Friday, April 29, 2011

Second option defibrillator electrode pads to help save more lives (USA)

Rice University bioengineering students have developed a modified set of external defibrillator pads that can provide an additional option for cardioverting the heart. Three electrodes are embedded between two pads and a switch selects which path for the current to take. By following simple user instructions, bystanders can easily provide a second option that's not available in current defibrillators. The system, which was created to transparently improve the efforts of untrained public responders, can be adapted to existing defibs.

Telemedicine can deliver cardiac rehabilitation

Telemedicine can deliver cardiac rehabilitation Conducting cardiac rehabilitation via telemedicine may be an effective alternative to conventional onsite programs in terms of risk reduction a small pilot study shows. The results for both the onsite and remote group of patients mirrored results reported in previous cardiac rehabilitation research. Led by Lance Dalleck, formerly with the Department of Human Performance, Minnesota State University-Mankato, the researchers believe this study is among the first to use telemedicine to deliver cardiac rehabilitation at a remote site. Earlier studies of telemedicine in cardiac rehabilitation have shown it to be useful for teaching, monitoring and providing support to cardiac patients at a distance. "There were no significant differences in the changes from baseline to post program values between conventional cardiac rehabilitation and telemedicine-delivered cardiac rehabilitation for any of the measured variables," wrote Dalleck, who is now at the Department of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Auckland, New Zealand. "These findings suggest that telemedicine can be used to deliver cardiac rehabilitation effectively to patients who otherwise would not have access to such programs."

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Heart attacks 'are worse' if they happen in the morning

Heart attacks 'are worse' if they happen in the morningPeople who have a heart attack in the morning tend to fare worse than those who have one at other times of the day and night, experts have discovered. Heart attacks occurring between 0600 and noon are more likely to create a larger area of damaged heart tissue. The findings in Heart journal come from a study of over 800 patients in Spain. Experts say the body's natural sleep-awake cycle could explain the differences seen, but advise more research to confirm the findings - BBC

Global status report on noncommunicable diseases 2010 (WHO)

Global status report on noncommunicable diseases 2010 (WHO)"This report sets out the statistics, evidence and experiences needed to launch a more forceful response to the growing threat posed by noncommunicable diseases. While advice and recommendations are universally relevant, the report gives particular attention to conditions in low- and middle-income countries, which now bear nearly 80% of the burden from diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases. The health consequences of the worldwide epidemic of obesity are also addressed. The report takes an analytical approach, using global, regional and country-specific data to document the magnitude of the problem, project future trends, and assess the factors contributing to these trends. As noted, the epidemic of these diseases is being driven by powerful forces now touching every region of the world: demographic ageing, rapid unplanned urbanization, and the globalization of unhealthy lifestyles. While many chronic conditions develop slowly, changes in lifestyles and behaviours are occurring with a stunning speed and sweep"

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Low-stress Chinese exercise seems to benefit heart-failure patients

Low-stress Chinese exercise seems to benefit heart-failure patientsResearchers say the ancient Chinese meditative exercise of tai chi appears to improve the mood and outlook of patients with chronic heart failure, a condition in which the heart grows increasingly weak and unable to pump enough blood to meet the demands of the body. There was a time when doctors did not want their heart failure patients to exercise because they worried it could worsen their condition, which can be fatal. Because their hearts are unable to pump blood quickly enough throughout their bodies, patients with heart failure often have shortness of breath, coughing, exercise intolerance and swollen ankles. But experts now say easy, low-stress exercise, especially the kind involved in tai chi, can lead to a significant improvement in a patient's day-to-day outlook. Gloria Yeh, a doctor at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, led a study that looked at the effect of tai chi on heart failure patients. The study on the value of tai chi in treating heart failure patients is published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine

Death rates among those with high blood pressure decreasing, but still high

Death rates among those with high blood pressure decreasing, but still highDeath rates have decreased among people with high blood pressure but remain far higher than in those without it, according to research in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. "Mortality rates are going down for everybody with high blood pressure, but despite the availability of several types of medication to reduce blood pressure, there is still a large gap between those with hypertension and those without," said Earl S. Ford, M.D., M.P.H., study author and medical officer with the U.S. Public Health Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Couch potato six year olds already showing signs of ill health

Couch potato six year olds already showing signs of ill healthChildren as young as six who spend a lot of time in front of the television or using a computer are already showing early signs of heart disease and high blood pressure, claims study. Researchers found that every extra hour in front of a screen could be correlated with a 10 per cent increase in blood pressure later in life. The scientists discovered that children who spent more time watching television had narrower arteries at the back of their eyes – a marker of future cardiovascular disease risk. Results also showed that children who spent an hour or more each day outside playing had "significantly" wider arteries than those who spent 30 minutes or less doing the same. The retinal arteries of children who did the most physical activity were found to be 2.2 thousandth of a millimetre wider on average than those who had the most "screen time". Researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia, looked at 1,492 six and seven year-old kids at 34 primary schools across Sydney. The study was published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, the journal of the American Heart Association

