Thursday, December 29, 2011

Viagra can be a wonder drug against heart failure: study

A new study has found that Viagra, the blue pill used to treat erectile dysfunction, can be a wonder drug against heart failure. The new discovery on Viagra's surprising "relaxing" effect might actually save lives, according to researchers from the Ruhr Universitat Bochum (RUB), Germany, and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesotain the myocardial cells to relax. Sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, was shown to benefit patients with diastolic heart failure. The study, published in the current issue of the journal Circulation, showed that sildenafil could enhance the elasticity of stiffened cardiac walls by activating an enzyme that causes the giant protein titin in the myocardial cells to relax.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Bypass surgeries performed in city hospital without cutting bone (India)

The conventional bypass surgery invariably involves cutting the breast bone to reach out to the clogged heart vessels. However, cardiac surgeons at Jehangir Hospital, Pune, India, adopted a minimally invasive approach and successfully performed a bypass on a 68-year-old diabetic patient by taking just an 8 cm cut on the side of his chest to fix four blockages in his heart. "The approach is called lateral thoracotomy wherein a small 7-8 cm cut is all that is needed to perform the surgery. There is absolutely no cutting of bone in this approach. Traditionally, this approach has been used to bypass only one blocked vessel, but now we are in a position to offer this for multiple blocks. Using this approach, we fixed four blockages in a 68-year-old diabetic patient without cutting any bone," said cardiac surgeon Chandrashekhar Kulkarni of the Jehangir Hospital. The surgery was done on December 7 at Jehangir Hospital and the patient was discharged on December 13

Saturday, December 17, 2011

CARG Newsletter - January 2012

The CARG Newsletter - January 2012 is now available online

Drug market for COPD will increase from $8.3 billion in 2010 to more than $13.4 billion in 2020

Decision Resources, a research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that, owing to an expanding aging population, increases in drug treatment and the uptake of premium priced combinations, the drug market for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) will increase from approximately $8.3 billion in 2010 to more than $13.4 billion in 2020 in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Japan. The Pharmacor advisory service entitled Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, forecasts that the COPD drug-treated population will expand from approximately 19 million patients in 2010 to nearly 25 million patients in 2020 in the world's major pharmaceutical markets. Uptake of novel long-acting beta2 agonist/long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LABA/LAMA) fixed-dose combinations, including Boehringer Ingelheim’s olodaterol/tiotropium, will also drive market growth, given that they will likely be more expensive than single-agent bronchodilators

Health care by TV and remote control (UK)

Health care by TV and remote control (UK)First thing in the morning, Terry Munro always puts the kettle on. "Then I take my blood sugar, take my blood pressure and my weight and in that time the kettle's boiled. "And I've got a record of it on my TV. It's marvellous, it really is." Terry, who is 67 years old and has diabetes, has been keeping tabs on his own health using nothing more than his television. The testing equipment uses Bluetooth so when Terry has taken his daily measurements they are automatically uploaded to the TV. A trained nurse can access and monitor the readings from a central location and make decisions about potential changes in treatments. "I like walking, but I used to go out and go hypo. Now I know I can't go out if my blood sugar is too low, so I am more aware now. "It's like having a doctor there all the time."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Patient and Family Resource Centre opens at Royal University Hospital, Saskatoon

The Patient and Family Resource Centre provides comfortable seating, five computer stations with internet access, a printer and, books and magazines. Patients and their families will also have easy access to information on local accommodations and amenities. "Such information can assist patients and family members who may be unfamiliar with regional or local services," says Keller. The Centre can connect patients and their families with library resources, patient education materials and additional resources within Saskatoon Health Region. "Clients can use the Centre as a starting point to access translation services, spiritual care, social work services, client representatives and other services," explains Keller. Funds for the Centre have been provided through donor support of the Royal University Hospital Foundation. "We are pleased to support such a valuable initiative for patients and their families," says RUHF Chair Bill Johnson. "It's our sincerest hope that patients and families find this centre to be a source of comfort and information." The Centre will be staffed by volunteers who will be able to assist patients and families in gathering information and establishing connections to existing Saskatoon Health Region resources

Cardiology wars: patients' wallets are casualties (USA)

In August, Karen Carmel of Reno was told she could no longer get an echocardiogram of her heart done at the Reno Heart Physicians' office because the practice had been bought by Renown Health five months before. She said she was directed to the Renown Institute for Heart and Cardiovascular Health, on Renown's main campus, to schedule the routine test. "Your doctor says go there, you go," Carmel said. Her heart skipped a beat when she heard the price. "At Renown, they told me the test is billed at about $3,300 because it is being done in a hospital instead of a doctor's office and my out-of-pocket cost (based on the lower amount her insurance deems an "acceptable" cost for the test) would be $432," Carmel said. "I told them I can't afford that right now. I'd have to wait." When she told her doctor she wasn't getting the test, he checked her insurance plan and told her she could go anywhere for the procedure. She started shopping. "I wound up at Northern Nevada Medical Center," Carmel said. "They billed my insurance $2,241, and my portion was $244. People need to know they can shop around. If I had no choice (of providers), I wouldn't have gotten the test I needed. I think a lot of people won't get the care they need because these things are so expensive in a hospital." Previously, patients' out-of-pocket costs for the same type of echocardiogram were about $70 to $140, according to local patients' bills from 2009 and 2010. Depending on insurance plans, some patients' bills have gone from the hundreds of dollars to more than a thousand - RGJ

Canadian mining magnate gives $17-million for heart research

The head of global mining company Barrick Gold has donated $17.2-million to boost cardiac research in Toronto. Peter Munk said the gift was aimed at helping Canada attract and retain top medical professionals who often leave for higher-paying positions in the United States and Europe. The money will support four new centers for heart research and five chairs at Toronto General Hospital's Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. The new facilities will be devoted to the study of cardiac-valve disease, multinational clinical trials, personalized molecular medicine, and aortic diseases. Mr. Munk and his wife, Melanie, launched the cardiac center with a $5.7-million gift in 1997 and contributed $33.5-million five years ago for new diagnostic equipment

Cholesterol-lowering medication accelerates depletion of plaque in arteries

In a new study, NYU Langone Medical Center researchers have discovered how cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins promote the breakdown of plaque in the arteries. The study was published online by the journal PLoS One on December 6, 2011. The findings support a large clinical study that recently showed patients taking high-doses of the cholesterol-lowering medications not only reduced their cholesterol levels but also reduced the amount of plaque in their arteries. However, until now researchers did not fully understand how statins could reduce atherosclerosis, the accumulation of fat and cholesterol that hardens into plaque in arteries, a major cause of mortality in Western countries. High blood cholesterol is a major culprit in atherosclerosis. As a result of narrowing arteries, blood clots can form or plaque can break off causing blockages in vessels. This can lead to a potentially fatal heart attack or stroke. "Our new research shows statins actually promote the regression of atherosclerosis by altering the expression of a specific cell surface receptor within plaque cells," said co-author of the study, Edward Fisher, MD, PhD, Leon H. Charney Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and director of the Marc and Ruti Bell Vascular Biology Program at NYU Langone Medical Center. "This molecular phenomenon helps dissolve plaque by expelling coronary artery disease-causing cells from the plaque lining the arteries."

New scanning strategy could help develop heart disease treatments (Scotland)

New scanning strategy could help develop heart disease treatments (Scotland)Patients with life-threatening heart valve disease could be helped with alternative scanning techniques that provide greater insight into the condition. Researchers from the University of Edinburgh used an imaging technique that could help predict which patients will need open heart surgery to replace their heart valves, and improve treatments to prevent the disease. The narrowing and hardening of the heart's aortic valve – a common condition known as aortic stenosis – affects 1 in 20 people over 65 in the UK and is on the increase due to an ageing population. The study, funded by the British Heart Foundation, trialled the use of positron emission tomography scans among patients with the condition. The scans give a much clearer insight into the process that causes aortic stenosis than ultrasound scans, which are currently used for diagnosis. They involve using tracer chemicals, which highlight molecular changes within the body

Newly discovered heart stem cells make muscle and bone

Researchers have identified a new and relatively abundant pool of stem cells in the heart. The findings in the December issue of Cell Stem Cell, a Cell Press publication, show that these heart cells have the capacity for long-term expansion and can form a variety of cell types, including muscle, bone, neural and heart cells. The researchers say the discovery may lay a foundation for much needed regenerative therapies aimed to enhance tissue repair in the heart. The damaged heart often doesn't repair itself well because of the incredibly hostile environment and wide-scale loss of cells, including stem cells, after a heart attack. "In the end, we want to know how to preserve the stem cells that are there and to circumvent their loss," says Richard Harvey of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Australia

