Saturday, October 30, 2010

Clinical Research Imaging Centre opens in Edinburgh, Scotland

"A cutting-edge medical scanning centre has opened at University of Edinburgh. Opened by the Duke of Edinburgh, the British Heart Foundation invested GBP3 million in the centre to give researchers a vital window on heart disease. Scientists at the Clinical Research Imaging Centre - which cost GBP20 million in total - will use the technology to uncover the secrets of the heart. The BHF-funded magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner uses magnets and sophisticated computer technology to provide highly detailed, instant, real-time moving images of the inside of the body, without using radiation"

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Obese teenagers 'show signs of heart disease' (Canada)

Obese teenagers 'show signs of heart disease' (Canada)"The blood vessels of obese teenagers look more like those found in middle-aged people, say Canadian researchers. A study of 63 children, whose average age was 13, found signs of "stiffening" in the aorta - the largest artery in the body. The British Columbia Children's Hospital team said it was an early indicator of heart disease. The British Heart Foundation described child obesity as a "ticking public health time bomb". One of the key changes in heart disease is the hardening of arteries supplying blood to the heart. The rate of childhood obesity has rocketed in the last two decades and continues to increase, leading to fears that younger and younger people will fall prey to heart attacks and strokes, as well as other diseases such as Type 2 diabetes."

New heart valve procedure promising for high-risk patient (Canada)

New heart valve procedure promising for high-risk patient"Cardiologists have unveiled a new heart valve procedure for patients considered too sick, old or frail to survive a tough operation that splits their chests open. The procedure was revealed Monday at Canadian Cardiovascular Congress taking place in Montreal. Normally, half such high-risk patients - age 80 and over - would die within a year because their diseased aortic valves have worn out and they cannot have open-heart surgery. But placing a new valve through an artery in the leg has yielded dramatic results, opening doors to what experts suggest will become a new gold standard of care for aging boomer hearts in the next decade. Not only are these patients walking about the very same day of their transcatheter valve-replacement procedure, but most go home within three to four days, Australian interventional cardiologist Ronen Gurvitch said Monday after his presentation" - Montreal Gazette

CARG Newsletter - November 2010

The CARG Newsletter - November 2010 is now available online

Friday, October 22, 2010

Heart and Stroke Foundation stresses one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to resuscitation (Canada)

"New emergency care guidelines simplify performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and highlight the need for high-quality CPR by addressing some of the barriers to performing CPR. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, co-author of the 2010 Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC), released the guidelines October 18, 2010. The updated resuscitation guidelines have effectively mapped out a process of care based on the skill set of the rescuer, the situation and the resources available to respond. 'In the past we limited ourselves by making the approach to resuscitation the same across all types of patients, all types of settings, and all types of rescuers,' says Dr. Andrew Travers, chair of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada's policy advisory committee on resuscitation and one of the expert co-authors of the 2010 guidelines. 'We recognize that one size no longer fits all when it comes to CPR.' The new guidelines stress early recognition, urging people to call 9-1-1 or their local emergency number if they ever find someone collapsed and unresponsive, and not to delay by 'looking, listening and feeling' for breathing or pulse. They also recommend that instead of trying to remember how many compressions and how many breaths, bystanders doing CPR are urged simply to “push fast and push hard.'

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hold the salt, WHO tells Canada

Hold the salt, WHO tells Canada"They fought the H1N1 flu pandemic to a draw. Now the World Health Organization is taking on a project every bit as challenging - convincing Canadians to hold the salt. This week, Calgary hosted the second of three WHO conferences on Population Sodium Reduction Strategies, bringing global policy-makers, experts and food industry representatives as well as Canadian government officials together for the two-day event. The conference ended Wednesday and looked at ways to assess salt consumption and evaluate programs aimed at reducing sodium intake. 'Countries need to know how much salt is consumed, where in the diet the salt comes from and how to determine the effectiveness of national programs to reduce salt,' said Dr. Norm Campbell, co-chairman of the conference and University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine professor. Canadians eat a lot of sodium, noted Campbell, and it doesn't just come from the salt shaker in the middle of the table. Processed food is a major culprit and is found in everything from pizza to cereal to condiments. 'When we start to look at high blood pressure, salt is one of the main causes,' said Campbell. 'It's been estimated by the World Health Organization that high blood pressure is the leading risk for death around the world'