UBC recognizes two Canadian medical researchers with $50,000 prizes

UBC recognizes two Canadian medical researchers with $50,000 prizesUBC recognizes two Canadian medical researchers with $50,000 prizesTwo of Canada's most eminent health researchers – Dr. Jacques Genest (pictured far left) at McGill University and Dr. Michael Hayden (pictured near left) at the University of British Columbia – have been awarded the inaugural Margolese National Brain and Heart Disorders Prizes, the most lucrative prizes bestowed by UBC. The two prizes were created by an estate gift to UBC by Leonard Hubert Margolese to recognize Canadians who have made outstanding contributions to the treatment, amelioration or cure of brain or heart disorders. Margolese, who died in 2000, was a Vancouver businessman who had a heart condition and whose brother had Alzheimer’s disease. The prizes, each of which includes a $50,000 grant, will be awarded annually with the expectation that the recipients will continue their outstanding research focused on improving the lives of individuals with brain or heart disease. Genest and Hayden will be honoured at a banquet in the fall

Thursday, April 21, 2011


CARG is a non-profit organization that provides facilities and assistance to its members in rehabilitating their cardiac systems, educate them on topical issues of heart-health and provide an environment of fellowship with others with similar concerns. The cost of providing the facilities and services is the lowest in Canada. This is achieved because a large number of volunteers spend countless hours in organizing the program and making sure that it functions properly. These volunteers are not paid any remuneration and, therefore, the administrative cost of the program is minimal.

The current fiscal year of CARG will end on August 31, 2011 and the Annual General Meeting will be held in the fourth week of October. At that meeting a Board of Directors will be elected. At least three members of the present Board of Directors will not be available for serving on the Board next year.

A Nominating Committee has been formed; this Committee is chaired by Dan Danaher. The Committee is looking for volunteers who would be willing to serve on the Board in the next fiscal year for the following responsibilities:

Secretary of the Board of Directors: The Secretary would be expected to perform the following duties:

Record minutes of all the meetings of the Board of Directors and distribute them among the Members of the Board.

Record minutes of the Annual General Meeting and make them available for approval at the next General Meeting.

Submit a copy of the Annual Financial Statement to the Information Services Corporation of Saskatchewan.

Submit the Annual Return to the Information Services Corporation of Saskatchewan.

Submit the information on the changes in the membership of the Board of Directors to the Information Services Corporation of Saskatchewan.

Respond to and initiate correspondence as director by the President.

The Secretary should be familiar with using Word Processing software. At this time, Microsoft Word is being used to record minutes.

Member-at-Large (1) who would be responsible for the following tasks.

Receive the fees collected at the Field House each month and deposit them in the CARG Account at the Affinity Credit Union.

Record details of fees paid by individual members in a spreadsheet every month and reconcile the details with the collected monies.

This member should be familiar with using software like the Microsoft Excel for keeping details of the fees paid by individual members.

Member-at-Large (2) who would be responsible for the following tasks.

Record details of fees paid by individual members in a spreadsheet every month and reconcile with the records kept by Member-at-Large (1).

Prepare a consolidated list showing the fees paid in the current month and fees paid in advance for the following month.

Keep records of Names and addresses of members of CARG.

Assign Membership Number to all new members.

Print lists of members for use while collecting fees and provide them to the fee collection teams.

If volunteers are not available to perform these tasks, the Board will have no choice but to hire professional help. This will mean that there will be a substantial cost that will have to be recovered. The only way of recovering that cost seems to be an increase in the walking fees that will be contrary to the objectives of keeping the CARG program affordable.

Please convey your consent or nomination of a friend to Dan Danaher (Telephone: 306-343-7676) or James McKay (Telephone: 306-373-9798)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New heart attack jab even more effective than statins (UK)

New heart attack jab even more effective than statins (UK)British-based scientists have produced an antibody that reduces by more than 60 per cent the physical scarring of the heart and brain after an attack. The "milestone achievement" could also be used to stop the body attacking organ transplants. Professor Wilhelm Schwaeble, who carried out the work at Leicester University, said that it could potentially be the "biggest breakthrough ever" in the treatment of two of the biggest killers in Britain. Heart attacks and strokes are caused by blood flow being blocked by a clot or a bleed, starving parts of the body further down stream of oxygen. But most of the permanent damage is caused later – when circulation is eventually restored – and a "default of nature" which means the body's own defences attack the oxygen starved cells. This effect, which kicks in around nine to 12 hours after the attack or stroke, causes massive inflammation and more than 80 per cent of the permanent damage. It is this that often leads to death and massive reduction in the quality of life of stroke and heart attack survivors. Now the researchers at the University of Leicester have come up with an injection which they claim effectively stops the body attacking the oxygen starved cells. This allows them to start to oxygenate normally and the permanent damage is reduced significantly. The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

CARG acquires a NuStep 4000

CARG has acquired another NuStep 4000 Recumbent Total Body Cross Trainer. It will be housed at the Field House (as of April 18, 2011)

Former Saskatchewan premier (and member of CARG) Allan Blakeney dies of cancer

Former Saskatchewan premier (and member of CARG) Allan Blakeney dies of cancerA former Saskatchewan premier who was instrumental in the creation of Canada's publicly funded health care system and the patriation of the Constitution has died at the age of 85.

Allan Blakeney died Saturday morning following short battle with cancer, Saskatchewan's NDP said in a statement.