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Saskatoon Community Clinic awarded grant through Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative

Saskatoon Community Clinic awarded grant through Aboriginal Diabetes InitiativeThe Saskatoon Community Clinic is excited to announce that we have been awarded a grant from Health Canada through the Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative to develop and deliver enhanced health promotion programming and diabetes prevention activities for First Nations and Inuit living in Saskatoon. The grant, which comes from the Urban First Nations, Inuit and Metis Diabetes Prevention stream of the Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative is for $ 200,000 over two years. The new funding will allow us to continue working proactively on programming in this area with other partners in the Saskatoon Health region including the Saskatoon Health Region, CHEP Good Food Inc., Central Urban Metis Federation Inc. and the Saskatoon Indian and Metis Friendship Centre. Close to half of First Nations people in Saskatoon over the age of 60 have diabetes and the incidence of diabetes in the Aboriginal population is 1.6 to 2.6 times higher than the general population

Saturday, December 10, 2011

New technology revolutionizes the way cardiac devices are adjusted remotely (USA)

New technology revolutionizes the way cardiac devices are adjusted remotely (USA)Boca Raton Regional Hospital is the site for the development and study of a new software system that can revolutionize the way physicians communicate and reprogram cardiac devices remotely. The technology and study was conceived and developed by E. Martin Kloosterman, MD, Director of the Electrophysiology Laboratory and Chief of the Cardiology Department at Boca Raton Regional Hospital and the study abstract was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology. Dr. Kloosterman presented the study at the Venice 2011 Arrhythmias international workshop to over 1,700 physicians in Italy on October 9, 2011. "This new development provides clinicians the ability to manage cardiac devices, such as pacemakers and defibrillators, remotely in real-time. The model, which was tested in the Hospital’s emergency and operating rooms, allows the specialized physicians to have direct access to the information in the patient’s device for adjustment and reprograming in a moment's notice no matter where they are and at any given time," said Dr. Kloosterman

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

North American first at the Montreal Heart Institute: a patient treated with a disappearing heart device (Canada)

North American first at the Montreal Heart Institute: a patient treated with a disappearing heart device (Canada)The interventional cardiology team at the Montreal Heart Institute used the world's first drug eluting bioresorbable vascular scaffold to successfully treat a woman suffering from coronary artery disease. This landmark procedure was performed by Dr. Jean-François Tanguay, interventional cardiologist and coordinator of the Coronary Unit, as part of the ABSORB EXTEND clinical trial. This successful intervention was a first in North America. The device is made of polylactide, a proven biocompatible material that is commonly used in medical implants such as dissolvable sutures. ABSORB has CE Mark and is authorized for sale in Europe. It is under clinical investigation around the world with more than 500 patients treated with the device

Improved technology may obviate need for drug when assessing patients for a coronary stent

A new method for measuring narrowing in the arteries of the heart may allow patients to be assessed for a stent without having to take a drug with unpleasant side effects. In England, it is estimated that one in seven men and one in 12 women over the age of 65 experience chest pain called angina caused by narrowing of the arteries in the heart. Around 60,000 such patients a year are fitted with a coronary stent – a wire mesh tube that acts as a scaffold to keep open arteries that risk becoming blocked, leading to a heart attack. However, stents sometimes lead to problems later on as they can promote the growth of scar tissue, leading to re-narrowing of the artery. It is therefore important to determine when a stent is needed and when it might not be worth the risk. The most accurate method currently used to measure narrowing in arteries requires the patient to take a drug such as adenosine that dilates the blood vessels. Now, a refined, investigational drug-free technique may be just as reliable, according to the results of a feasibility study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology

Scientists demonstrate benefits of cardiac pacemaker transplants from deceased owners

Scientists demonstrate benefits of cardiac pacemaker transplants from deceased ownersA team of researchers from the U.S. and India reviewed the reuse of pacemakers that were donated to poor people in Mumbai when the original owners in the U.S. passed away. The FDA does not permit reuse of implantable devices, but India has no such qualms. The study involved 53 patients and two years following implantation, the devices continued working as intended without any significant complications nor did any infections occur due to the transplant. Of four patients who were previously employed, all were able to return to their manual jobs. Twenty-seven women said their symptoms had improved enough so they could resume household chores - medGadget

Marathon training 'may pose a heart risk'

Marathon training 'may pose a heart risk'Doing extreme endurance exercise, like training for a marathon, can damage the heart, research reveals. MRI scans on 40 athletes training for challenging sporting events like triathlons or alpine cycle races showed most had stretched heart muscles. Although many went on to make a complete recovery after a week, five showed more permanent injuries. The researchers told the European Heart Journal how these changes might cause heart problems like arrhythmia. They stress that their findings should not be taken to mean that endurance exercise is unhealthy. In most athletes, a combination of sensible training and adequate recovery should cause an improvement in heart muscle function, they say

Friday, December 2, 2011

Low "good" cholesterol doesn't cause heart attacks

Despite plenty of evidence that people with low levels of "good" cholesterol are more prone to heart attacks, a large new study suggests that the lacking lipid is not to blame. The analysis of data on nearly 70,000 people in Denmark affirmed the link between low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the so-called "good" cholesterol, and raised heart attack risk in the general population. But in people with a gene mutation that lowers HDL, heart attack risk was not found to be higher at all. "Association itself doesn't mean causality," said lead author Dr. Ruth Frikke-Schmidt, a consultant in the Department of Clinical Biochemistry at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen. The results, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, indicate that just having low HDL is not what raises the likelihood of a heart attack

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Clogged arteries pose different dangers for men, women (USA)

Not all clogged arteries are created equal, with women and men facing different heart risks even when they have the same amount of coronary plaque, a new study suggests. Analyzing the results of coronary CT angiographies - non-invasive tests that look for coronary artery blockages - in 480 patients with acute chest pain, scientists from the Medical University of South Carolina found that the risk of major cardiac events was significantly higher in women when they had a large amount of plaque buildup and extensive hardening of the arteries. On the other hand, men faced greater risks of heart attack or coronary bypass surgery when their arteries contained "non-calcified plaque," fatty deposits that accumulate deep in artery walls. While the study didn't specifically quantify the risks of each scenario for men and women, it may be valuable to physicians ordering tests for heart patients in distress, said study author Dr. John Nance Jr., a radiology resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Scan can spot 'curable cause of high blood pressure'

Scan can spot 'curable cause of high blood pressure'Doctors say they have found a medical test that can diagnose the most common curable cause of high blood pressure. Conn's syndrome - a disease of the adrenal glands that sit above the kidneys - is thought to be the cause behind one in 20 cases of hypertension. But until now it has been difficult to detect, requiring a complex series of tests on blood taken from a vein supplying the adrenal gland. Experts at the University of Cambridge say a simple scan can spot the problem. The hi-tech PET-CT scan looks for small growths in the adrenal glands that are about the size of a five pence piece, the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism reports. These benign growths or tumours - called adenomas - pump out too much of a hormone called aldosterone, which in turn raises blood pressure - BBC

Sunday, November 20, 2011

CARG Newsletter - December 2011

The CARG Newsletter - December 2011 is now available online

Norwegian research center promotes the TrekDesk Treadmill Desk as a way to workout at work

Norwegian research center promotes the TrekDesk Treadmill Desk as a way to workout at workTrekDesk Treadmill Desks have been generating interest, sales and discussions around the world regarding the health risks created by sedentary office environments. Recently TrekDesk was promoted as a novel way to workout at work by the Cardiac Exercise Research Group (CERG) at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). CERG promoted the use of the TrekDesk Treadmill Desk to employers, appealing to their focus on return on investment. "Integrating exercise into the workplace could save money by reducing sick leave and improving morale." They went on to focus on the primary interest of the Center: "Exercise is a wonderful means of improving cardiac health, and with ischemic heart disease reaching epidemic levels, preventative measures are ever-important."