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Low cholesterol, depression linked (Netherlands)

Low cholesterol, depression linked"Low cholesterol levels may have a big downside: severe depression, scientists say. A study of 260 men from the Netherlands shows those with chronically low cholesterol readings are more likely to suffer symptoms of severe depression. The study appears in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine. Researchers divided the 40- to 70-year-old men into those who had low cholesterol and those who maintained a slightly more moderate level. The study shows the relative risk of having severe depressive symptoms was four to seven times higher in the men with chronically low cholesterol levels. Researchers found no difference, however, in the levels of hostility or impulsiveness in either group. Recent weight loss and lower calorie intake also are associated with a higher risk of depressive symptoms, the researchers say. Dr. Diederick Grobbee, chairman of the Julius Center for Patient Oriented Research, University Medical Center, Utrecht, The Netherlands, says there are few studies in this area. He adds because there is so little research, the reasons low cholesterol influences the depressive symptoms remain unknown"

Early anti-smoking advocate: King James I of England?

Early anti-smoking advocate: King James I of England?"According to an article in the British Medical Journal, King James I of England was an early anti-smoking advocate. Published anonymously in 1604, but then credited to the king, his Counterblaste to Tobacco stated that smoking was a:

...custome lothsome to the eye, hatefull to the Nose, harmefull to the braine, daungerous to the Lungs, and in the blacke stinking fume thereof, neerest resembling the horrible Stigian smoke of the pit that is bottomlesse.

Comparing smoking to the smoky fires of hell is pretty strong stuff, but, as the BMJ's Wendy Moore points out, his advice would go unheeded for centuries"

Double Down packs a punch as it heads north (Canada)

It's a meaty monster that can make even the bravest fast-food fanatic turn chicken - and health and nutrition experts have their doubts whether Canada really is down with the Double Down. As what is arguably the world's most infamous sandwich makes its debut north of the border, dieticians and academics hope Canadians give KFC's bunless concoction - two slabs of seasoned fried chicken sandwiching bacon, cheese and secret sauce - a wide berth, lest they get wider themselves. The Double Down's 540 calories, 30 grams of fat and (ulp) 1,740 milligrams of sodium is likely to leave Canuck consumers doubled over in discomfort more than anything else, said Susan Barr, a professor of food nutrition at the University of British Columbia. "The sodium is extraordinarily high," said Barr, who's also a fellow with the Dieticians of Canada. The average adult's daily salt intake should be closer to 1,500 mg, she added - a threshold the Double Down exceeds in one single salty supper" - The Canadian Press

Sunday, October 17, 2010

NSU researcher makes breakthrough discovery to curb heart failure (USA)

"A Nova Southeastern University researcher has announced a breakthrough discovery to block a protein that can contribute to heart failure. His discovery will appear in an upcoming issue of the prestigious medical journal, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Anastasios Lymperopoulos, Ph.D., an NSU College of Pharmacy assistant professor of pharmacology, has discovered a novel method, using gene therapy, to block the actions of a gene-encoded protein. That protein, known as beta-arrestin 1, causes an increase of aldosterone production from the body’s adrenal glands into the blood. Aldosterone is a hormone. It increases the reabsorption of sodium and water into the kidneys, causing high blood volume and blood pressure. It also has several direct damaging effects on the heart, such as fibrosis, hypertrophy, and inflammation. An increase in blood volume causes high blood pressure. This in turn decreases the pumping action of the heart, and is one of the causes of heart failure"

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Walking may keep brain from shrinking in old age

