascular reactivity - changes in heart rate and blood pressure due to stress - is associated with the beginnings of cardiovascular disease in children and atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis, in adults, is the build-up of cholesterol, calcium, fat and other substances in artery walls. The research team had 20 boys and 20 girls - all Caucasian, ages10-14 - visit the Behavioral Medicine Research Laboratory. Half of the children sat in a comfortable chair and watched a 10-minute slide show of images of a suburban neighborhood to simulate a ride to school. The other half walked on a treadmill - while images of a suburban neighborhood were projected onto a screen - at a self-selected pace for 1 mile, wearing a book bag containing 10 percent of their body weight. The study, published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, finds, on average, during this activity, heart rate increased by about three beats per minute in children who walked, compared with about 11 beats per minute in children who "rode" to school - UPI

Some heart patients not getting treatment: study (USA)

Some patients with congestive heart failure are not receiving recommended medicines that could keep them alive longer and out of the hospital, a trend that may be adding to the nation's health costs, U.S. researchers say. A team at Stanford University School of Medicine in a study conducted over 15 years found that patients got prescriptions for drugs that would help their condition in fewer than half of doctor visits, and that number was falling. "There are some recommended medications for heart failure that have been proven to be effective against mortality and morbidity, to lower hospitalizations and improve death rates," said Dr. Dipanjan Banerjee, a cardiologist at Stanford who worked on the study released in the Archives of Internal Medicine - Reuters

World Congress of Cardiology Scientific Sessions 2012 (Dubai)

The World Congress of Cardiology Scientific Sessions are to be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in 2012. Held every two years in different locations around the world, this is the first time in the 62 year history of the World Congress of Cardiology that it is to be held in the Middle East

Vitamin B may not guard against second stroke, heart attack

Stroke patients who take vitamin B supplements to lower their homocysteine levels may not be protected from second strokes or heart attacks, a new study finds. Earlier studies found an association between homocysteine, an amino acid, in the blood, and an increased risk for stroke and heart attack. Vitamin B supplements lower homocysteine levels, but whether this really has an effect on stroke and heart attack risk has been unclear, the Australian researchers noted. "B vitamins are safe, but they were not, statistically, significantly more effective than placebo in preventing major vascular events among stroke and TIA [transient ischemic attack] patients," said lead researcher Dr. Graeme J. Hankey, head of the stroke unit at Royal Perth Hospital in Western Australia. "B vitamins have not been proven to have a role in secondary stroke prevention." The report is published in the August 4 online edition of The Lancet Neurology, and will appear in the September print issue of the journal

Temperature drop may raise risk of heart attack (UK)

Cooling temperatures raise the risk of heart attacks, researchers warn. About 200 extra heart attacks are linked to each drop of 1 degrees Celsius in outside temperature, a study shows. The highest risk is within two weeks of a reduction in average daily temperature, with the elderly and heart disease patients most vulnerable. But temperatures getting hotter cause no extra risk, according to research published by British Medical Journal online. Researcher Krishnan Bhaskaran, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said there was a 2 per cent increase in the risk of heart attack in the next 28 days for each 1C fall in temperature. "This translates to around 200 extra heart attacks, so if there are successive falls over a number of days there would be additional sets of extra heart attacks," he said. Researchers analysed data on 84,000 hospital admissions for heart attack between 2003 and 2006 in England and Wales, and daily temperatures from 15 geographical areas

New strategy to fix a broken heart: scaffold supports stem cell-derived cardiac muscle cells

New strategy to fix a broken heart: scaffold supports stem cell-derived cardiac muscle cells"These days people usually don't die from a heart attack. But the damage to heart muscle is irreversible, and most patients eventually succumb to congestive heart failure, the most common cause of death in developed countries. Stem cells now offer hope for achieving what the body can't do: mending broken hearts. Engineers and physicians at the University of Washington have built a scaffold that supports the growth and integration of stem cell-derived cardiac muscle cells. A description of the scaffold, which supports the growth of cardiac cells in the lab and encourages blood vessel growth in living animals, is published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences"

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Early cholesterol problems spell trouble for middle-aged arteries

"Researchers say too much cholesterol isn't safe - at any age. And a recent study suggests it really does matter what you eat and how much you exercise in your 20s and 30s. How come? A heart-healthy diet and regular exercise can lower LDL, or "bad" cholesterol. That's the stuff that can really clog up arteries that feed the heart. And, it turns out, the clogging process starts early. So it's never too soon to start being nicer to your heart. Seems obvious, right? But researchers say the medical community hasn't fully appreciated the consequences of high cholesterol during young adulthood. Now, though, a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine sheds some interesting light on how plaques build up" - GBP News

