Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Improving cardiac arrest survival rates (Canada)

Improving cardiac arrest survival rates (Canada)Researchers at St. Michael's Hospital and Sunnybrook along with paramedics in the Greater Toronto Area are taking part in two of the largest clinical trials in the world aimed at finding ways to improve survival rates of people who suffer a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital. One trial examines whether cooling a patient's body temperature in the ambulance en route to a hospital improves the rate of cooling in the hospital, which has been proven to improve survival and reduce brain damage. The other seeks to determine the best drug to give people to treat the heart rhythm that signals they are about to go into cardiac arrest. "The survival rate from cardiac arrest has increased five-fold in regions where paramedics are participating in these resuscitation trials, which highlights incredible improvements in quality of care," said Dr. Laurie Morrison, an emergency medicine physician at St. Michael's. Dr. Morrison heads Rescu, the largest research team of its kind in Canada, dedicated to improving out-of-hospital resuscitation. Rescu is conducting the trials along with Toronto-area base hospitals (Sunnybrook Centre for Prehospital Medicine and Lakeridge Health Central East Prehospital Care Program), and associated paramedic and fire services. About 15,000 to 20,000 Canadians suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital every year. During a cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating, and unless it is restarted within minutes, the person usually dies. Although immediate resuscitation can be lifesaving, more than 90 percent of people who experience a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital will die before reaching a hospital or soon after

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fujitsu prototype smart cane makes you want to get old

Fujitsu prototype smart cane makes you want to get oldThe classic walking cane has remained pretty much unchanged for millenia. Really just a walking stick with an ergonomic handle, it's hard to come up with novel improvements to the cane. Fujitsu engineers, nevertheless, decided to integrate a bunch of technology into a cane to see what they could come up with. The intriguing result is a device that uses GPS to guide the user who now doesn't have to use a smartphone with the other hand. It also integrates a small heart rate meter right into the handle and, because there's wireless connectivity, it can call loved ones automatically if the rate is too high. Also, the handle monitors the ambient temperature and humidity and counts walking steps

Ability of brain to protect itself from damage revealed (UK)

Ability of brain to protect itself from damage revealed (UK)The origin of an innate ability the brain has to protect itself from damage that occurs in stroke has been explained for the first time. Oxford University researchers hope that harnessing this inbuilt biological mechanism, identified in rats, could help in treating stroke and preventing other neurodegenerative diseases in the future. "We have shown for the first time that the brain has mechanisms that it can use to protect itself and keep brain cells alive," says Professor Alastair Buchan, Head of the Medical Sciences Division and Dean of the Medical School at Oxford University, who led the work. The researchers report their findings in the journal Nature Medicine and were funded by the UK Medical Research Council and National Institute for Health Research. Stroke is the third most common cause of death in the UK. Every year around 150,000 people in the UK have a stroke. It occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. When this happens, brain cells are deprived of the oxygen and nutrients they need to function properly, and they begin to die. "Time is brain, and the clock has started immediately after the onset of a stroke. Cells will start to die somewhere from minutes to at most 1 or 2 hours after the stroke," says Professor Buchan

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A good snooze, regularly, can help the heart stay healthy

A good snooze, regularly, can help the heart stay healthyCutting back on sodium and increasing physical activity are not the only ways to improve heart health - a good night's sleep can also help promote cardiovascular health. One expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham says not getting enough sleep can have harmful heart-health effects. The ideal amount of sleep is between six to eight hours, said cardiologist Alan S. Gertler, M.D., associate professor of medicine in UAB's Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and part of UAB's Heart & Vascular Services. "Deep, high-quality sleep is needed to lower heart rate and blood pressure, which reduce stress on the heart," Gertler explained. Heart rate and blood pressure also rise and fall during rapid eye movement (REM) in response to dreams. According to the National Institutes of Health, those variable rates also contribute to making the heart healthier. "Without enough sleep, there is an increase in blood pressure and stress hormones, lower glucose tolerance and weight gain," Gertler said. "All of these factors can increase the risk of coronary artery disease."