Mr. Blakeney served as Saskatchewan's tenth premier from 1971 to 1982 and leader of the provincial New Democrats for 17 years. Before that he was a cabinet minister in the NDP government in the 1960's, helping to steer the introduction of medicare through a no-holds barred political debate in the province.

Former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow, who served in Blakeney's cabinet and was a close friend, said it's hard to single out any single accomplishment.

“He really is a nation builder, one of Canada's really outstanding leaders,” Mr. Romanow said in an interview.

Mr. Blakeney viewed his work on implementing medicare while a cabinet minister as his biggest contribution in public life, said Mr. Romanow who visited Mr. Blakeney in hospital shortly before his death.

“He said, ‘but we finally won the day and we established a great plan for health care for the people of Saskatchewan and Canada,' ” recalled Mr. Romanow of the conversation the two men had.

The medicare contribution was singled out by Federal NDP leader Jack Layton, who dedicated the rest of his party's federal election campaign to Mr. Blakeney's memory.

“Were it not for him, medicare, Tommy Douglas's dream would have never come to pass,” Mr. Layton said on Saturday while campaigning in St. John's NL. “We all owe him a great debt of gratitude.”

While premier Mr. Blakeney was also a major player in the late-night dealing in an Ottawa hotel that led to the patriation of the Constitution in 1982. He was considered one of the few first ministers of his era who had the intellectual horsepower to earn then prime minister Pierre Trudeau's respect.

“It was a treat, it was full of tension, but a treat to watch these two intellectuals debate,” said Mr. Romanow, who also played a high-profile role in the constitutional talks while serving as Mr. Blakeney's attorney-general.

“I think there was a certain testiness between the two of them,” Mr. Romanow said. “I think the respect factor was there, but in these emotional settings very often it's like two heavyweights in the ring and not one is going to give up until his argument is the one that's accepted.”

“I think without question, Mr. Blakeney played a very important role, almost a pivotal role,” Mr. Romanow said of Mr. Blakeney's contribution to the constitutional talks.

Mr. Blakeney also was at the table when the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was hammered out during the same period. On the anniversary of the signing of the agreement, he said the document had fulfilled a promise of protecting individual rights, but had also allowed the courts into areas of public policy.

Former prime minister Jean Chretien, who was Mr. Trudeau's justice minister at the time, also worked with Mr. Blakeney during the constitutional negotiations.

“He was a gentleman,” Mr. Chretien said in a telephone interview Saturday.

“He was a very serious person. You know, everything was important for him and very meticulous. And a pleasant chap too. So I keep a very good souvenir of his public service. He served so well Saskatchewan and Canada.”

During patriation negotiations, Mr. Chretien said Mr. Blakeney championed the interests of resource-based western provinces.

“He defended the interests of his people very well. He was making all the time a very good contribution.”

The soft-spoken son of a Nova Scotia grocer, Mr. Blakeney went to Dalhousie University's law school. He won a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford in England, where he studied from 1947-49.

Mr. Blakeney was recruited by Tommy Douglas in 1950 as a civil servant in the Saskatchewan government. He switched to the political arena in 1960 as a member of Mr. Douglas's government. A year later the CCF became the NDP and Mr. Douglas resigned to become leader of the federal party.

Mr. Douglas's successor, Woodrow Lloyd, won the bitter and emotional battle to bring in Canada's first publicly funded health-care program.

Mr. Blakeney was appointed health minister and given the job of administering medicare.

“That was hard work, but it was rewarding,” he once recalled in an interview. “I thought, ‘This is something that's for real.“’

He also took turns in the education, finance and industry portfolios before the Liberals won government in 1964.

Mr. Blakeney won the party leadership in 1970 and a year later led the NDP back to power.

Grant Devine, who as leader of the Progressive Conservatives defeated Mr. Blakeney's New Democrats in 1982 in a landslide, called his opponent “brilliant,” saying he did his homework and knew his issues.

“You had to really know your stuff to take him on on any sort of academic or theoretical issue,” Mr. Devine said in an interview from his home in Caron, Saskatchewan.

“A man of integrity, he had good core values, he was kind, but he was tough in the sense that he had a great mind and he was well trained,” Devine said Saturday.

Mr. Layton, who spoke to Mr. Blakeney two days before his death, described the former premier as “one of the most gentle, wise, humorous and effective public administrators in this country.”

“It was clear that he had reached a point of pretty significant illness, but he still offered wise and thoughtful advice,” Mr. Layton said of the conversation he had with Mr. Blakeney.

Mr.Layton's rivals in the election campaign also paid tribute to Mr. Blakeney, issuing statements. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Mr. Blakeney played an important role shaping modern Saskatchewan. Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff called Blakeney “a champion of public health care in Canada and dedicated to the province he loved.”

Many premiers turned to Mr. Blakeney for guidance, Nova Scotia's New Democrat Premier Darrell Dexter said in a statement.

“He was one of the country's leading experts on management of governments and he was a trusted advisor to me and many other Canadian premiers.”