Scots' cholesterol research could be life-saver

Scottish scientists have discovered new genes linked to high cholesterol, paving the way for tests to predict a person's risk of heart disease. An international team of researchers, including experts at Edinburgh University, studied the genetic make-up of more than 100,000 volunteers to help to pinpoint genes which might have an impact on cholesterol levels. The scientists said the study showed for the first time that it was possible to predict who was likely to develop high cholesterol using a genetic blood test - Scotsman

Poorest people at highest heart disease risk: U.S. data

Socioeconomic status plays a more important role than race or ethnicity in cardiovascular disease risk disparities in the United States, a new study has found. Researchers analyzed data from 12,154 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2001-2006) and found that the poorest people have the highest risk of cardiovascular disease, but there are few differences in risk between racial and ethnic groups. The study included whites, blacks, U.S.-born Mexican Americans and foreign-born Mexican Americans. The lower a person's socioeconomic status, the greater their risk for cardiovascular disease - in all racial and ethnic groups, the investigators found

Essex Start! Heart Walk seeks event volunteers (USA)

Essex Start! Heart Walk seeks event volunteers"The American Heart Association is seeking volunteers to help during the Essex County Start! Heart Walk, scheduled for Sunday, October 17, at the ADP Corporate Campus. Presented nationally by Subway, close to 3,000 participants are expected to walk toward heart health while helping to raise funds to support the American Heart Association's mission of building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. The Essex County Start! Heart Walk is the signature fundraising event for the American Heart Association's Start! movement. This movement is a national initiative to get Americans and their employers to incorporate at least 30 minutes of activity into every day"

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Staying up late may up heart disease risk

Staying up until 2 a.m. and upsetting the body's internal clock might come with serious consequences for lipid metabolism, a U.S. researcher suggests. M. Mahmood Hussain of the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center says circadian rhythm gets thrown off by staying up late or by traveling it may result in high triglycerides - fatty acids in the blood - a risk factor for heart disease. Plasma triglycerides double or triple during the course of the day, reaching their lowest point at night when nocturnal animals eat and are most active

Scientists find 95 blood-fat genetic links to heart disease

In the largest study of its kind, an international team of scientists has identified 95 genetic variants associated with fat, or lipid, levels in the blood that can contribute to heart disease. Together, the gene variants - 59 of which were linked to lipid metabolism for the first time - explain about one-quarter of the inherited variations in cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood, researchers reported in today's issue of Nature. Diet and exercise also influence blood lipid levels

A built-in source for new heart cells

"In heart disease, cardiac muscle gradually dies off and, with little or no way to regenerate those cells, that can ultimately lead the heart to fail. But scientists reporting in the August 6th issue of Cell, a Cell Press publication, might have found a way to fix those losses. They've devised a three-ingredient molecular cocktail that transforms fibroblasts – structural cells that the heart is chock full of – directly into beating heart cells. "In the cardiac field, we've been trying for over 20 years to figure out how to convert non-muscle cells into cardiac muscle," said Deepak Srivastava of the University of California, San Francisco. "Now we've found a way to change fibroblasts – which make up 50 percent of all heart cells -- into new cardiomyocytes." Researchers had been searching for a master regulator of cardiac muscle – a single ingredient that could drive the formation of heart muscle. That kind of master had been found for skeletal muscle in the 1980s, but finding the same for the heart turned out to be a bigger challenge" - EurekAlert

Aspirin doesn't prevent many heart attacks (Canada)

"A low-dose aspirin taken daily only reduces the risk of a first heart attack by less than 1 percent, Canadian researchers found. Study co-authors Dr. Michael Bayliss, a cardiologist now working in Ontario, and Dr. Andrew Ignaszewski, head of the University of British Columbia's division of cardiology at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver, said they found a daily aspirin reduces the risk of having a first heart attack, a stroke or death from vascular disease by .06 percent per year, the Vancouver Sun reported Thursday. However, the study authors said previous studies showed for those with a history of heart attacks, an aspirin reduces the risk of another attack by 20 percent and reduced the risk of stroke in women. The study, published in the British Columbia Medical Journal, said there is no evidence that an aspirin reduces the risk of heart attacks for women or diabetics. The study authors said it is not known why aspirin might affect men more than women but it might have something to do with how the drug is metabolized in the presence of male and female hormones" - UPI

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Fit heart can slow brain ageing, US researchers say

Fit heart can slow brain ageing, US researchers say"Keeping your heart fit and strong can slow down the ageing of your brain, US researchers say. A Boston University team found healthy people with sluggish hearts that pumped out less blood had "older" brains on scans than others. Out of the 1,500 people studied, the team observed that the brain shrinks as it ages. A poor cardiac output aged the brain by nearly two years on average, Circulation journal says. The link was seen in younger people in their 30s who did not have heart disease, as well as elderly people who did"