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Cardiac nurse program to be launched (USA)

Cardiac nurse program to be launched (USA)Central Maine Medical Center and the Central Maine Medical Center College of Nursing and Health Professions are launching a specialty cardiac nurse residency program. The program will provide an educational pathway for graduate nurses to gain the knowledge and experience needed to provide acute cardiovascular nursing care. Scheduled to begin in June 2013, it will foster professional development based on the individual nurse resident's learning needs. The nurse resident will begin the program under the guidance of a primary preceptor. Program content, which includes instruction from College of Nursing faculty, consists of a core curriculum, standards of practice, and a cardiac/critical care course. After completing the 12-week program, the nurse residents will continue their critical care orientation under the guidance of a mentor for a year. The program will be offered for positions in the CMMC Intensive Care Unit and the Central Maine Heart and Vascular Institute Single-Stay Unit

Cardiac arrest survival rate tops in Ottawa

Cardiac arrest survival rate tops in OttawaIf you're going to have a heart attack in Ontario, your chance of surviving such an occurrence outside of the hospital is best in Ottawa, says the city's top paramedic Anthony DiMonte. "We're over 12 per cent, we're more than double the Ontario average," said DiMonte during a presentation to city hall Thursday. "From being one of the worst communities to have a cardiac arrest in, you're now sitting in a community that's probably one of the best." Before the city began installing defibrillators in its public recreation centres, the chances of surviving a heart attack before paramedics arrived was just two per cent. But now there are more than 800 automated external defibrillators in the city

Prevention and rehabilitation are cornerstones of cardiac care

Prevention and rehabilitation are cornerstones of cardiac careThe results of a study conducted by Sherry L. Grace, Ph.D., of York University, Toronto, and colleagues in the Cardiac Rehabilitation Care Continuity Through Automatic Referral Evaluation (CRCARE) Investigators reported that one year after being treated for coronary artery disease, 1,809 patients referred to cardiac rehabilitation had attended 82.8 percent of sessions during the year following hospitalization. That's good news as the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, pointed out that cardiac rehabilitation offers a comprehensive approach to chronic disease management by addressing risk factors such as hypertension, obesity, smoking, unhealthy diet and a sedentary lifestyle. It backed that statement by emphasizing that it has been proven that, compared with usual care, cardiac rehabilitation reduces illness and death by about one-fourth over one to two years. Cardiovascular rehabilitation is an essential component of the interventional cardiology services provided by South Nassau Communities Hospital's Center for Cardiovascular Health. After diagnosing, treating and confirming that treatments are working, the center's cardiologists refer patients to the Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Center in Oceanside. The center provides the compassionate care, rehabilitation and counseling that patients need to achieve the best possible recovery

The European Commission gives $16M to heart failure consortium

The European Commission gives $16M to heart failure consortiumThe European Commission has awarded a grant of almost $16 million to the Heart Omics in Ageing (HOMAGE) consortium project, which aims to prevent heart failure through identifying more specific biomarkers for heart failure and then developing methods for earlier diagnosis and -omic profile targeted treatment of elderly patients at risk of heart failure. Heart failure incidence is rising worldwide, due both to an aging population and increasing prevalence of risk factors, including obesity, diabetes and hypertension. Diagnosis of heart failure in elderly people with co-morbidities can be difficult, and the HOMAGE consortium, directed by Faiez Zannad, MD, PhD, of the Centre d'Investigation Clinique Pierre Drouin Inserm in Nancy, France, is researching more accurate methods of heart failure diagnosis in these patients through validating potential biomarkers for heart failure. Researchers will identify promising heart failure biomarker candidates in blood and cross-analyze genomics, proteomics and other mechanisms in a cohort of 30,000 patients. HOMAGE will assess the predictive value of the biomarkers for heart failure and other common co-morbidities prevalent in the elderly population. A clinical trial to identify novel treatments for heart failure based on the patient’s biomarker profile is planned

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Obesity crisis risks making Britain 'fat man of Europe', warns report