Hockey player in cardiac arrest revived with AED (Canada)

Hockey player in cardiac arrest revived with AED (Canada)Ottawa paramedics are crediting a defibrillator for helping revive a hockey player who collapsed November 19 from cardiac arrest. They said the 41-year-old was playing at the Minto Arena in southeast Ottawa when he collapsed around 11:00 a.m. Bystanders, including an off-duty paramedic, started CPR immediately and shocked him three times with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to help him regain consciousness. Paramedics said the man was conscious and talking to them when they handed him over to hospital staff. Paramedics said they'd like to acknowledge the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario for providing this particular AED, one of more than 600 in Ottawa that paramedics oversee. They said the "chain of survival", which includes early CPR, early defibrillation and early notification of paramedics, drastically improves survival rates in people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest

Friday, November 18, 2011

Canadian Diabetes Association announces Elsevier as new publisher of Canadian Journal of Diabetes

The Canadian Diabetes Association is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement with Elsevier to publish the Canadian Journal of Diabetes beginning in January 2012. CJD is Canada's only diabetes-oriented, peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal for diabetes healthcare professionals and scientists. It promotes the sharing and enhancement of knowledge to advance the prevention, cure and management of diabetes and related diseases. The journal publishes original research articles and expert reviews, ranging from basic sciences to clinical applications, education, public and population health, and health policy

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pill may boost HDL 'good' cholesterol

Pill may boost HDL 'good' cholesterolOnce again, an experimental pill that boosts levels of HDL "good" cholesterol has shown promising results in a mid-stage study. In a three-month study of nearly 400 people, the drug evacetrapib raised HDL and lowered LDL, the so-called "bad cholesterol" - both when given alone and with standard cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. Importantly, evacetrapib did not routinely increase blood pressure or produce any of the other toxic effects that halted development of its predecessor, torcetrapib. The big question, however, is whether raising levels of good cholesterol will prevent heart attacks, strokes, and deaths, says Robert Harrington, MD, of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. He was not involved with the study, but has consulted for the maker of another HDL-boosting drug

Heart&Stroke My Healthy Community Grants (Canada)

Heart&Stroke My Healthy Community Grants (Canada)We know that Saskatchewan is a place where real, substantive change happens at the grassroots. The kind of change that makes a real difference in people's lives. That's why we are introducing Heart&Stroke My Healthy Community Grants. The goal is to help you make healthy change possible in your community... to help you build a healthier future for all. We invite you to apply for a Heart&Stroke My Healthy Community Grant, which is available to help groups and organizations develop and deliver projects that will make a healthy difference, with a particular focus on children, youth and families. Application deadline is December 20, 2011. Contact Heart and Stroke Foundation, 279 - 3 Ave N., Saskatoon, SK S7K 2H8 - (306) 244-2124 - for details

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Survey on Living with Chronic Diseases in Canada

Data from the 2011 Survey on Living with Chronic Diseases in Canada are now available. The objective of the survey (sponsored by the Public Health Agency of Canada) was to assess the impact of diabetes and respiratory conditions (asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) on quality of life and to provide more information on how Canadians manage their chronic condition. Data were collected in the fall of 2010 and the spring of 2011. Approximately 6,500 individuals in the 10 provinces were interviewed. For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Statistics Canada's National Contact Centre (613-951-8116; toll-free 1-800-263-1136;, Communications Division

Mayo Clinic study confirms smoke-free workplaces reduce heart attacks

Mayo Clinic researchers have amassed additional evidence that secondhand smoke kills and smoke-free workplace laws save lives. Their research shows that the incidence of heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths was cut in half among Olmsted County, Minn., residents after a smoke-free ordinance took effect. Adult smoking dropped 23 percent during the same time frame, as the rates of other risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity remained stable or increased.

Cardiac cells 'heal heart damage' (UK)

Stem cells taken from a patient's own heart have, for the first time, been used to repair damaged heart tissue, researchers claim. The study, published in the Lancet, was designed to test the procedure's safety, but also reported improvements in the heart's ability to pump blood. The authors said the findings were "very encouraging". Other experts said techniques with bone marrow stem cells were more advanced and that bigger trials were needed. The scientists say this is the first reported case of cardiac stem cells being used as a treatment in people after earlier studies had shown benefits in animals

New blood thinner helps heart attack survivors avoid a repeat, cuts risk of death, study finds

People recovering from a heart attack or severe chest pain are much less likely to suffer another heart-related problem or to die from one if they take a new blood-thinning drug along with standard anti-clotting medicines, a large study finds. But this benefit had a cost: a greater risk of serious bleeding, usually in the digestive tract. Still, some doctors said the drug, Xarelto, could become a new standard of care for up to a million Americans hospitalized each year for these conditions. A low dose of the drug substantially cut the risk of dying of any cause during the study. "Mortality trumps everything," so a drug that improves survival is a win, said Dr. Paul Armstrong of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He had no role in the study, discussed at an American Heart Association conference in Florida and published online by the New England Journal of Medicine. The study was sponsored by the drug's makers - Johnson & Johnson and Bayer Healthcare - and some researchers work or consult for the companies. Xarelto is approved now at higher doses for preventing strokes in people with a common heart rhythm problem and for preventing blood clots after joint surgeries. It works in a different way than aspirin and older blood thinners do

1 adult in 10 could have diabetes by 2030, experts say

World Diabetes Day 2011 marked the release of the International Diabetes Federation's 5th edition of the Diabetes Atlas. New figures indicate that the number of people living with diabetes is expected to rise from 366 million in 2011 to 552 million by 2030, if no urgent action is taken. This equates to approximately three new cases every ten seconds or almost ten million per year. IDF also estimates that as many as 183 million people are unaware that they have diabetes. In some of the poorest regions in the world such as Africa, where infectious diseases have traditionally been the focus of health care systems, diabetes cases are expected to increase by 90% by 2030. At least 78% of people in Africa are undiagnosed and do not know they are living with diabetes

American Heart Association and Wiley-Blackwell launch open access journal for heart disease and stroke

The American Heart Association and Wiley-Blackwell have announced an innovative venture to publish a new open access journal, Journal of the American Heart Association: Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Disease, which will launch this fall. Journal of the American Heart Association will serve as the first online-only open access journal for the AHA, and joins the AHA's prestigious portfolio of 11 peer-reviewed print and online subscription-based scientific journals, including Circulation; Stroke; Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology; Circulation Research; and Hypertension

Sunday, November 13, 2011

CARG Christmas Parties 2011

The CARG Christmas Party in the Field House is scheduled for December 9, 2011

The CARG Christmas Party at the Shaw Centre is scheduled for December 14, 2011. The party will start at 11:00 AM and will last for about two hours

Beijing residents suffer from diabetes

Beijing's Health Bureau says 8.6 percent of the city's permanent residents between the ages of 18 and 79 suffer from diabetes. Diabetes has become one of the most serious health threats in Beijing, Xinhua, China's state-run news agency, reported. Along with confirmed patients, the bureau said 5.1 percents of Beijing residents in the same age group are potential diabetes patients

Cardiac scare woman is one of the youngest Scots to receive transplant

Cardiac scare woman is one of the youngest Scots to receive transplantSamantha Bell only realised how rare her condition was when she walked into a cardiac rehab class and everyone else was 50 years older than her. And when they found out this glamorous young woman in her 20s had just become one of Scotland's youngest adult transplant patients, they were as shocked as she was. Six years ago, aged just 22, Samantha was diagnosed with the often fatal condition cardiomyopathy. By this summer, her situation had become so severe that she was kept alive by a machine doing the work of her heart. The organ could no longer function on its own and once failed completely, leaving her unconscious in a restaurant until the defibrillator device inside her fired up and jolted her back to life. But after five months on the critical transplant list, Samantha, now 28, received her incredible gift of life in July when a suitable match became available and the vital transplant op could go ahead

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Angina treatment 'increases heart attack severity'

Dosing up heart disease patients with nitroglycerin, routinely used to widen blood vessels, could end up damaging the organ, according to American scientists. The Stanford University team found that rats dosed with it for 16 hours sustained twice the muscle damage when they had heart attacks, compared to those spared nitroglycerin. Nitroglycerin is often used to help treat angina, while it is also used immediately after a heart attack. Daria Mochly-Rosen, a professor of translational medicine, said they carried out the study because they were concerned that nitroglycerin use in angina patients could be increasing the severity of heart attacks. The team has found that giving an enzyme killed by nitroglycerin at the same time protected rats' hearts from the harmful side-effect. The study is published in the journal Science Translational Medicine

Cardiac rehab tops secondary prevent guidelines

Participation in a comprehensive outpatient cardiac rehabilitation program is strongly recommended in updated American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guidelines for secondary prevention in patients with atherosclerotic vascular disease.
Patients who have an acute coronary syndrome or who have just undergone CABG or percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) should be referred to a cardiac rehab program no later than the first follow-up office visit, according to a Class I recommendation from a writing group chaired by Sidney Smith Jr., MD, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
All eligible outpatients with an acute coronary syndrome, a history of CABG or PCI, chronic angina, peripheral artery disease, or a combination of those factors within the past year should be referred for a comprehensive outpatient cardiovascular rehab program, although low-risk patients can use a home-based program, the guidance stated.
In addition, the authors included a Class IIa recommendation stating that an exercise-based outpatient cardiac rehab program can be safe and beneficial for stable patients with a history of heart failure.
The guidelines, which update a previous document published in 2006 and cover a wide range of preventive therapies, were published online in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology

Thursday, November 3, 2011

FDA approves first artificial aortic heart valve placed without open-heart surgery (USA)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first artificial heart valve that can replace an aortic heart valve damaged by senile aortic valve stenosis without open-heart surgery. Senile aortic valve stenosis is a progressive, age-related disease caused by calcium deposits on the aortic valve that cause the valve to narrow. As the heart works harder to pump enough blood through the smaller valve opening, the heart eventually weakens, which can lead to problems such as fainting, chest pain, heart failure, irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias), or cardiac arrest

English-style diet 'could save 4,000' in rest of UK

Eating like the English could save 4,000 lives a year in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, a study claims. People in England eat more fruit and vegetables and less salt and fat, reducing heart disease and some cancers, say Oxford University experts. A tax on fatty and salty foods and subsidies on fruit and vegetables could help close the diet divide, they add. The British Heart Foundation says the study shows inequalities in the nations that must be addressed by authorities. Death rates for heart disease and cancer are higher in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland than in England, according to official figures. Diet is known to be an important factor. Last year researchers estimated that more than 30,000 lives a year would be saved if everyone in the UK followed dietary guidelines on fat, salt, fibre, and fruit and vegetables. Now, the same experts - from the Department of Public Health at the University of Oxford - have turned their attention to differences within the UK - BBC

Sunday, October 30, 2011

New therapy shows promise for treating cardiovascular disease

A new therapy being studied in non-human primates by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and colleagues is demonstrating promise as a potential tool for combating cardiovascular disease by increasing good cholesterol and lowering triglycerides in the blood. Supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the preclinical findings appear in a recent issue of the journal Nature. "The study was conducted because there is a very strong inverse correlation between the amount of HDL (good cholesterol) and heart disease," said co-principal investigator Ryan Temel, Ph.D., an assistant professor of pathology and lipid sciences at Wake Forest Baptist. "The higher your level of HDL, the lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Currently, however, there are few therapies that significantly raise HDL."

Heart surgeons-in-training benefit from hands-on homework (Canada)

Residents in cardiac surgery who receive extra training on a take-home simulator do a better job once they get into the operating room, Dr. Buu-Khanh Lam today told the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2011, co-hosted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society. Dr. Lam and a multidisciplinary surgical team developed a kit – containing sutures, forceps, and miniature tubing – that can be taken home by trainees to practice a highly technical operation called microvascular anastomosis. The procedure, which involves joining two arteries together, is the "bread and butter" of coronary artery bypass surgery and is performed hundreds of thousands of times a year in North America, says Dr. Lam, director of surgical undergraduate education at the University of Ottawa and director of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Valve Clinic

Monday, October 24, 2011

Heart and Stroke Foundation appoints Bobbe Wood as President (Canada)

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Bobbe Wood as President. Ms. Wood is responsible for the oversight of the Foundation’s mission to eliminate heart disease and stroke in Canada through its leading edge cardiovascular research, and the advancement of health promotion, education, and advocacy initiatives. From September 2010 to June 2011, Ms. Wood served as CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, leading the federation through an historic transition to a unified national organization

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ethylene Eichorn's retirement tea - October 11, 2001

A retirement tea was held for Ethylene Eichorn, pictured far left with Leslie Worth of the Saskatoon Health Region, on October 11, 2001.

Ethylene writes:

Dear CARG Members:

I want to thank you for letting me assign visitors for the hospital visitations. I have enjoyed doing it and it was hard for me to give it up, but it is always good to have younger ones have a chance to do this also.

In the years I have spent doing this, I have never met any visitor who complained about going to the hospital & visiting heart patients. In fact they wanted to do more than twice a month. The heart visitors are a group of devoted, caring people and I think they deserve a lot of praise for the many people they have talked to and given them a hope for the future.

Also, our Cardiac Nurses have been a great help to me. They are the ones who have classes to answer all the questions you have about living as a heart patient and caring for a heart patient. Having a husband who had 3 heart attacks, it sure helped me.

Again I thank you.

God Bless You All

Ethylene Eichorn


If you couldn't make it to the tea, here's what you missed:

Hospital Visitation Program at Royal University Hospital (Saskatoon)

Ruth Redden (Volunteer Visitor Program Co-ordinator) writes: Many CARG members have participated in the Hospital Visitation Program at RUH. This program began in 1986 and has been very effective in assisting patients as they adapt to a new lifestyle after experiencing a "heart event". It is also an opportunity to talk with patients and family members about the cardiac education and exercise programs.

A journal article from the Archives of Internal Medicine,(Effect of Cardiac Rehabilitation Referral Strategies on Utilization Rates, Arch Intern Med/Vol 171 (no 3), Feb. 14, 2011), looked at ways to increase cardiac rehab participation. Along with other points, they identified the benefits of visitation at the bedside and the positive effects of peers.

We know that people, after a heart event, benefit from attendance at a Cardiac Rehab Program. We also know it is best if people hear about programs from many sources. A person who has experienced a heart event and who has embraced our rehab program, is an important connection.

Our program is always interested in recruiting new volunteers to participate in the hospital visitation program currently operating at RUH.

What is involved in becoming a Hospital Volunteer Visitor?
* Interview with Ruth or one of the nurses
* Complete application form for RUH Volunteer Services
* Interview with Volunteer Services, police check and attend hospital orientation
* Buddy with an experienced volunteer and visit on the ward together

If you are interested in this area of volunteer work, please contact:
Ruth Redden (Volunteer Visitor Program Co-ordinator) at 652-6990


Ethylene Eichorn has been the program co-ordinator for the Hospital Cardiac Rehabilitation Program since 1994.
She has efficiently co-ordinated the volunteer visitation schedules and has gone above and beyond what was required to ensure this program was successful.
Ethyelene retired from this role in August of 2011 but continues to volunteer her time at RUH.
A Special THANK YOU for a job well done.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fife cardiac patients in good heart! (Scotland)

Fife cardiac patients in good heart! (Scotland)Cardiac patients in Fife have attended an activity day at Lochore Meadows. Some 50 people who have suffered a cardiac incident turned out to take part in a range of activities including archery, kayaking, cycling, walking and kata-kanuing - paddling in canoes designed for teams. The event was organised to celebrate 11 years of community-based Fife Cardiac Rehabilitation Services - delivered by Fife Sports and Leisure Trust in partnership with NHS Fife. The annual get-together celebrates the achievement and progress of people who attend cardiac rehabilitation classes in leisure centres across the Kingdom. The service, which has been delivered by the trust since 2000, provides long-term maintenance involving gym or circuit classes led by qualified British Association of Cardiac Rehabilitation instructors. Around 12,000 people every year have taken part in Fife Sports and Leisure Trust's cardiac rehab classes held in 11 of its centres across Fife. Patients are referred to the service following a cardiac incident and progress through three phases of rehabilitation before joining phase four - the community-based service offered by the trust

Friday, October 14, 2011

Gut bacteria may affect whether a statin drug lowers cholesterol

Statins can be effective at lowering cholesterol, but they have a perplexing tendency to work for some people and not others. Gut bacteria may be the reason. A research team led by a Duke University scientist has identified three bile acids produced by gut bacteria that were evident in people who responded well to a common cholesterol-lowering drug called simvastatin. The finding, published Oct. 13, 2011, in PLoS One, demonstrates how gut bacteria can cause inherent differences in the way people digest, metabolize and benefit from substances such as drugs. The study represents the intersection of two emerging research interests: An analysis of the intestinal microflora, plus the use of a science called metabolomics, which examines the thousands of biochemical components involved in cellular metabolism and how they affect health

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Citalopram: Health Canada reviewing dose-related heart risk

Health Canada is reviewing the heart-related safety of the prescription antidepressant citalopram. The review is in light of new study data suggesting that high doses (60 mg/day) can affect the electrical activity of the heart. The changes in electrical activity could potentially lead to serious, possibly fatal abnormal heart rhythms.

Health Canada is currently reviewing the available data and assessing the need for revised dosing recommendations and will take appropriate action based on the outcome of our review, including working with the companies to update the prescribing information. New safety information will be communicated to healthcare professionals and the public as soon as possible, once the review is complete.