Walking may keep brain from shrinking in old age"Walking at least six miles (10 km) a week may be one thing people can do to keep their brains from shrinking and fight off dementia, U.S. researchers said. A study of nearly 300 people in Pittsburgh who kept track of how much they walked each week showed that those who walked at least six miles (10 km) had less age-related brain shrinkage than people who walked less. "Brain size shrinks in late adulthood, which can cause memory problems. Our results should encourage well-designed trials of physical exercise in older adults as a promising approach for preventing dementia and Alzheimer's disease," said Kirk Erickson of the University of Pittsburgh, whose study appears in the journal Neurology. Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, slowly kills off brain cells, and activities like walking have been shown to build brain volume. Erickson and colleagues tested to see if people who walk a lot might be better positioned to fight off the disease. They studied 299 volunteers who were free of dementia and who kept track of how much they walked"

Florida State study finds watermelon lowers blood pressure (USA)

Florida State study finds watermelon lowers blood pressure (USA)"No matter how you slice it, watermelon has a lot going for it - sweet, low calorie, high fibre, nutrient rich - and now, there's more. Evidence from a pilot study led by food scientists at The Florida State University suggests that watermelon can be an effective natural weapon against prehypertension, a precursor to cardiovascular disease. It is the first investigation of its kind in humans. FSU Assistant Professor Arturo Figueroa and Professor Bahram H. Arjmandi found that when six grams of the amino acid L-citrulline/L-arginine from watermelon extract was administered daily for six weeks, there was improved arterial function and consequently lowered aortic blood pressure in all nine of their prehypertensive subjects (four men and five postmenopausal women, ages 51-57). 'We are the first to document improved aortic hemodynamics in prehypertensive but otherwise healthy middle-aged men and women receiving therapeutic doses of watermelon,' Figueroa said. 'These findings suggest that this 'functional food' has a vasodilatory effect, and one that may prevent prehypertension from progressing to full-blown hypertension, a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes" - Science Centric

Low beta blocker dose can put patients at risk for subsequent heart attacks (USA)

"For nearly 40 years a class of drugs known as beta blockers have been proven to increase patients' survival prospects following a heart attack by decreasing the cardiac workload and oxygen demand on the heart. In a breakthrough study released in the American Heart Journal, Northwestern Medicine cardiologist Jeffrey J. Goldberger found the majority of patients are frequently not receiving a large enough dose of these drugs, which can put their recovery from heart attacks and overall health into peril. "Only 46% of patients studied were taking 50% or more of the target dose of beta blockers shown to be beneficial in clinical trials," said Goldberger, director of cardiac electrophysiology research for the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute of Northwestern Memorial Hospital and a professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "Furthermore, 76% of patients were still being treated with the same amount of medication given at discharge. This means that for the vast majority of patients, there wasn't even an attempt to increase their dose." Goldberger added that patients not getting the right amount of beta blockers is a problem nationwide. "Beta blockers work to keep patients alive after a heart attack, so proper dosing of beta blockers can save many lives," said Goldberger. Northwestern Memorial was one of 19 sites that participated in the PACEmaker and Beta-blocker Therapy Post-Myocardial Infarction (PACEMI) Trial Registry. Nearly 2,000 patients, who had been treated for a heart attack, were enrolled across the sites" - EurekAlert

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hospitalization costs explode with terminal heart patients: Alberta study

"A new study examining the high cost of dying in Alberta - the first of its kind in Canada - suggests the final weeks of the lives of terminal cardiac patients cost the health system more than five times the per-capita cost of health care in the province, most of it due to hospitalization. The numbers, according to contributing author and University of Alberta cardiologist Justin Ezekowitz, point to the need for a broader dialogue about how victims of terminal heart conditions wish to spend their remaining days. "Rather than dying in ICU setting or in hospital, where would you prefer to die? Planning ahead is key," Ezekowitz said. The article, in the current edition of Archives of Internal Medicine, examined the end-of-life costs among heart failure patients 65 years and older in Alberta

Heart problems are a silent killer of children (USA)