Obesity crisis risks making Britain 'fat man of Europe', warns reportThe Academy of Medical Royal Colleges is calling for fewer fast food outlets near schools and a complete ban on unhealthy food in hospitals in a report which warns the crisis is at risk of becoming "unresolvable". By 2050 more than half of adults will be seriously overweight and tough measures are needed to prevent the situation spiralling completely out of control, the UK's 220,000 doctors warn. They want action from the Government, National Health Service, councils, food firms, and parents in order to stop "generation after generation falling victim to obesity-related illness and death", according to The Guardian newspaper. Doctors are united in viewing obesity - the consequences of which include diabetes, heart disease and cancer - as the single greatest public health crisis facing the country, the report says. The epidemic means that people are dying needlessly from avoidable diseases, it adds. The report criticises both current and previous governments for "piecemeal and disappointingly ineffective" attempt to deal with the problem, given that one in four adults in England is obese and these figures are set to climb to 60 per cent of men, 50 per cent of women, and 25 per cent of women over the next 37 years. The statistics have made the UK the "fat man of Europe", leading the academy to draw up a 10-point-plan at the end of their year long consultation on the topic

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Thank you....CARG Social Committee

Thank you....CARG Social CommitteeRuth Redden writes: "Thank you to the people in the picture, who have faithfully provided social functions to our organization for many years and have earned their retirement from this division of CARG. Many of these people have been involved in some way or another with almost every social function that CARG has put on over the years it has been in operation. As a result of the retirement of this committee effective December 31, 2012, we are now in need of a new Social Convenor or Co-Convenors. The duties include co-ordinating any social events such as special occasion breakfasts, luncheons, Christmas Party, or any other social events that may be happening. Please see any CARG Executive member or Blake Adamson (Liaison for the Social Committee) for more information"

Research firm finds promise in experimental cholesterol drug (USA)

Research firm finds promise in experimental cholesterol drug (USA) An experimental medicine shows great promise in treating a condition that causes sky-high cholesterol levels among some French Canadians, according to a Maine cardiologist involved in the hot new area of pharmaceutical research. The genetic disorder, called familial hypercholesterolemia or FH, can cause exceedingly high levels of artery-clogging cholesterol, even in children. The condition is more common in people of Native American or French Canadian descent, and has cropped up in the Lewiston-Auburn area, which is home to many Franco Americans. Over the last year, roughly 1,000 people participating in clinical trials for the medicine have seen their LDL cholesterol, or "bad cholesterol," drop significantly with no side effects, said Dr. Robert Weiss, a cardiologist at Auburn-based Maine Research Associates, which is conducting clinical studies on the medicine and has overseen a genetic study on FH. The research participants took the medication, part of a group of medicines known as "PCSK9 inhibitors," along with cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins. The medication could eventually help not only individuals diagnosed with inherited FH, but millions of other people who can't lower their cholesterol sufficiently with statins alone, Weiss said

ADAMTS7 enzyme plays a crucial role in coronary heart disease (UK)

ADAMTS7 enzyme plays a crucial role in coronary heart diseaseScientists investigating how certain genes affect an individual's risk of developing coronary heart disease have identified a new therapeutic target, according to research published today in The American Journal of Human Genetics. They have discovered that an enzyme known as ADAMTS7 plays a crucial role in the build-up of cells in the coronary arteries which lead to coronary heart disease. Coronary heart disease (also known as coronary artery disease) is the nation's biggest killer, with around 94,000 deaths in the UK each year. The condition happens when the blood supply to the heart is blocked by a build-up of fatty deposits - called atherosclerotic plaques - within the walls of one or more of the coronary arteries. Lifestyle factors - including smoking, a bad diet and lack of exercise - contribute to an individual's risk of heart disease, but a number of genes have also been found to play a role. The research was led by Shu Ye, Professor of Molecular Medicine and Genetics at Queen Mary, University of London. Professor Ye said: "Recent studies have identified a number of genetic regions that are associated with coronary heart disease. However, to translate these findings into new therapeutics which could benefit patients, we need to understand how these genetic variants are influencing the disease."