Citalopram is used to treat depression and belongs to a family of drugs known as SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). The current Canadian prescribing information recommends 20 mg/day of citalopram in adults. Some people who have not responded to this dose are prescribed 40 or even 60 mg/day.

In Canada, citalopram is available in 10, 20, 30, and 40 mg tablets. It is sold under the brand name Celexa and under several generic names (all of which contain "citalopram" in the name, except the generic products "ran-citalo" and "CTP 30")

Royal University Hospital Every Heart Matters Campaign (Saskatoon)

Royal University Hospital Every Heart Matters Campaign (Saskatoon)John Cross, Volunteer Chair Every Heart Matters Campaign writes "Chances are, you know someone with a heart rhythm disorder. It might be your grandmother or your grandson. A young athlete or a busy mom. A neighbour or a trusted friend. In fact, one in four of us will experience an abnormal heartbeat at some point in our lives. For many, an irregular heartbeat can diminish enjoyment of life. For others, it will prove fatal. In the 1950s, when Royal University Hospital opened its doors, Dr. Louis Horlick and, a few years later, his colleague Dr. José Lopez, were champions of modern, holistic cardiac care. Today, they continue that vision by joining the Royal University Hospital Foundation as Honorary Co-Chairs of the Every Heart Matters Campaign. Our goal is to advance the excellent cardiac care program at Royal University Hospital by raising $5.5 million for a laboratory and program dedicated to the treatment, research and education of heart rhythm disorders. This advanced sub-specialty is called Cardiac Electrophysiology or EP. As you will read on the following pages, a comprehensive cardiac care program - with the addition of the EP Laboratory - will make a vital difference to our patients, their families and their medical team at RUH. But we need your help. Please join me by supporting the Every Heart Matters Campaign"

FDA OKays combo pill for diabetes, cholesterol

The FDA has approved a fixed-dose combination tablet that combines the diabetes drug sitagliptin with simvastatin, under the brand name Juvisync. It's the first product with drugs for diabetes and high cholesterol in a single pill, the agency noted. Sitagliptin is a DPP-4 inhibitor sold as Januvia, first approved in 2006 as an adjunct to diet and exercise. Simvastatin (Zocor) is one of the most popular statin drugs for reducing total and LDL cholesterol. In the short term, the combination product will come in three strengths, all with 100 mg of sitagliptin and 10, 20, or 40 mg of simvstatin. The FDA advised physicians to consider other drugs that patients may be taking when deciding which strength to prescribe. The product's manufacturer, the Merck subsidiary MSD International GmbH Clonmel, of Tipperary, Ireland, has committed to develop additional strengths with 50 mg of sitagliptin and 10, 20, and 40 mg of simvastatin, according to the agency. "Pending availability of the fixed-dose combination tablets containing 50 mg of sitagliptin, patients who require this dose should continue to use the single ingredient sitagliptin tablet," the FDA said. Sitagliptin is also sold in a 25-mg dose, but it is seldom prescribed and there are no plans to develop Juvisync tablets with that dose, the agency added. The FDA noted that statins can exacerbate hyperglycemia in patients with type 2 diabetes. "This risk appears very small and is outweighed by the benefits of statins for reducing heart disease in diabetes," the agency said. "However, the prescribing information for Juvisync will inform doctors of this possible side effect. The company will also be required to conduct a post-marketing clinical trial comparing the glucose-lowering ability of sitagliptin alone compared to sitagliptin given with simvastatin." Common side effects associated with the combination include upper respiratory infections, rhinitis, sore throat, headache, muscle and stomach pain, constipation, and nausea. (You may wish to consult your own medical expert about this)

Canada's emergency doctors push to improve rate of "bystander" CPR assistance

Canadians who suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital are three to four times more likely to survive if they receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). According to the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, such assistance is provided in only about one-quarter of cases. In a position statement on "bystander" CPR to be published in the Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine, CAEP says it is not acceptable that vast numbers of witnessed cardiac arrest victims do not receive bystander CPR. More than 20,000 people suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in Canada each year, with 85 per cent of cases occurring in residential dwellings. Currently, less than 10 per cent of these people survive. Every Canadian should be trained in CPR and all Canadians should respond and provide chest compressions, with or without mouth-to-mouth ventilation, whether they are trained or not, CAEP says

EP lab to eliminate need for out-of-province travel (Saskatoon)

EP lab to eliminate need for out-of-province travel (Saskatoon)After several years of relative good health, Terry York (CARG member) was told last summer that he needed a second implantable cardioverter-defibrillator implanted in his heart to help it pump. He had already traveled to Calgary for an ICD several years ago, however, it wasn't doing the full job York needed. Prior to April 21, the procedure couldn't be completed in Saskatoon, so he was put on a list for Calgary. He almost didn't make it. While golfing one day, he realized he was in trouble.

"My breath was so short, I lost control of my breathing. I was admitted to RUH, put on oxygen and an aortic heart pump," he says. "I survived, but was in the hospital for a week and a half before taking the air ambulance to Calgary for the other implant."

Heart health is important to everyone, however to those with heart conditions like York, it's the difference between life and death. For that reason, Royal University Hospital, already a leader in cardiac care, is moving forward with construction on its much anticipated cardiac electrophysiology (EP) lab. The lab will allow patients in Saskatchewan to receive procedures here instead of leaving the province.

Two EP cardiologists, Dr. Carlo Stuglin and Dr. Kelly Coverett, currently conduct EP procedures out of the cardiac catheterization lab at RUH one day a week. That's possible through equipment purchased in 2009 by the Royal University Hospital Foundation and Saskatoon Health Region. As of April 21 they began implanting ICDs in the operating room. "I can't tell you how grateful I am for the program Dr. Coverett has developed," said York at the RUH Foundation Donor Grand Rounds on May 17, 2011. "My son and his wife are both med-school grads and they both said that if I hadn't been at RUH and had access to the kind of care they provide, I would have died. No question."

The two-phase construction of the EP lab begins this month (June 2011). The full lab is expected to be operational in spring 2012. The EP lab will share the same space at RUH as the cardiac catheterization lab. With support from the RUH Foundation, it is expected that the new EP lab will be as good as or better than any other lab in North America. With a dedicated lab, a wait list of 18 months will be shortened and patients can have these surgeries in Saskatoon.

"Our campaign for 2011-2012 will focus on raising $5.5 million to build a dedicated EP lab," says Arla Gustafson, CEO of the RUH Foundation. "Patients like Terry and their families will be able to stay in province for surgery and procedures, which is always a better option for them and their families." The Kinsmen Telemiracle Foundation has already donated $1.5 million for the equipment that will be installed in the EP lab. (Reprinted from SHR, Region Reporter)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mayo Clinic finds estrogen may prevent younger menopausal women from strokes

Estrogen may prevent strokes in premature or early menopausal women, Mayo Clinic researchers say. Their findings challenge the conventional wisdom that estrogen is a risk factor for stroke at all ages. The study was published in the journal Menopause. Researchers combined the results from a recent Mayo Clinic study with six other studies from across the world and found that estrogen is protective for stroke before age 50. That is roughly the average age when women go through menopause. "We were very surprised because these results were unexpected," says study author Walter Rocca, M.D., an epidemiologist and neurologist at Mayo Clinic. "The old idea that estrogen is always a problem in the brain has to be corrected." Estrogen can be a problem in older women, he explains, but in younger women, estrogen may be important to protect the brain from strokes. The study has implications for women who experience premature (before age 40) or early menopause (before age 45) from natural causes or from ovary removal. Women in these groups should consider taking estrogen up to approximately age 50 to prevent stroke, Dr. Rocca says. Ischemic stroke occurs as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain. According to the American Stroke Association, these types of strokes account for 87 percent of all stroke cases

Einstein College of Medicine given $6.7 million to study congenital heart defect genetics

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and collaborators at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia a five-year, $6.7 million grant to study the genetics of both rare and common congenital heart abnormalities known as conotruncal defects. CTDs account for more than one-third of all heart defects. They can involve a faulty connection between the heart's chambers or an abnormality affecting a major blood vessel leaving the heart. Some of the more common CTDs include ventricular septal defects and tetralogy of Fallot

Increasing cardiovascular disease in China: urgent need for prevention

At over 40%, the mortality rate due to cardiovascular disease in China is amongst the highest in the world and has been rightly described as an epidemic. Its population faces a catalogue of CVD risk factor statistics that expose high levels of obesity, diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure, and a smoking habit within males that is proving stubborn to address. To support efforts to implement a series of treatment and prevention strategies that can help reverse these worrying trends, the European Society of Cardiology announces that it will deliver an educational programme at the 22nd Great Wall International Congress of Cardiology. The ESC has been invited for the second time by its affiliate, the Chinese Society of Cardiology, to co-host a special symposium during the congress, which runs from 15 October in Beijing

