Monday, November 26, 2012

Smoking rots brain more than high blood pressure and being overweight

Smoking rots brain more than high blood pressure and being overweightSmoking rots the brain, causing brain damage that affects memory, learning and reasoning, a study has found. The research, by Kings College London, found smoking is worse for mental health than having high blood pressure or being overweight. The research; cardiovascular risk factors and cognitive decline in adults aged 50 and over: a population-based cohort study, found the risk of having a heart attack or stroke was associated with cognitive decline. According to the study, published in the journal Age and Ageing, smokers over the age of 50 who had high blood pressure were at greatest risk of suffering a stroke. This group also performed poorly on cognitive tasks that tested memory recall, verbal fluency and attention. A spokesperson from the Alzheimer's Society said: "We all know smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and a high BMI is bad for our heart. This research adds to the huge amount of evidence that also suggests they can be bad for our head too

Sunday, November 25, 2012

CPR Makes You Undead (Canada)

In the case of a sudden cardiac arrest, every second counts. About 7,000 cardiac arrests occur in the province each year, according to data from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario. A person's chances of survival can be up to 75 per cent if rapid, early response is started at the scene using cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillation. Unfortunately, the rate of bystander participation seldom exceeds 30 per cent and AEDs are used in less than 10 per cent of cases. The survival rate for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests is less than 6 per cent, Heart and Stroke estimates based on its most recent data. It also notes the probability of survival declines by up to 10 per cent with every minute that passes. Last month, Heart and Stroke launched a public awareness campaign dubbed CPR Makes You Undead, which aims to increase bystander involvement in emergency and cardiac arrest situations. The goal of the campaign is to raise public awareness and promote hands-only CPR, foundation health promotion and public affairs director Mark Holland said. "We must do better and we can, if we all learn CPR."

Researchers modify ostrich artery for possible use in heart surgeries (Japan)

Researchers modify ostrich artery for possible use in heart surgeriesScientists said that they have modified ostrich carotid arteries that can eventually be developed for use in human patients undergoing coronary bypass surgery. Researchers at the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center Research Institute said the long arteries found in the necks of the birds will one day be implanted in heart surgery patients instead of using patients' own vessels, as in conventional surgeries. The modified ostrich vessels are about 2 millimeters in diameter and about 30 centimeters long. The researchers said it is the first time such a long and thin vascular graft with a small inside diameter has been developed. When thin blood vessels are replaced with thicker ones, blood flow slows and the vessels become vulnerable to clotting. Atsushi Mahara and other researchers at the institute's biomedical engineering department had been studying the possibility of using the blood vessels of sharks and conducted experiments on laboratory rats. But when they applied an ostrich carotid artery this spring, its thinness and length were a perfect fit, the researchers said

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

CARG Newsletter - December 2012

The CARG Newsletter - December 2012 is now available online

Cholesterol test fasting "largely unnecessary" (Canada)

Cholesterol test fasting 'largely unnecessary' Fasting before getting a blood test of cholesterol levels may be unnecessary, a new Canadian study suggests. Current guidelines suggest taking blood samples for lipid tests like high-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol after fasting for nine to 12 hours, but the requirement isn't always practical for patients. Fasting for routine blood work may discourage patients from going for the tests and blood labs may have long wait times in the morning that inconvenience people even more. In the Archives of Internal Medicine, Dr. Davinder Sidhu and Dr. Christopher Naugler of the University of Calgary looked at how long 209,180 people in Calgary fasted and their lipid results. Last year, the city's laboratory service changed its policy allowing samples to be processed regardless of the fasting time. "We found that fasting time showed little association with lipid subclass levels in a large community-based cohort," the study's authors concluded. "This finding suggests that fasting for routine lipid level determinations is largely unnecessary."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

CARG Christmas Parties 2012

The CARG Christmas Party in the Field House is scheduled for December 5, 2012, from 9:30am to 11:30am

The CARG Christmas Party at the Shaw Centre is scheduled for December 14, 2012, from 9:00am to 12 noon

"The clock is ticking for stroke patients" - Canada

Adults under the age of 50 are risking death or permanent disability far too often by not calling 9-1-1 or their local emergency number at the first sign of stroke, according to new data released by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Stroke Network. The rest of Canadians aren't doing much better. And that spells trouble because there are 50,000 strokes in Canada each year. "When it comes to stroke, there are two enemies: the clock and the clot," says stroke neurologist Dr. Michael Hill, who speaks on behalf of the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Stroke Network. "Canadians need to understand that the clock starts ticking at the first signs of a stroke, and every second of delay leads to more brain cell death and greater risk of death or disability. "The statistics - collected from about 10,000 patient charts at 295 hospitals across Canada - found that half of all adults under the age of 50 took longer than eight hours to arrive at a hospital emergency department. Across all age groups, women took slightly longer than men to arrive at hospital

Mayo Clinic study finds that cardiac rehab reduces mortality by 45 percent

Randal J. Thomas, M.D., director of Mayo Clinic's Cardiovascular Health Clinic, and colleagues found that patients who participate in cardiac rehabilitation after having heart interventions such as angioplasty, stents and clot-busting drugs have a 45 percent lower mortality rate. The research team studied data from more than 2,300 patients between 1994 and 2008, and recently published the results in Circulation. Only about 40 percent of patients in the study participated in cardiac rehabilitation. These findings are particularly important for interventional cardiologists, Dr. Thomas says, because encouraging patients to pursue cardiac rehab after their procedure can potentially save more lives than previously thought