After his crushing electoral defeat in 1982, Mr. Blakeney decided to stay on as opposition leader because he wanted to rebuild his shattered party. He failed to regain power in 1986 and retired from politics in 1988 to enter academic life as a professor of law, teaching at Osgoode Hall at York University in Toronto until 1990. Then he took up the same post at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon where he remained until he took ill - Globe and Mail

Editor's note: Mr Blakeney was a member of CARG since March 2009

Testimonal from CARG member Leonard C. Marriott (82 years old)

Testimonal from CARG member Leonard C. Marriott (82 years old)When my wife Audrey started at the Shaw Centre with her support person I weighed 277 pounds. Through dieting and walking 25 laps around the track 3 times a week, I now weigh 175 pounds. I have been walking for a year now. Dieting has also been a real help, and I have never felt better. I have lots of energy; do not get out of breath; and have a whole new wardrobe of clothes that fit!!! Try it. It works. - Leonard C. Marriott (82 years old)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Apple a day does keep the doctor away

Apple a day does keep the doctor awayAn apple a day really can keep the doctor away, a study suggests. It found that women on an 'apple diet' saw their cholesterol drop by almost a quarter in six months, while they also lost weight. Dr Bahram Arjmandi, of the department of nutrition, food and exercise sciences at Florida University, described the results as "incredible." In the study, 80 women aged 45 to 65 were asked to eat 75 grams of dried prunes a day for a year, and the other 80 were asked to eat the same amount of dried apple, in addition to their normal diets. Blood samples were taken at the start of the study and at three, six and 12 months. Dr Arjmandi said that "incredible changes in the apple-eating women happened by 6 months- they experienced a 23 per cent decrease in LDL cholesterol, which is known as the 'bad cholesterol'." They also had lower levels of bio-markers linked to heart disease, such as C-reactive protein. They also shed on average 3.3lbs (1.5kg). Dr Arjamandi, who presented the research at the Experimental Biology conference in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, concluded that there was some truth in the old adage "An apple a day keeps the doctor away". Apples have long been known to be a good source of fibre, but the study, funded by the US Department of Agriculture, added to evidence that they had additional health benefits which made them a "miracle fruit". Dr Arjamandi said: "Everyone can benefit from consuming apples." Previous studies have shown that apple pectin and compounds called polyphenols - also present in substances including blueberries, tea and dark chocolate - stimulate the breakdown of fats in the blood and reduce inflammation of vessel walls, which both reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease

Vegetarians have less metabolic syndrome

egetarians have less metabolic syndromeVegetarians have lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome - a precursor to heart disease and diabetes - than non-vegetarians, U.S. researchers say. Metabolic syndrome involves having three or more of the following - blood pressure equal to or higher than 130/85 millimeters of mercury; fasting blood sugar equal to or higher than 100 milligrams per deciliter; large waist circumference [for men, 40 inches or more, for women 35 inches or more]; low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol [for men, under 40 mg/dL, for women, under 50 mg/dL; and triglycerides equal to or higher than 150 mg/dL. The study examined more than 700 adults - 35 percent were vegetarians - randomly selected from Loma Linda University's long-term study of the lifestyle and health of almost 100,000 Seventh-day Adventists across the United States and Canada. On average, the vegetarians and semi-vegetarians were 3 years older than non-vegetarians, but despite the older age, the vegetarians had lower triglycerides, glucose levels, blood pressure, waist circumference and body mass index. In addition, semi-vegetarians had a significantly lower body mass index and waist circumference compared to those who ate meat more regularly. "I was not sure if there would be a significant difference between vegetarians and non-vegetarians, and I was surprised by just how much the numbers contrast," lead researcher Nico S. Rizzo of Loma Linda University says in a statement. The findings are publishes in the journal Diabetes Care

Walking increases bloodflow to the brain, study says

Walking increases bloodflow to the brain, study saysBrisk walking can boost blood flow to your brain, according to a new study from the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine in Dallas. A team of researchers, led by Rong Zhang, analyzed data they collected over the course of three months from 16 women aged 60 and older. At the beginning of the study, the researchers used Doppler ultrasonography to measure blood flow in the arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood and glucose to the brain. They then created specific work out regimens for each participant, which, depending on their level of fitness, added up to an average of 30 to 50 minutes of walking three to four times a week. At the end of three months, their findings show that blood flow to the brain had increased by 15 percent. "There are many studies that suggest that exercise improves brain function in older adults, but we don't know exactly why the brain improves. Our study indicates it might be tied to an improvement in the supply of blood flow to the brain," Zhang said in a press release. The study also found that, overall, the women's blood pressure decreased by about four percent, their heart rates declined by five percent, and their body's ability to carry and use oxygen during physical activity rose by 13 percent. The researchers presented the study at the Experimental Biology meeting in Washington D.C.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Type 2 diabetes 'cut' after weight-loss surgery (UK)

Type 2 diabetes 'cut' after weight-loss surgery (UK)The UK's first large-scale study on the impact of weight-loss surgery has reported a large reduction in type 2 diabetes and other health problems. The National Bariatric Surgery Registry said type 2 diabetes fell by 50% and on average patients lost nearly 60% of their excess weight a year after surgery, based on 1,421 operations. The Royal College of Surgeons says the NHS should prepare for rising demand. Ministers say it is up to the local NHS to provide weight management services. The report says the world has been engulfed by a pandemic of obesity. In the UK, it says there are about one million people who could benefit from bariatric surgery - which includes gastric bypasses and gastric bands - BBC