Researchers make older beta cells act young again

As a person ages, the ability of their beta cells to divide and make new beta cells declines. By the time children reach the age of 10 to 12 years, the ability of their insulin-producing cells to replicate greatly diminishes. If these cells, called beta cells, are destroyed - as they are in type 1 diabetes - treatment with the hormone insulin becomes essential to regulate blood glucose levels and get energy from food. Now, longtime JDRF-funded researchers at Stanford University have identified a pathway responsible for this age-related decline, and have shown that they can tweak it to get older beta cells to act young again - and start dividing. The work, to appear in the October 12 issue of Nature, provides the most complete picture to date of the molecular and biochemical mechanisms that bring beta cell regeneration to a near halt as beta cells age. These findings may help pave a path for developing strategies to restore beta cell number to treat both type 1 and type 2 diabetes

High cholesterol might be linked to Alzheimer's Disease

New research suggests that high cholesterol levels could boost the risk of Alzheimer's disease by creating more brain-clogging bits known as plaque. The finding doesn't directly prove that high cholesterol causes Alzheimer's disease or that lowering it would reduce the risk. Also, researchers didn't find any link between high cholesterol and tangles, which also clog the brain in those with Alzheimer's. Still, the findings add to previous research that has linked insulin resistance to Alzheimer's disease, said study author Dr. Kensuke Sasaki. Better control of both cholesterol levels and insulin resistance, both risk factors for heart disease, "might contribute to a strategy for the prevention of Alzheimer's disease," said Sasaki, an assistant professor of neuropathology at Kyushu University in Japan

Raw vegetables and fruit 'counteract heart risk genes'

Raw vegetables and fruit 'counteract heart risk genes'People who are genetically susceptible to heart disease can lower their risk by eating plenty of fruit and raw vegetables, a study suggests. It says five or more daily portions should be enough to counteract culprit versions of a gene on chromosome 9, thought to be possessed by a fifth of people of European ancestry. Healthy diets appeared to weaken its effect. The US researchers investigated more than 27,000 people for their work. The findings were published in Plos Medicine journal. These participants came from from around the globe, including Europe, China and Latin America.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Smartphones can become health monitors (USA)

Smartphones can become health monitors (USA)Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass., have expanded the medical reach of smartphones, developing an application that can turn the ubiquitous devices into vital sign monitors. Led by Ki H. Chon, PhD, professor and head of biomedical engineering at WPI, a team of researchers created an app that can measure the heart rate, rhythm, respiration rate and blood oxygen saturation using a phone's built-in camera. The researchers reported that the software can read vital signs as accurately as standard medical monitors currently in clinical use. "This gives a patient the ability to carry an accurate physiological monitor anywhere, without additional hardware beyond what's already included in many consumer mobile phones," the authors wrote. "One of the advantages of mobile phone monitoring is that it allows patients to make baseline measurements at any time, building a database that could allow for improved detection of disease states."

Defibrillators in Scottish shops

A scheme which will see life-saving devices installed in 40 stores in Scotland has been hailed by Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon. The Semichem shop in Kirkcaldy is the first to have its staff trained to use the automated defibrillators which can help save the lives of heart attack victims. As part of the programme the devices, which give the heart an electric shock, are being installed in Scotmid, Semichem and Fragrance House shops. The Scottish Ambulance Service is helping Scotmid to purchase and install the in-store defibrillators, training staff to ensure they can use them quickly if needed. The ambulance service also worked closely with the company to identify those stores where the defibrillators are likely to save the most lives

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Researchers seek patients for diabetes 'dating agency' (UK)

A massive recruitment drive is under way to match up thousands of diabetes patients with research projects aimed at finding a cure for the disease. The scheme is being likened to a kind of "dating agency" that puts researchers and patients in contact. Researchers say about 30% of cancer patients may be taking part in clinical trials, but for diabetes that figure is less than 1%. About 2.8 million people in the UK are known to have diabetes. But the charity Diabetes UK believes another 800,000 people may not know they already have the disease

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Windsor's Hotel-Dieu Grace recruits star heart doctor (Canada)

Windsor's Hotel-Dieu Grace recruits star heart doctorMeet Dr. Nisar Huq. The new star recruit of Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital's cardiology department could serve as poster boy for Canada's reversal of the medical brain drain to the U.S. Huq, a highly trained and successful interventional cardiologist has the professional profile that the Canadian medical profession would have lamented losing just a few years ago. Born in Ottawa and trained in Ontario and Quebec, Huq was eventually lured to the U.S. to pursue more challenging professional opportunities there. The last five years, he worked in Michigan, Illinois and, most recently, Texas. Now he has returned home. "I always hoped to come back," said the 44-year-old specialist, who trained at the Ottawa Heart Institute and Montreal's McGill University. "I enjoyed my time in the U.S. but I love Canada and I'm proud to practise here." He joins Dr. Roland Mikhail and Dr. Amr Morsi to give the local hospital three interventional cardiologists able to perform angioplasties - Windsor Star

Why cardiac rehab saves lives

Cardiac rehabilitation can be extremely effective, yet most people choose to avoid it. New research may make them think twice. Cardiac rehabilitation can improve the ability of the heart to return quickly to a normal rate after exercise, and that in turn can double the chances of survival. "Time and time again, cardiac rehabilitation has been shown to improve survival, to improve quality of life, and of course improve exercise capacity," says researcher Leslie Cho, MD, section head of preventive cardiology and rehabilitation at the Cleveland Clinic. However, experts debate whether it's possible to reverse an abnormally slow return to a normal heart rate, and if doing so can lengthen life. The new research sheds light on both points. "For the first time, we have shown that cardiac rehabilitation can train the heart to return to its normal rate quickly after exercise and improve survival. This is better than any medicine," Cho says. The study is published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association

Monday, October 3, 2011

Men 'more prone to type 2 diabetes'

Researchers say they have discovered why men may be more likely than women to develop type 2 diabetes - they are biologically more susceptible. Men need to gain far less weight than women to develop the condition, study findings suggest. The Glasgow University team found men developed the disease at a lower Body Mass Index than women. They believe distribution of the body fat is important - men tend to store it in their liver and around the waist

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Soviet-era pill from Bulgaria helps smokers quit; its low price holds hope for poor countries

A pill developed in Bulgaria during the Soviet era shows promise for helping millions of smokers cheaply and safely kick the habit, the first big study of it shows. It could become a new weapon to combat smoking in poor countries, but it is unclear whether it will ever reach the market in the U.S. or Western Europe. The drug, cytisine, is now used just in Eastern Europe, where smokers usually take the pill for three or four weeks. Generic versions cost as little as $5 to $17 a month, compared with about $100 for an eight-week supply of nicotine patches or about $300 for a 12-week supply of Pfizer Inc.'s Chantix pill - common treatments in rich countries to help smokers quit. Cytisine "is so cheap that even in developing countries, if you can afford to smoke, you can afford to stop," said Dr. Robert West of University College London. He led the study, published in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine

Implantable pacemaker inventor Wilson Greatbatch dies

Implantable pacemaker inventor Wilson Greatbatch diesThe man who invented the first successful implantable cardiac pacemaker, Wilson Greatbatch, has died in Buffalo, New York, aged 92. His pacemaker was first implanted in humans in 1960 and keeps the heart beating in a regular rhythm. Now, hundreds of thousands of people receive pacemakers every year. Greatbatch's cause of death is not known. But Larry Maciariello, his son-in-law, told reporters his health had been "intermittent". He held more than 150 patents

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Seasonal Influenza Immunization begins on October 11, 2011

Seasonal Influenza Immunization begins on October 11, 2011Vaccine is available for everyone this Year. All ages benefit from annual influenza vaccine but it is important those considered at high risk be immunized

People at high risk of complications or hospitalization:

* People 65 years of age or older (or turn 65 prior to March 31, 2012)
* Pregnant women
* Children 6 months to 4 years of age
* People who are severely obese
* People of any age who are residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities
* Anyone with chronic health conditions

Household and close contacts:

* Of any of the categories listed above
* Of infants less than 6 months of age
* Households expecting a newborn before March 31, 2012

Other groups:

* Healthcare providers, health care students and registered volunteers
* Physicians and medical office staff
* People providing regular child care to children less than 5 years of age
* People employed in the poultry and hog industry

If you have any questions, contact the Saskatoon Health Region at 655-4620

Food Chat with Rochelle Anthony

Do have a question for Rochelle Anthony, Dietitian for the Cardiac Rehab Program? Dates:

Field House:
Wednesday October 5 @ 9am - 11am
Thursday November 24 @ 9am - 10:30am
Wednesday December 7 @ 9am - 11am

Shaw Centre:
Wednesday November 30 @ 9am - 11am
(Please note that Jackie Boschman, Cardiac Rehab Nurse, will be present on this day)

Diabetes on Track - do you have a question regarding your diabetes?