Heart problems are a silent killer of children (USA)"Nearly 300 Michiganders younger than 40 die each year of sudden cardiac death, with African-American males dying at 2 1/2 times the rate of others. The Michigan Department of Community Health, which completed a study last year looking into the deaths, is now turning to parents and schools to help prevent others. Although sudden cardiac death is not limited to athletes, one of the department's efforts is aimed at high school athletes. Officials say some risks for cardiac arrest can be detected with more thorough screenings of athletes or a deeper examination of genetic history, said Debra Duquette, who directed the review for the health department"

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Saskatoon Health Region's seasonal influenza vaccine clinics begin October 12, 2010

Saskatoon Health Region's seasonal influenza vaccine clinics begin October 12, 2010. Tour the clinic site at Prairieland Park. Seasonal influenza vaccine includes protection against H1N1 as well as two other viruses circulating through the world this year. There is no cost for the 2010 seasonal influenza vaccine

Stanford medical school launches eCampus Geriatrics (USA)

Stanford medical school launches eCampus Geriatrics (USA)"The Stanford Center for Longevity reported several months ago that over the next 30 years, the number of people age 65 and older will double, and diversity will significantly increase among the elderly. In anticipation of these demographic shifts, School of Medicine researchers recently launched eCampus Geriatrics. The educational website offers a range of tools and resources to help health-care professionals provide culturally-competent geriatric care. VJ Periyakoil, MD, director of palliative care education and training at Stanford, explains the driving factors in developing the website and instructional materials"

Too much light at night at night may lead to obesity, study finds

"Persistent exposure to light at night may lead to weight gain, even without changing physical activity or eating more food, according to new research in mice. Researchers found that mice exposed to a relatively dim light at night over eight weeks had a body mass gain that was about 50 percent more than other mice that lived in a standard light-dark cycle. 'Although there were no differences in activity levels or daily consumption of food, the mice that lived with light at night were getting fatter than the others,' said Laura Fonken, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in neuroscience at Ohio State University. The study appears this week in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences"

Monday, October 11, 2010

Noise from aircraft is bad for your health

Noise from aircraft is bad for your health"Living under a flight path with aeroplanes thundering over your head could put your heart at risk, according to a new study. Researchers found that dying from a heart attack was more common among people with increased exposure to aircraft noise. "The effect was especially evident for people who were exposed to really high levels of noise, and was dependent on how long those people had lived in the noisy place," researcher Matthias Egger of the University of Bern, said. This is not the first study to link the negative health effects, including cardiovascular risks, of living near flight paths. But this study could help determine whether the sound is really the main effect, or if it is something else tagging along with the noise, such as air pollution. "It's been a problem that when you look at road traffic noise there are both high levels of noise and high levels of air pollution," said Mr Egger. "By looking at airports we were in a position to disentangle these effects." Mr Egger and his colleagues identified 15,532 heart attack deaths among 4.6 million Swiss residents between late 2000 and the end of 2005 using detailed information from an ongoing mortality study called the Swiss National Cohort"

Baltimore hospital hit with 104 lawsuits alleging unessessary stenting (USA)

'The St. Joseph Medical Center (SJMC) in Baltimore has been slapped with 104 lawsuits, all which accuse Mark Midei, MD, former cardiologist at the facility, of committing medical negligence after it was found that he may have implanted hundreds of unnecessary stents in cardiac patients. Earlier this year, 585 patients received word from SJMC that their cardiac stent procedures may have been unwarranted and a 19-page lawsuit was filed in Baltimore by Murphy PA and the Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos, PC, against Midei. On Sept. 30, attorney Jay Miller and his firm Miller, Murtha & Psoras in Lutherville, Md., filed the suits against SJMC. “The lawsuits were filed because of St. Joseph’s absolute refusal to be fair to the very patients they sent letters to informing them that they had a stent placed that was not needed,” Miller said in a press statement" - TriMed Media Group

Abbott to stop marketing the obesity medicine sibutramine in Canada

"Abbott will voluntarily withdraw sibutramine from the Canadian market after discussion with Health Canada. Sibutramine is marketed by Abbott in Canada as Meridia