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Doctors 'often defy' their own treatment advice (USA)

Doctors 'often defy' their own treatment adviceMany doctors recommend treatments to their patients that they would not use themselves, a US study suggests. Experts asked nearly 1,000 US physicians to consider a medical scenario and pick a treatment. But when doctors were asked to imagine themselves as the patient their answers differed significantly. Doctors were far more likely to opt for a therapy carrying a higher chance of death but better odds of side-effect free survival, for example. But for their patients, doctors tended to pick a treatment that erred on the side of survival, regardless of the quality of life, Archives of Internal Medicine reports

Car gadget could reduce risk of heart attack, says study (UK)

Car gadget could reduce risk of heart attack, says study (UK)New research shows that fitting diesel-fuelled cars with a 'particle trap' gadget could reduce the risk of heart attacks in traffic-heavy areas. We already know that air pollution can trigger a heart attack. Recently an international study showed that air pollution was the 'most important' trigger of heart attacks in people with existing coronary heart disease. Diesel exhaust is thought to be more harmful to heart and blood vessel function than standard petrol exhaust, due to higher levels of dangerous tiny particles. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have demonstrated for the first time that these 'particle traps' can dramatically reduce the negative effects of diesel fumes on the heart and circulation. Dr Andrew Lucking from the University of Edinburgh, who led the research, said: "The trap we used dramatically reduced the harmful effects of exposure to diesel exhaust. Our results suggest that if all diesel powered vehicles had particle traps fitted, heart attacks could be avoided." - BHF

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Thames Bridges Bike Ride 2011 (UK)

Thames Bridges Bike Ride 2011 (UK)On Sunday 22 May over 2,000 cyclists will take part in The Stroke Association's amazing Thames Bridges Bike Ride. Starting at Southwark Park, this amazing route travels through the historic city of London and along the picturesque tow-paths of the River Thames. Cyclists enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Battersea and Richmond Parks en route before ending on a high note in Hurst Park near Hampton Court

Scientists develop 'universal' virus-free method to turn blood cells into 'beating' heart cells

Scientists develop 'universal' virus-free method to turn blood cells into 'beating' heart cellsJohns Hopkins scientists have developed a simplified, cheaper, all-purpose method they say can be used by scientists around the globe to more safely turn blood cells into heart cells. The method is virus-free and produces heart cells that beat with nearly 100 percent efficiency, they claim. "We took the recipe for this process from a complex minestrone to a simple miso soup," says Elias Zambidis, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of oncology and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering and the Kimmel Cancer Center. Zambidis says, "many scientists previously thought that a nonviral method of inducing blood cells to turn into highly functioning cardiac cells was not within reach, but "we've found a way to do it very efficiently and we want other scientists to test the method in their own labs." However, he cautions that the cells are not yet ready for human testing

Friday, April 8, 2011

CARG to purchase 4 Schwinn Airdyne AD-4 bikes

CARG to purchase 4 Schwinn Airdyne AD-4 bikesMohindar S Sachdev, President of CARG writes: "I am taking steps to place an order for the purchase of four bikes; two to be delivered to the Shaw Centre and two to be delivered to the Field House. The bikes will delivered on April 18, 2011"

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tangerines help prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes in mice

Tangerines help prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes in miceWhile an apple a day keeps the doctor away, a tangerine a day may provide even greater health benefits, researchers say. Scientists at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont., say a substance found in high concentrations in the fruit prevents obesity and offers protection against type 2 diabetes in lab mice. Their research, published in the journal Diabetes, found that the naturally occurring substance nobiletin also helped to protect against atherosclerosis — the disease responsible for most heart attacks and strokes. "The nobiletin-treated mice were basically protected from obesity," Murray Huff, a vascular biology scientist at the University of Western Ontario, said in a release. "And in longer-term studies, nobiletin also protected these animals from atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque in arteries, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke." Nobiletin is part of a family of molecules called flavonoids that are found naturally in citrus fruits. Tangerines boast the highest nobiletin concentration of any citrus fruit. A Statistics Canada study suggested that one in four Canadians are considered obese

Caffeine and diabetes - helpful or harmful?

Caffeine and diabetes - helpful or harmful?A growing body of research suggests that caffeine disrupts glucose metabolism and may contribute to the development and poor control of type 2 diabetes, a major public health problem. A review article in the inaugural issue of Journal of Caffeine Research: The International Multidisciplinary Journal of Caffeine Science, a quarterly peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. publishers, examines the latest evidence, contradicting earlier studies suggesting a protective effect of caffeine. The entire issue is available free online. James Lane, PhD, Duke University, describes numerous studies that have demonstrated caffeine's potential for increasing insulin resistance (impaired glucose tolerance) in adults that do not have diabetes, an effect that could make susceptible individuals more likely to develop the disease. In adults with type 2 diabetes, studies have shown that the increase in blood glucose levels that occurs after they eat carbohydrates is exaggerated if they also consume a caffeinated beverage such as coffee. This effect could contribute to higher glucose levels in people with diabetes and could compromise treatment aimed at controlling their blood glucose.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sprints better than marathon for heart health

Sprints better than marathon for heart healthScientists have found that a number of brief bursts of exercise were better for your heart and circulation than the equivalent long distance training. They discovered that the distance, time and calories burned in sprint exercises were much less than those needed in endurance in order to have the same benefits for the cardiovascular system. The findings were published in the American Journal of Human Biology. "Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a leading cause of mortality throughout the world and its risk factors have their origins in childhood," said lead author Duncan Buchan from the University of the West of Scotland. "Our research examines the effects of brief, intense exercise when compared to traditional endurance exercise on the markers of CVD in young people."

