Thursday, May 24, 2012

Heart attack survivors living close to highways face higher 10-year death risk (USA)

Heart attack survivors living close to highways face higher 10-year death riskLiving close to a major highway poses a significant risk to heart attack survivors, reinforcing the need to isolate housing developments from heavy traffic areas, a Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center study concludes. Writing in the May 7 edition of Circulation, researchers found heart attack survivors living less than 100 meters or 328 feet from a roadway have a 27 percent higher risk of over within 10 years than survivors living at least 1,000 meters away. That risk recedes to 13 percent for those living between 200 and 1,000-meter or 656 to 3,277-feet from the roadway. "Living close to a highway is associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes in those with underlying cardiac disease," says Murray Mittleman, MD, DrPH, a physician in the CardioVascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of BIDMC's cardiovascular epidemiological research program. "Besides air pollution, exposure to noise could be a possible mechanism underlying this association." The Onset study of 3,547 heart attack survivors in 64 community hospitals and tertiary care medical centers recorded 1,071 deaths over 10 years. Of that total, 63 percent of the patients died of cardiovascular disease, 12 percent died of cancer and 4 percent expired from respiratory disease. Researchers analyzed factors such as personal, clinical and neighborhood-level characteristics such as income and education

Skin cells turned into healthy heart muscle cells

Skin cells turned into healthy heart muscle cellsScientist say they have managed to turn patients' own skin cells into healthy heart muscle in the lab. Ultimately they hope this stem cell therapy could be used to treat heart failure patients. As the transplanted cells are from the individual patient this could avoid the problem of tissue rejection, they told the European Heart Journal. Early tests in animals proved promising but the experimental treatment is still years from being used in people. Experts have increasingly been using stem cells to treat a variety of heart problems and other conditions like diabetes, Parkinsons disease or Alzheimer's. Stem cells are important because they have the ability to become different cell types, and scientists are working on developing ways to get them to repair or regenerate damaged organs or tissues.

Calcium pills pose 'heart risk'

People who take calcium supplements could be increasing their risk of having a heart attack, according to researchers in Germany. Calcium is often taken by older people to strengthen bones and prevent fractures. But the study, published in the journal Heart, said the supplements "should be taken with caution". Experts say promoting a balanced diet including calcium would be a better strategy. The researchers at the German Cancer Research Centre, in Heidelberg, followed 23,980 people for more than a decade. They compared the number of heart attacks in people who were taking calcium supplements with those who did not

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

2012 Saskatoon Dragon Boat Festival (Canada)

The Heart and Stroke Foundation has announced that they will be organizing this event this summer, as well as remain the charity of choice. The Festival will include a children’s area, a heart healthy food and beverage menu and all day entertainment. This is sure to be a fantastic day of exciting races and family fun. July 27th and 28th 2012

Clopidogrel goes generic (USA)

On May 17, 2012, the FDA approved generic versions of the blood thinning drug clopidogrel (Plavix, Bristol-Myers Squibb/Sanofi-Aventis), which helps reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Clopidogrel is FDA approved to treat patients who have had a recent heart attack or a recent stroke, or have partial or total blockage of an artery (peripheral artery disease). The anticipation of this generic approval of this popular drug has led many to question its affect on the antiplatelet drug market. "For people who must manage chronic health conditions, having effective and affordable treatment options is important," said Keith Webber, PhD, deputy director of the Office of Pharmaceutical Science in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "The generic products approved today will expand those options for patients."

Study: Heart damage after chemo linked to stress in cardiac cells

Blocking a protein in the heart that is produced under stressful conditions could be a strategy to prevent cardiac damage that results from chemotherapy, a new study suggests. Previous research has suggested that up to a quarter of patients who receive the common chemotherapy drug doxorubicin are at risk of developing heart failure later in life. Exactly how that heart damage is done remains unclear. In this study, scientists identified a protein called heat shock factor-1 (HSF-1) as a likely source of chemotherapy-related heart damage in mice and cell cultures. Heat shock factor-1 is known to be induced by stress - in this case, the chemotherapy treatment itself. The research appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Online Early Edition

Stick-on "Zio" patch diagnoses irregular heartbeat in cardiac patients

Stick-On It may look like a Band-Aid, but the "Zio" cardiac monitor can help emergency-room patients avoid unnecessary follow-ups, according to a new study by Scripps Health. Developed by iRhythmn Technologies, the 2-by-5-inch patch sticks to the skin like an adhesive bandage. Despite their severity, cardiac arrhythmias happen infrequently and are tricky to diagnose. The "Zio", on the other hand, provides continuous recording of up to 14 days - significantly longer than most heart monitors on the market

"Nordic Walking" benefits heart failure patients

Research presented at a conference this week suggests heart failure patients can benefit from "Nordic walking", where people walk with the help of poles as in cross-country skiing. This type of walking, which engages the upper as well as the lower body, is becoming increasingly popular in Europe: it is safe for older patients, especially those over 65, and after a short introductory course, can be practised outdoors without having to go to the gym. The lead author of the study is Andrzej Lejczak, a physiotherapist at the Military Hospital in Wroclaw, Poland. He presented the findings on 21 May, in Belgrade, Serbia, to delegates attending the Heart Failure Congress 2012, the main annual meeting of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology

Overweight teens: Half have heart risk, CDC says (USA)

Overweight teens: Half have heart risk, CDC says (USA)Half the nation's overweight teens have unhealthy blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar levels that put them at risk for future heart attacks and other cardiac problems, new federal research says. And an even larger proportion of obese adolescents have such a risk, according to the alarming new numbers. "What this is saying, unfortunately, is that we're losing the battle early with many kids," said Dr. Stephen Daniels, a University of Colorado School of Medicine expert who was not involved in the study. People can keep their risk of heart disease very low if they reach age 45 or 50 at normal weight and with normal blood pressure, normal cholesterol and no diabetes. So these results are not good, he said. The study was released in the journal Pediatrics

Doctors ditching the prescription pad as more than a third of prescriptions now are electronic (USA)

Dropping a paper prescription at the drugstore is becoming old-school: More than a third of the nation's prescriptions now are electronic, according to the latest count. The government has been pushing doctors to e-prescribe, in part because it can be safer for patients. This year, holdouts will start to see cuts in their Medicare payments. Thursday's report from Surescripts, the largest network for paperless prescribing, shows more doctors are signing up fast. At the end of 2011, 36 percent of all prescriptions were electronic - the doctor wrote it by computer and sent it directly to the pharmacy with the push of a button, the report found. That's up from 22 percent of prescriptions that were paperless a year earlier