Marlene Matiko, Diabetes Nurse Educator, and Rochelle Anthony, Dietitian, will be in the track area to answer your questions on:

Field House:
Tuesday October 25 @ 8am - 10am
Monday November 7 @ 8am - 11am

Shaw Centre:
Wednesday October 19 @ 8am - 11am

Please bring your logbook and blood sugar meter. No appointments required but you may book a time. Speak to your exercise therapist about this

Craving Change(TM) - changing your relationship with food

Craving Change(TM) - changing your relationship with foodCraving Change(TM) - changing your relationship with food - presented free of charge by LiveWell Dietitians

Understand why you eat the way you do:
Comfort yourself without food - Change your thinking - Change your eating

2 programs available:

Field House:
Thursday October 6 @ 10am - 12pm
Thursday October 20 @ 10am - 12pm
Thursday November 3 @ 10am - 12pm

West Winds:
Tuesday October 18 @ 2pm - 4pm
Tuesday October 25 @ 2pm - 4pm
Tuesday November 8 @ 2pm - 4pm
Please call 655-LIVE or 655-5483 to register

Let's talk about your Diabetes

Let's talk about your DiabetesIf you have diabetes, here is a fun and engaging way to learn more about your diabetes.

Join us for a Conversation Map™:

* you learn from others just like you
* share your thoughts and experiences

* Three part session: October, 25; November 8 & 22
* All sessions are 10:30am - 12:30pm at meeting room #2 upstairs at the Field House
* Lunch will be provided
* Facilitators : Marlene Matiko, Diabetes Nurse Clinician and Rochelle Anthony, Dietitian (Phone: 655-2140)
* To register, or for more information, talk to your exercise therapist. Space is limited

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Possible new blood test to diagnose heart attacks (USA)

Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine researchers are reporting a possible new blood test to help diagnose heart attacks. In the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, researchers report that a large protein known as cardiac myosin binding protein-C (cMyBP-C) is released to the blood following a heart attack. "This potentially could become the basis for a new test, used in conjunction with other blood tests, to help diagnose heart attacks," said senior author Sakthivel Sadayappan, PhD. "This is the beginning. A lot of additional studies will be necessary to establish cMyBP-C as a true biomarker for heart attacks."

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Melville Communiplex Project Fitness Centre (Saskatchewan)

The Melville Communiplex Project Fitness Centre (Saskatchewan)The walking track and fitness facility will give people in Melville a venue for exercise no matter what the weather is like outside. Health and wellness activities are foundational elements for any community. The Sunrise Health Region, which includes Melville, has comparably high rates of smoking, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. Sunrise also has a relatively aging population. For these reasons, the Communiplex is doubly important in Melville. Prevention is an important part of health care and this facility will take a huge step in that direction. The cardiac care centre will provide the people of Melville and area with preventative and recuperative health care. Smoke cessation programs, cardiac rehabilitation, obesity challenges, chronic disease management and Type Two Diabetes intervention are just a few of the resources that will be offered through the centre. Melville is the first community in Saskatchewan to adopt a Cardiac Care Family Fitness initiative. The Sunrise Health Region, St. Peter's Hospital and the Paul Schwann Centre for Rehabilitation will work cooperatively to deliver these services and contribute to a healthier and happier Melville

Monday, September 19, 2011

WHO targets non-communicable 'lifestyle' diseases

The World Health Organization has set out a plan to tackle non-communicable diseases like heart disease, which now pose a greater global burden than infectious diseases. "Lifestyle-related" diseases are now the leading cause of death worldwide, killing 36 million people a year. Much of the toll is in low and middle-income countries and this is where efforts must be focused, says WHO. It suggests affordable steps governments should take. The list includes measures that target the population as a whole, such as excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol, smoke-free indoor workplaces and public places, as well as campaigns to reduce salt and dangerous fats in foods. Other tactics focus on individuals and include screening and treatment for cardiovascular disease and cervical cancer, as well as immunisation against hepatitis B to prevent liver cancer. WHO estimates the total cost for adopting these strategies in all low-and middle-income countries would be $11.4bn (£7.2bn) per year

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Olive Garden, other restaurants set to offer healthier meals (USA)

Olive Garden, other restaurants set to offer healthier meals (USA)Olive Garden, Red Lobster and other sister restaurants are set to offer healthier meals by 2016. According to the Associated Press, Darden Restaurants Inc. pledged to cut 10 percent of both calories and sodium content from all restaurant meals over the next five years. The restaurant chains are expected to reduce these levels further by up to 20 percent within the next 10 years. Aside from sodium and calorie changes in all menu items, the restaurants are expected to make significant changes in their meals for children. According to the AP, children’s meals will no longer have side orders of french fries; kids will have a choice of fruits or vegetables instead. One percent milk will be served with all of the children’s items, unless otherwise requested - ThirdAge

Whitehall targets threaten the Great British Breakfast (UK)

Whitehall targets threaten the Great British Breakfast (UK)For many, a plate of bacon, sausage and eggs makes the perfect start to a lazy Sunday. But Government targets are about to put the great British breakfast under threat. Butchers and other food retailers say health diktats to reduce salt levels could ruin the taste of some of our favourite dishes, with producers of bacon and sausages facing the greatest difficulties. More than 60 food firms and supermarkets have pledged to meet salt reduction targets agreed by the Coalition. But as the deadline grows closer, they fear compromising the familiar tastes valued by customers unless extra additives are introduced. They also fear risking safety, because of the role of salt as a preservative - Telegraph

Eyelid marks warn of heart attack (Denmark)

Eyelid marks warn of heart attack (Denmark)Yellow markings on the eyelids are a sign of increased risk of heart attack and other illnesses, say researchers in Denmark. A study published on the BMJ website showed patients with xanthelasmata were 48% more likely to have a heart attack. Xanthelasmata, which are mostly made up of cholesterol, could be a sign of other fatty build-ups in the body. Cardiologists said the findings could be used by doctors to help diagnose at-risk patients. The research team at the Herlev Hospital in Denmark started following 12,745 people in the 1970s. At the start of the study, 4.4% of patients had xanthelasmata

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Elizabeth Banks has heart attack for a cause (USA)

Elizabeth Banks has teamed up with the American Heart Association to put out a funny little public service announcement in support of heart wellness issues. In the video, part of the association's Go Red for Women campaign, Banks plays an over-stressed mom busy taking care of everything around her house while neglecting her own heart. Humor is a good way of broaching difficult subjects and the video combines serious facts along with a touch of Banks' Emmy-nominated flair. Heart disease is the number one killer of American women, according to the American Heart Association. It's also a personal issue for Banks. Her mother, father and sisters all suffer from heart disease. As a new mother, Banks says it's important for her to stay healthy for her son

Apple a day 'keeps strokes away'

Apple a day 'keeps strokes away'It is a well known saying that 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away'. But now nutritionists say there is some truth in the assertion - and believe that eating just one apple or pear daily could half the risk of having a stroke. Both are examples of white-fleshed fruit, which is important because that means they contain large amounts of a plant compound called quercetin. This biochemical has been shown to reduce inflammation, which is relevant because inflammation is linked to hardening of the arteries: cardiovascular disease. Researchers at Wageningen University in the Netherlands who studied 20,000 adults, found those who ate more white-fleshed fruit and vegetables were less likely to suffer a stroke over 10 years. They calculated that stroke risk decreased by nine per cent for every 25g (just under one ounce) of apple or pear eaten each day

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Million Hearts (USA)

Million Hearts (USA)Million Hearts is a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years. Heart disease and stroke are two of the leading causes of death in the United States. Million Hearts brings together communities, health systems, nonprofit organizations, federal agencies, and private-sector partners from across the country to fight heart disease and stroke

New IDF data reveals diabetes epidemic continues to escalate

New Diabetes Atlas figures released by the International Diabetes Federation confirm that the diabetes epidemic continues to worsen. Data from global studies demonstrates that the number of people with diabetes in 2011 has reached a staggering 366 million, 4.6 million deaths are due to diabetes and health care spending on diabetes has reached 465 billion USD

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Smoking in Canada hits all-time low in 2010