Smoking kills 500,000 Americans annually

Smoking kills 500,000 Americans annually A new study published in the journal, Epidemiology, has found 291,000 smoking-attributable deaths among men and 229,000 such deaths among women annually in the United States from 2002 through 2006. Slightly more men seem to suffer from tobacco-related deaths each year than women, though rates for women were higher than expected, according to researchers. Dr. Brian Rostron of the University of California, Berkeley, used data from a national health survey to obtain these results. Among all current and former smokers, the greatest increase in risk of a tobacco-related death occurred between the ages of 65 and 74. After accounting for other factors such as weight and alcohol consumption, people in that age group were three times as likely to die from any cause if they currently smoked between one and two packs of cigarettes a day, compared to those who had never smoked. Though America has seen great progress in smoking cessation, much still remains to be done.

Food Day 2011

Food Day 2011Food Day will be October 24 - in 2011 and in years to come. Food Day seeks to bring together Americans from all walks of life - parents, teachers, and students; health professionals, community organizers, and local officials; chefs, school lunch providers, and eaters of all stripes - to push for healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way. We will work with people around the country to create thousands of events in homes, schools, churches, farmers markets, city halls, and state capitals

EuroPRevent 2011

EuroPRevent 2011EuroPRevent 2011 - 14 to 16 Apr 2011 - Geneva, Switzerland

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Working long hours? Watch out for your heart (UK)

Working long hours? Watch out for your heartPeople who regularly work long hours may be significantly increasing their risk of developing heart disease, the world's biggest killer, British scientists have said. Researchers said a long-term study showed that working more than 11 hours a day increased the risk of heart disease by 67 per cent, compared with working a standard 7 to 8 hours a day. They said the findings suggest that information on working hours - used alongside other factors like blood pressure, diabetes and smoking habits - could help doctors work out a patient's risk of heart disease. However, they also said it was not yet clear whether long working hours themselves contribute to heart disease risk, or whether they act as a "marker" of other factors that can harm heart health - like unhealthy eating habits, a lack of exercise or depression. "This study might make us think twice about the old adage 'hard work won't kill you'," said Stephen Holgate, chair of the population and systems medicine board at Britain's Medical Research Council, which part-funded the study. The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal, followed nearly 7,100 British workers for 11 years

Monday, April 4, 2011

Live patient ECG's from GE's MUSE Cardiology on your iOS device

Live patient ECG's from GE's MUSE Cardiology on your iOS deviceGetting called in to check on a patient while spending time with the family is a regular part of life for cardiologists. It's also important for the patient to get a quick diagnosis of ECG readings, which is why GE Healthcare has partnered with Airstrip Technologies to link GE's MUSE Cardiology Information System with Airstrip's Cardiology app for iPhones and iPads. Using the system, physicians can look at live patient tracings whether they're on a different hospital floor or playing softball with the kids

Diabetes makes you older before your time (USA)

Diabetes makes you older before your time (USA)People in their 50s with diabetes may age before their time compared with their diabetes-free counterparts, U.S. researchers say. Dr. Christine Cigolle, an assistant professor of family medicine and internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School, says adults ages 51-70 with diabetes developed age-related ailments such as cognitive impairment, incontinence, falls, dizziness, vision impairment and pain at a faster rate than those without diabetes. For adults age 51-60 with diabetes, the odds of developing new geriatric conditions were nearly double those who didn't have diabetes, but by the time people with and without diabetes reach 80, the disparities begin to disappear, says Cigolle, the study's lead author. "Our findings suggest that middle-age adults with diabetes start to accumulate these age-related problems," Cigolle says in a statement. "Because diabetes affects multiple organ systems, it has the potential to contribute significantly to the development of a number of issues that we associate with aging." The findings are published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine

Lack of vitamin D may stiffen arteries

Lack of vitamin D may stiffen arteries A lack of Vitamin D can lead to stiffer arteries and an inability of blood vessels to relax, making a heart attack more likely, U.S. researchers say. Dr. Ibhar Al Mheid of Emory University School of Medicine and Dr. Arshed Quyyumi, a professor of medicine and director of the Emory Cardiovascular Research Institute, obtained data from 554 Emory or Georgia Tech employees - average age 47 and generally healthy - who took part in the Center for Health Discovery and Well Being program. The researchers say the average level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D - a form of the vitamin reflecting diet as well as production in the skin - in participants' blood was 31.8 nanograms per milliliter. In this group, 14 percent had 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels of less than 20 nanograms per milliliter - considered deficient - and 33 percent had less than 30 nanograms per milliliter levels - considered insufficient. "We found that people with vitamin D deficiency had vascular dysfunction comparable to those with diabetes or hypertension," Al Mheid says. The findings were presented at the annual American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans

Cardiovascular disease can be detected earlier during sleep

Cardiovascular disease can be detected earlier during sleepA specially customised pulse oximeter attached to the finger can be used to detect changes in heart and vessel function while you sleep, and this simple technique can even identify patients at increased risk of cardiovascular disease, reveals research from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. A pilot study of 148 people showed that more than 80% of high-risk patients were picked up by this simple and risk-free measurement technique. The results were published recently in the journal Chest. In the study, researchers used a modified version of the pulse oximeter currently used to detect various sleep disorders during the night, such as apnoea. The method is based on the measurement of five components of the signal from the finger: pulse wave attenuation, pulse rate acceleration, pulse propagation time, respiration-related pulse oscillation and oxygen desaturation. "We then weigh up these components in a model to assess how great a risk the patient runs of cardiovascular disease," says Ludger Grote, associate professor at the Center for Sleep and Vigilance Disorders at the Sahlgrenska Academy and senior consultant at Sahlgrenska University Hospital. "We believe that the patient's values reflect the risk at least as well as the individual's risk factors 'on paper'"

The Heart of New Ulm Project (USA)

The Heart of New Ulm Project (USA)The Heart of New Ulm is a project designed to reduce the number of heart attacks that occur in the New Ulm area (Minnesota) over the next 10 years. This means helping residents improve their health risks, such as physical activity, nutrition, obesity, or tobacco use, among others. The project will involve community education, medical interventions and environmental changes. The project is being led by Allina Hospitals & Clinics, a health care system, instead of the government. As a result, it will likely serve to change the way health care is viewed and delivered across the country. In other words, it could result in the entire health care system shifting its focus toward preventive care. The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation is working in close partnership with Allina and the New Ulm medical Center (NUMC) to support this project in the New Ulm Community

Fat tax: Arizona's Medicaid program looks at charging smokers, diabetics, obese $50 a year (USA)

Fat tax: Arizona's Medicaid program looks at charging smokers, diabetics, obese $50 a year (USA)Arizona's cash-strapped Medicaid program is considering charging patients $50 a year if they smoke, have diabetes or are overweight. A spokeswoman for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System said that the fee is intended to rein in health care costs by pushing patients to keep themselves healthy. "It engages the consumer to start having a greater awareness of how they fit into the bigger health care puzzle," said Monica Coury, spokeswoman for AHCCCS. "We want to be able to provide health care to people. And we want to stretch our dollars as far as we can. Part of that is engaging people to take better care of themselves." Some private employers and state governments have instituted higher insurance premiums for workers who are overweight or smoke, but Arizona's plan would mark the first time a state-federal health care program for low-income residents has charged people for unhealthy lifestyles. The fee would apply only to certain childless adults. One part of the proposal affects people with diabetes. Coury says diabetics who fail to follow their doctor's orders to lose weight would be subjected to the $50 charge. Democratic state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema said that isn't fair to diabetics

Nighttime leg twitches may be a sign of heart trouble, study suggests

Nighttime leg twitches may be a sign of heart trouble, study suggests"The nighttime twitching of restless legs syndrome may be more than an annoyance. New research suggests that in some people, it could be a sign of hidden heart problems. People with very frequent leg movements during sleep were more likely to have thick hearts - a condition that makes them more prone to cardiac problems, stroke and death, the study by Mayo Clinic doctors found. "We are not saying there is a cause-and-effect relationship," just that restless legs might be a sign of heart trouble that doctors and patients should consider, said Dr. Arshad Jahangir, a heart rhythm specialist at the Mayo Clinic Arizona in Scottsdale. He led the study and gave results recently at an American College of Cardiology conference in New Orleans. Restless legs syndrome is thought to afflict millions, though there's argument about just how many. Some doctors think its seriousness has been exaggerated, possibly to help sell treatments. The syndrome gained more scientific respect several years ago, when several genes were linked to it. And doctors have long known that other types of sleep disturbances such as sleep apnea raise the risk of heart problems"

Post-Katrina heart attack rate three-times higher: Study

Post-Katrina heart attack rate three-times higher: Study"New Orleans residents were found to have three times the rate of heart attacks four years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina than before the storm and levee break that flooded the city, according to a study presented at a major heart meeting recently. The three-fold increase had first been observed two years after the August 2005 hurricane and, much to the surprise of researchers collecting the data, it has persisted. "We expected a down-trend after four years," said Dr. Anand Irimpen, who presented the data at the American College of Cardiology scientific meeting and continues to collect heart attack statistics as the six-year anniversary approaches. "We had some indication of Katrina's effect on heart health from our initial study, but it appears to be more far reaching than expected," said Irimpen, chief of cardiology of the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System. The data was based on patients admitted with heart attacks to Tulane University Hospital two years prior to Katrina, and compared with heart attack rates four years after the storm. In the four years after the storm, 2.2 percent of hospital admissions were due to confirmed heart attacks. Prior to the storm, the rate was 0.7 percent of admissions"

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Happiness peaks in our eighties