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Merck settles suits over cholesterol drug (USA)

Merck settles suits over cholesterol drug (USA)Merck has agreed to pay $688 million to settle lawsuits claiming that it had harmed investors by delaying the release of unfavorable study results for its cholesterol drug Vytorin, the company announced recently. Merck said it had recorded a $493 million charge to cover the cost of the settlement. Merck earned $6.66 billion in net income last year on revenue of about $47 billion based on generally accepted accounting principles. So that charge is only 7.4 percent of last year’s profits. Investors filed two lawsuits against Merck and Schering-Plough, which jointly sold Vytorin. The suits asserted that the companies had known for nearly two years that a clinical trial of the drug failed to show that it was any better than a statin drug at limiting the buildup of plaque in arteries, but they did not make the results public until 2008

UAE launches initiative to treat poor cardiac patients

UAE launches initiative to treat poor cardiac patients A team of Emirati, Egyptian and French cardiologists have come up with a creative initiative to charge rich cardiac patients for heart surgeries and donate the funds to treat poor patients. Supported by UAE entrepreneurs, the first-of-its-kind humanitarian social and medical mission, a brainchild of a UAE cardiologist, Dr Adel Al Shameri, CEO of International Doctors of Poor People Initiative, aims to pay fees of diagnostic, therapeutic invasive cardiac procedures for the underprivileged heart patients across the world. Dr Abdullah Shehab, a UAE heart consultant and member of the team, said he joined the initiative because it provides an ideal opportunity to serve destitute patients. The project, he said, is creative in terms of programme and self-financing and had achieved significant success at the first trial of operation. The pilot programme of surgeries, he added, had already been running in three countries: UAE, Egypt and Sudan. Well-off cardiac patients are charged for surgeries, according to the fee structure applied in private and public hospitals, to cover the exorbitant costs of treatment of poor patients and low-income people, who are not covered by the insurance system

Friday, February 15, 2013

Million Hearts app targets disease risk factors

Million Hearts app targets disease risk factorsSelf-assessment for heart disease risk is now readily available in a user-friendly format with a mobile app launched by the Million Hearts initiative. Developed by the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, Heart Health Mobile is available through the foundation and iTunes, and will be available in HTML5 responsive design for non-Apple devices in March. The app steers users through a series of questions about weight, height, cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and smoking. Users will be directed to participating pharmacies and retail clinics for cholesterol and blood pressure screenings. At this time Heart Health Mobile screenings are available through CVS Caremark Minute Clinics, and some Walgreen's, H-E-B and Thrifty White stores. By using the app, individuals can learn about the risk factors for heart disease, calculate their risk and share their status with their doctors. The app also allows users to track their progress toward goals such as weight loss, lowering blood pressure and reducing cholesterol levels

Thursday, February 14, 2013

80 percent of heart disease is preventable (USA)

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of U.S. men and women even though almost 80 percent of it is preventable, a Mayo Clinic cardiologists says. Cardiologist Dr. Martha Grogan, medical editor-in-chief of the Mayo Clinic Healthy Heart for Life! said there are several simple tips to reduce heart disease risk. Grogan encouraged people to move 10 extra minutes each day because a sedentary lifestyle may increase the risk of heart attack almost as much as smoking does, recent studies showed. Make an effort each day to get up from the desk to go talk to a colleague instead of sending an email, or walk around the house as you talk on the phone, Grogan recommended. "Moving even 10 minutes a day for someone who's been sedentary may reduce the risk for heart disease by 50 percent," Grogan said in a statement. Americans too often cheat themselves of sleep and their hearts can pay the price, said Dr. Virend Somers, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist and sleep expert. "Sleep is a necessity, like food and water. It's not a luxury," Somers said. Chronic sleep deprivation can increase the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and depression. Dr. Randal Thomas, a Mayo preventive cardiologist said a 53-year-old male smoker with high blood pressure has a 20 percent chance of having a heart attack over the next 10 years. If he stops smoking, his risk drops to 10 percent; if he takes high blood pressure medicine, it falls to 5 percent, Thomas said