According to new statistics the smoking rate in Canada has dropped to 17% in 2010. This is the lowest level ever recorded, according to annual results of the 2010 Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey. "The numbers announced today are encouraging, as they show more Canadians are making the healthy choice when it comes to smoking," said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health. "I am particularly encouraged by the numbers when it comes to youth." According to the 2010 survey, smoking rates have significantly declined for key age groups. For example, in 2010 smoking among teens aged 15 to 17 fell to 9% - the lowest recorded rate in an age group often seen as key in the fight against smoking. CTUMS, a national survey conducted by Statistics Canada on behalf of Health Canada since 1999, provides essential input to the development of sound and effective tobacco control policies and programs, as well as their evaluation

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Heart scan could replace angiogram for some patients

Heart scan could replace angiogram for some patientsA team of researchers, with funding from the British Heart Foundation, have shown that a heart test using a magnetic scanner could help some patients living with heart failure. Some patients with heart failure have an enlarged heart, a condition called dilated cardiomyopathy. For these patients, it can be difficult to work out if their symptoms are caused by coronary artery disease, or a number of other conditions that can make the heart pump less effectively

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mesoblast receives clearance to begin first European trial of allogeneic or 'off-the-shelf' stem cell treatment for heart attacks

Global regenerative medicine company, Mesoblast Limited has announced that it had received clearance from the European Medicines Agency to begin a 225-patient multi-center Phase 2 clinical trial in Europe for its lead cardiovascular product Revascor(TM) in conjunction with angioplasty and stent procedures to prevent heart failure after a major heart attack. Revascor(TM) is an allogeneic, or "off-the-shelf", adult stem cell product derived from Mesoblast's proprietary Mesenchymal Precursor Cell platform technology which is being developed for use in a range of cardiovascular diseases including congestive heart failure, chronic angina, and heart attacks (acute myocardial infarction)

Scripps Research scientists establish new class of anti-diabetic compound

In a joint study, scientists from The Scripps Research Institute and Harvard University's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have established a new class of anti-diabetic compound that targets a unique molecular switch. The finding paves the way for the development of anti-diabetic therapeutics with minimal adverse side effects plaguing currently available drugs such as Avandia (rosiglitazone), scheduled to be removed from pharmacy shelves this fall due to concerns about increased risk of heart attack. The new study, led by Patrick R. Griffin, professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Therapeutics at Scripps Florida, Bruce Spiegelman, professor of cell biology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Theodore Kamenecka, associate scientific director of medicinal chemistry at Scripps Florida, was published September 4, 2011, in the journal Nature. The study describes a new compound known as SR1664

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Longer CPR not necessarily beneficial: study (Canada)

Longer CPR not necessarily beneficial: study (Canada)A huge Canadian-led study of cardiac arrest patients may lead to changes in international guidelines on how long CPR should be performed before paramedics or other emergency personnel check whether a defibrillator can restart the heart. The study of almost 10,000 cardiac arrest patients across North American has shown that extending the period of initial cardiopulmonary resuscitation from one minute to roughly three minutes provides no benefit. Principal investigator Ian Stiell, chairman of emergency medicine at Ottawa Hospital, said the finding resolves a worldwide controversy about how cardiac arrest should be dealt with in those first crucial minutes after a patient collapses.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Opticians 'should offer blood sugar checks' (UK)

Opticians 'should offer blood sugar checks' (UK)Opticians should offer blood sugar checks alongside eye tests to help spot patients with undiagnosed diabetes, experts propose. A simple finger prick blood test in this setting could identify hundreds of thousands of people with type 2 diabetes, according to researchers. A pilot study in northern England found the targeted screening picked up one case for every 100 people tested. This would capture people who do not routinely visit their GP, experts say. The Department of Health said people in England aged 40 to 72 were offered a check for diabetes alongside other vascular diseases as part of the NHS Health Check programme

US stroke rates 'rising in young'

US stroke rates 'rising in young'More children and young adults in the US are having strokes - with unhealthy lifestyles being a likely cause, scientists have said. Researchers at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysed hospital data on up to eight million patients a year between 1995 and 2008. In Annals of Neurology, they say stroke rates in five to 44-year-olds rose by about a third in under 10 years. Higher blood pressure, diabetes and obesity were common in stroke patients

Thursday, September 1, 2011

UK stem cell stroke trial passes first safety test

The world's first clinical trial of brain stem cells to treat strokes is set to move to its next phase. An independent assessment of the first three patients to have had stem cells injected into their brain at Glasgow's Southern General Hospital has concluded it has had no adverse effect. The assessment paves the way for the therapy to be tested on more patients to find a new treatment for stroke. The hope is that the stem cells will help to repair damaged brain tissue. The trial is being led by Prof Keith Muir of Glasgow University. He told BBC News that he was pleased with the results so far

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Eliquis more effective at preventing strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation

The experimental anticlotting pill Eliquis beat out the standard drug, warfarin, at preventing strokes in people with a heart condition that puts them at high risk of blood clots and stroke, researchers report. The new drug, also known as apixaban, cut the risk of stroke by 21% compared with warfarin in people with atrial fibrillation (AF). It lowered the risk of dying by 11%. The side effect of serious internal bleeding, the key safety concern of anticlotting medication, was reduced by 31% with Eliquis compared to warfarin - WebMD

Diabetes in Saskatoon Health Region Report (Canada)

Saskatoon Health Region's Public Health Observatory has released its Diabetes in Saskatoon Health Region report. The report of the Medical Health Officer profiles diabetes in both urban and rural settings

Bad sleep ups blood pressure risk

Bad sleep ups blood pressure riskElderly men who spend little time in deep sleep could be at risk of developing high blood pressure, according to US scientists. A study on 784 patients, in the journal Hypertension, showed those getting the least deep sleep were at 83% greater risk than those getting the most. Researchers say they would expect a similar effect in women. The British Heart Foundation said it was important for everyone to prioritise sleep. High blood pressure - also known as hypertension - increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and other health problems. Researchers measured the "sleep quality" of 784 men over the age of 65 between 2007 and 2009. At the start none had hypertension, while 243 had the condition by the end of the study

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Heart Rehabilitation Exercise (UK)

Heart Rehabilitation Exercise is dedicated to giving you all the relevant information regarding how to make and maintain lifestyle changes after a cardiac event. at Heart Rehabilitation Exercise, are Heart rehabilitation exercise workouts posted for you to try at home along with information articles regarding lifestyle changes to support you on your road to recovery

Friday, August 26, 2011

Global governments 'must get tough on obesity'

Global governments 'must get tough on obesity'Tougher action - including taxing junk food - is needed by all governments if the obesity crisis is going to be tackled, experts say. The international group of researchers, who have published a series of articles in The Lancet, said no country had yet got to grips with the problem. They said changes in society meant it was getting harder for people to live healthy lives. And they warned without state action, health systems could become swamped. Obesity-related problems, such as diabetes, were now accounting for between 2% and 6% of health care costs in most countries - BBC

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Aerobic exercise bests resistance training at burning belly fat

Aerobic exercise bests resistance training at burning belly fatAerobic exercise is your best bet when it comes to losing that dreaded belly fat, a new study finds. When Duke University Medical Center researchers conducted a head-to-head comparison of aerobic exercise, resistance training, and a combination of the two, they found aerobic exercise to be the most efficient and most effective way to lose the belly fat that's most damaging to your health. This isn't the fat that lies just under your skin and causes the dreaded muffin top. Belly or abdominal fat – known in scientific communities as visceral fat and liver fat - is located deep within the abdominal cavity and fills the spaces between internal organs. It's been associated with increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, and certain kinds of cancer. "When it comes to increased health risks, where fat is deposited in the body is more important than how much fat you have," says Duke exercise physiologist Cris Slentz, Ph.D., lead author of the study published in the American Journal of Physiology. "Our study sought to identify the most effective form of exercise to get rid of that unhealthy fat." The Duke study showed aerobic training significantly reduced visceral fat and liver fat, the culprit in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Aerobic exercise also did a better job than resistance training at improving fasting insulin resistance, and reducing liver enzymes and fasting triglyceride levels. All are known risk factors for diabetes and heart disease. Resistance training achieved no significant reductions in visceral fat, liver fat, liver enzyme levels or improvements in insulin resistance. The combination of aerobic with resistance training achieved results similar to aerobic training alone. "Resistance training is great for improving strength and increasing lean body mass," says Slentz. "But if you are overweight, which two thirds of the population is, and you want to lose belly fat, aerobic exercise is the better choice because it burns more calories." Aerobic training burned 67% more calories in the study when compared to resistance training