Monday, November 19, 2012

Albertans are taking better care of their heart health (Canada)

Albertans are taking better care of their heart health (Canada)Albertans are showing remarkable improvements in heart health thanks to a combination of better eating, increased fitness and much-improved medical treatments. According to new data collected from across the province from 2003 and 2010, the number of coronary artery bypass surgeries in the province fell from 84 per 100,000 people in 2003, to 42 in 2010 - a 50 per cent decline in per capita counts. As well, the number of cardiac catheterizations, in which a catheter is inserted into an artery or chamber of the heart to assess damage, also decreased from 480 per 100,000 in 2003 to 430 in 2010. Dr. Merrill Knudtson, a professor of medicine at the University of Calgary's Libin Cardiovascular Institute, says it's impressive the trend toward medical procedures has been on the decline for a number of years. "Albertans are doing better in terms of diet and exercise and they are smoking less, and we have the secondary evidence to suggest that," he said. Dr. Sean McMurtry, lead author of the research study and a cardiologist at the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute in Edmonton, explained that while the raw number of procedures haven't changed significantly, simply because of Alberta's population boom over the last decade, the per capita decline is meaningful

Sunday, November 18, 2012

CARG Board of Directors and Committee Chairs 2012-2013

The CARG Board of Directors and Committee Chairs for 2012-2013 are:


Blake Adamson; Ron Fleming; David Giesbrecht; Mary Green; Robert Klombies; James McKay; Florence Pavia; Betty Penner; Ruth Redden; Mohindar Sachdev; Alfred Schmidt; Myrna Helen Sprecker; Norma Tischler

Committee Chairs:

- Barbara Lussier prepares the "In Memorium" list

- Peter Scott is editor of the Newsletter

- Darlene Urban chairs the Heart Pillow Committee

- Victor Zapf chairs of the Social Committee

- Ruth Redden is a Director and also chairs the Hospital Visitation Committee

The following Board members retired at the 2012 AGM:

Howard Hrehirchuk; Orest Michalowski; Peter Scott; Gordon Shuttle; Curt Weberbauer

CARG wishes to thank the retiring members for their service and congratulate the new members on their election.

Breakfast sandwiches constrict blood flow within hours of eating: study

Breakfast sandwiches constrict blood flow within hours of eating: studyTalk about fast food - eat just one of those popular restaurant breakfast sandwiches and your body will be feeling the effects before noon. New research shows that just two hours after eating the combination of butter, bun, eggs, bacon, cheese and salt (containing a total of 900 calories and 50 g of fat) blood flow through the arms of a test group decreased by 15 to 20 per cent. Dr. Todd Anderson, Heart and Stroke Foundation researcher and speaking at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Toronto, said it's uncertain exactly why the blood flow is temporarily impeded but that it's obvious "the body isn't happy" with what it's ingesting. He said it can be a number of reasons, including an excess of oxygen free radicals (created by the sandwich) that affect the blood vessels. "But the real question is: what's this doing to blood vessels over a period of time?" says Anderson, who is also the director of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta and head of cardiac science at the University of Calgary. "We already know what too much fat intake does to one's health, but now we should consider this." Anderson described research out of his lab, led by Vincent Lee, where a group of non-smoking students were studied twice - once on a day they had no breakfast, once on a day after consuming two "commercially available" breakfast sandwiches. The objective: assess the acute effects of just one high-fat meal on microvascular function - an indicator of overall vascular (blood vessel) health. The measurement used is called the VTI (velocity time integral) and is taken using Doppler ultrasound

Flu shots may cut risk of heart attacks

Flu shots may cut risk of heart attacksThe annual flu shot is a notoriously tough sell, but what if the shots prevented heart attacks, too? New Canadian research suggests that the influenza vaccine significantly lowers the risk of heart attack, strokes and dying from heart disease. Toronto researchers who searched the medical literature back to the 1960s found that flu shots are associated with about a 50-per cent reduction in the risk of having a major cardiovascular "event" in the year following vaccination, for people with and without known coronary artery disease. "It's a pretty profound finding," said Dr. Jacob Udell, a cardiologist and clinician scientist at Toronto's Women's College Hospital and the University of Toronto. Udell was scheduled to present his team's findings at the 2012 Canadian Cardiovascular Congress meeting in Toronto

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Insulin dose through the nose - the end of injections for diabetics?

Scientists have developed a once-a-day nasal gel formulation for the delivery of insulin that could put an end to injections for Type 1 diabetes sufferers. In results published in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Biomaterials Science, researchers show that the insulin-loaded gel reduces blood glucose levels over 24 hours in a diabetic-rat model when administered via the nose. Tests using mucus-producing cells to model conditions in the nose showed that eight times as much insulin was taken up by the cells when incubated with the insulin-loaded gel formulation, compared with a simple solution of insulin in water. Scientists performed further tests on the gel formulation using diabetic-rat models. Their results showed that the rats' blood glucose levels fell following nasal administration of the insulin-loaded gel and then took around 24 hours to return to their original values. By comparison, they found that it took only nine hours for blood glucose levels to return to their original values in control models treated with insulin by the normal route of subcutaneous injection