Happiness peaks in our eighties"Traditional wisdom states that our younger years are the best of our lives, with the milestone of 40 meaning we are "over the hill" and already on the wane. But in fact satisfaction and optimism steadily increase after middle age, easily eclipsing the earlier years and peaking as late as the eighties, according to research. An easing of the responsibilities of middle age combined with maturity and the ability to focus on the things we enjoy combine to make old age far more enjoyable than one might expect. This is greatly increased by having good health, a stable income and good relationships with family and friends, according to scientists. Lewis Wolpert, emeritus professor of biology at University College London, who explained the findings in a new book called You're Looking Very Well, said most people were "averagely happy" in their teens and twenties, declining until early middle age as they try to support a family and a career. He added: "But then, from the mid-forties, people tend to become ever more cheerful and optimistic, perhaps reaching a maximum in their late seventies or eighties""

Doctor: Bad penmanship endangers patients (Canada)

Doctor: Bad penmanship endangers patients (Canada)"A leading Canadian doctor says medical professionals' indecipherable writing on prescriptions and medical charts puts patients at "totally unacceptable" risk. Dr. Louis Francescutti, president of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, cited the case of a Nova Scotia nurse reprimanded in the past month for his illegible handwriting, Postmedia News reported. Wilfred Douglas Gordon was ordered by the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia to take a documentation course after the organization found his writing on nurses' notes and patients' charts was unreadable. "But in 2011 it's totally unacceptable that we're still handwriting -- that's how the monks did it," Francescutti said. "Everything should be dictated or typed." Francescutti offered a simple solution to rid hospitals of the sloppy writing that has plagued the medical profession. "If you pull out a physician's chart and you can't read what it says, they shouldn't get paid for that procedure," he said. "Patients' lives are actually in danger by misinterpretation of drug dosage or a procedure. It's totally inexcusable." The importance of legible writing is taught in medical schools, Francescutti said, but "the people that teach it are the ones that can't write either."

Fast-food + coffee = soaring blood sugar (Canada)

Fast-food + coffee = soaring blood sugar (Canada)"Eating a fatty fast-food meal can result in blood-sugar levels spiking, and chasing it with caffeinated coffee doubles the trouble, Canadian researchers say. Marie-Soleil Beaudoin, a doctoral student at the University of Guelph in Ontario, with Professors Lindsay Robinson and Terry Graham, discovered not only that a healthy person's blood-sugar level spikes after eating a high-fat meal, and it doubles if caffeinated coffee is added - jumping to levels similar to those of people at risk for diabetes. In the study, healthy men drank about 1 gram of a fat-laden beverage - a fat cocktail that contains only lipids - for every kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight. Six hours later, they were given a sugar drink. When people eat sugar, the body produces insulin, which takes the sugar out of the blood and distributes it to our muscles, Beaudoin explains. The study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, found that the fatty meal affected the body's ability to clear the sugar out of the blood - blood-sugar levels were 32 percent higher than they were when the men had not ingested the fat cocktail. However, after they received two cups of caffeinated coffee 5 hours after ingesting the fat beverage and later a sugar drink - blood-sugar levels increased by 65 percent"

The 2011 DiabetesMine™ Design Challenge

The 2011 DiabetesMine™ Design Challenge is an online competition to encourage creative new tools for improving life with diabetes. Do you have an idea for an innovative new diabetes device or web application? This is your chance to win up to $7,000 in cash and valuable assistance to realize your design concept - while potentially helping transform life with diabetes for millions of people struggling with this difficult condition

For multiple heart blockages, bypass surgery or stents?

For multiple heart blockages, bypass surgery or stents?"For patients who have several blocked arteries around their heart, the gold standard treatment has long been coronary artery bypass surgery. Now a large clinical trial suggests that drug-coated stents, springy lattice tubes used to prop open clogged arteries, may also work well in patients with multiple blockages. And in some patients, the stents produce equally good results with faster recovery times. The caveats, experts say, are that people with daily or weekly chest pain from advanced coronary artery disease will probably experience slightly better relief from bypass surgery compared to stenting; but they can also count on waiting to get the full benefit of that procedure weeks to months longer than people who get stents. Experts say the study, which is published in The New England Journal of Medicine, brings to light important trade-offs that people with complex coronary artery disease need to weigh before making a decision between the two procedures

He@lthline - April 2011 from Heart and Stroke Foundation Canada

The April 2011 edition of He@lthline, from Heart and Stroke Foundation Canada is now available

Friday, April 1, 2011

Rick Stene: Confidentiality of your health information

Rick Stene: Confidentiality of your health informationConfidentiality of your health information is taken very seriously. Each one of us has a right to privacy and to choose who may look at our health information in whole or in part. This is our choice. The Saskatoon Health Region and the Cardiac Rehabilitation staff would like to ensure we comply with your wishes. For the staff to provide you with advice on your exercise or vascular health we need certain pieces of your health history. When you enter the program you are asked to sign a consent form which includes permition to obtain health information and to correspond with other members of your health team (Family doctor, Cardiologist). If you have any questions or concerns about this process I would be happy to discuss this with you. Our intent is to comply with your wishes and to still be able to provide you with proper services while you are here. We have not had a problem in this regard over the past 41 years of operation, however the Cardiac Rehabilitation staff and the CARG executive felt it would be beneficial to ensure this process is open, transparent and complies with your needs and wishes. Please feel free to call me if you have any questions or concerns.

Rick Stene, Manager, Chronic Disease Management – Exercise, Saskatoon Health Region, 655-6870