Tea, a heart protector: three cups a day can prevent cardiac problems, say experts

Tea, a heart protector: three cups a day can prevent cardiac problems, say experts"Evidence is growing that three to four cups of black tea each day is good not only for general health, but also for cardiovascular health. Drinking just three cups of tea a day can protect against heart attacks and strokes, claim researchers. A wide-ranging review of studies has concluded that regular consumption can reduce the risk of heart problems by 11 per cent. Experts say green tea and black tea - with or without milk - can be equally beneficial. The drink cuts the build-up of plaque in the arteries - a combination of dangerous fat and cholesterol. The review by researchers at the University of Western Australia says the benefits of tea are largely due to flavonoids, antioxidant ingredients that counteract cardiovascular disease. One cup provides 150-200mg of flavonoids. In terms of the delivery of antioxidants, two cups are equivalent to five portions of vegetables. The review, published in the journal Molecular Aspects of Medicine, also found the flavonoid content of regular tea is equal to that of green tea"

Fat deposits around the heart predict cardiac problems

After carrying out a new study on preventing major heart problems, cardiac imaging researchers at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute advise physicians to consider fatty deposits around the heart when evaluating patients' heart condition. Normally, measuring abdominal fat is enough to assess for heart problems but according to this new research, measuring fat around the heart is an even better predictor, and it can be done with a noninvasive CT scan. The article's first author and a leading authority on cardiac imaging is Daniel S. Berman, MD, chief of cardiac imaging at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and Cedars-Sinai's S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center. Under his direction, Cedars-Sinai finished the largest randomized trial of coronary artery calcium CT scanning, on 2,137 patients over the last four years. This technology is used to identify plaque deposits in heart arteries by identifying bits of calcium, that enter the plaque's composition. Also, a coronary artery CT scan can be used to assess fat around the heart and coronary arteries, and having these data gives a more precise evaluation of a patient's risk for major heart problems. This medical advice, appeared in an editorial published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Cardiovascular Imaging, and it was reinforced by another article in the journal, in which the scientists gave new evidence that related abdominal fat to instability of coronary arterial plaques

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hands-only CPR most effective resuscitation method, study says

CPR may be more effective when it does not include mouth-to-mouth breathing, new research suggests. People who collapse from cardiac arrest and receive chest compressions from bystanders are more likely to survive than those given the traditional mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, according to a study published Wednesday in the Journal of American Medical Association. The study is based on more than 4,000 adults who suffered cardiac arrest between 2005 and 2009. Nearly 700 of those patients received conventional CPR from a bystander, while 849 received chest-only compressions; the rest received no CPR. Patients who received hands-only CPR had a 13.3 percent rate of survival, compared to 7.8 percent for those who received mouth-to-mouth CPR. Those who did not get CPR had a 5.2 percent survival rate. "Anyone who can put one hand over the other, lock their elbows and push hard and fast can save a life," said lead author Bentley J. Bobrow, a medical director for the bureau of emergency medical services and trauma system at the Arizona Department of Health Services

People working in loud places might have triple the risk of a heart problem, study says

What's bad for your ears may also be bad for your heart. According to a new study, people who work in noisy places for at least a year and a half could have triple the risk of a serious heart problem compared to those who work in quiet environments, a new study says. Gan Wenqi of the University of British Columbia examined more than 6,000 people who were at least 20 years old and employed, in a U.S. health survey from 1999 to 2004. Most of the study participants working in loud workplaces were men aged 40 and were more likely to have other heart risk factors like having a higher than normal Body Mass Index and smoking. After statistically adjusting for those variables, Gan still found people working in loud places had a higher chance of heart disease. Participants were asked to rate how noisy their workplace was and how long they were exposed to it. A workplace was classified as noisy if people had to raise their voices to have a conversation. Gan found people who worked in loud environments for at least one year and a half years were two to three times more likely to have problems including a heart attack and severe chest pain. The study was paid for by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and others. It was published online Wednesday in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, a specialist journal of the BMJ.