Monday, February 11, 2013

Regular walks could keep you on the path to a healthy heart

Regular walks could keep you on the path to a healthy heartTaking regular walks significantly reduces the risk of Metabolic Syndrome, according to researchers. Metabolic Syndrome is a term used to describe a combination of cardiovascular risk factors, including high blood pressure and blood sugar, and excess weight around your middle. Researchers examined the fitness of 38,000 men and women before categorising their fitness levels as either 'low', 'moderate' or 'high'. Those in the 'moderate' category were less likely to suffer from Metabolic Syndrome compared to those in the 'low' group. Doireann Maddock, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: "This study shows that people who have a moderate level of fitness have less chance of developing cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. "We all know how important it is to keep active, but many of us struggle to fit exercise into our daily routine. This research confirms that physical activity doesn't have to mean spending hours in the gym - simple but regular exercise, such as walking, can have real health benefits. "Building up to a brisk 30 minute walk on five days a week will help to raise your fitness levels and keep your heart healthy." This research was published online by the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings

Friday, February 8, 2013

Many boomers face a decade of sickness and disability in their later years (Canada)

Many boomers face a decade of sickness and disability in their later yearsA new Heart and Stroke Foundation poll reveals that Canadian baby boomers plan to grow old with vitality, living full lives. But the reality is many of these boomers may not be healthy enough to see these plans through. Heart disease, stroke and other chronic conditions will cause the average Canadian to live a decade in sickness, disability and immobility later in life. Research shows that there's a 10-year gap between how long Canadians are living and how long they live in good health. Research also shows that through lifestyle choices, we can add health to our years and shrink that 10-year gap. The 2013 Heart and Stroke Foundation's Report on the Health of Canadians looks at what Canadian baby boomers are doing in terms of their health and lifestyle habits, how that may be impacting their 10-year gap, and what they can do about it

British Columbia to add more defibrillators to save lives (Canada)

British Columbia will increase public access to automated external defibrillators to save more lives, the province's health ministry recently said. An AED is a safe, portable device that anyone can use to deliver an electric shock to restart a heart in sudden cardiac arrest. It reads the heart rhythm and only delivers a shock if needed. BC Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid said her ministry will work with the Heart & Stroke Foundation, one of Canada's largest health charities, to provide $2 million for the installation of 450 AEDs in public venues over the next two years. Those venues will include community centers, arenas, recreation centers, playing fields and sports centers. According to the ministry, the current survival rate for an out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest is only about five percent. Evidence shows that survival rates can be raised to 75 percent if a defibrillator is used within five minutes. The province's Ambulance Service will support the AED-installed venues by providing orientation for staff on how to correctly use and maintain the devices. It will also compile a registry linked to the ambulance dispatch information system. When a bystander calls 9-1-1 for an ambulance, the dispatcher will know if an AED is available at the location, and will assist the bystander to use the AED on the cardiac arrest patient

Tough times ahead can tip the scale towards obesity (USA)

Tough times ahead can tip the scale towards obesity (USA)A new study from the University of Miami recently found that a tough economic climate can cause weight gain for individuals. In particular, the researchers discovered that, during hard times, people are more likely to look towards high-calorie foods that will keep them feeling happy over a longer period of time. In addition, they found that, when paired with messages like "live for today," individuals were more impulsive in their actions and consumed almost 40 percent more food than a group who wasn't given a message that was more neutral in tone. On the other hand, when food was paired with a "tough times" message, people appeared to consume around 25 percent less of the food provided. "The findings of this study come at a time when our country is slowly recovering from the onslaught of negative presidential campaign ads chalked with topics such as the weak economy, gun violence, war, deep political divides, just to name a few problem areas," explained Juliano Laran, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Miami School of Business Administration, in a prepared statement. "Now that we know this sort of messaging causes people to seek out more calories out of a survival instinct, it would be wise for those looking to kick off a healthier new year to tune out news for a while." The outcomes of the study were recently featured in the February edition of Psychological Science, a journal affiliated with the Association of Psychological Science

The armchair as a fitness trainer (Germany)

The armchair as a fitness trainer (Germany)Each of us would like to pursue our personal hobbies and interests into old age. However, this depends on us staying fit and healthy. Researchers are now presenting an armchair that brings the gym right into your living room at the push of a button. For years the trends have been clear: not only are we getting older all the time, but we are also increasingly left to take care of ourselves in our old age. This is why researchers are already working on technologies that will assist us in everyday situations later in life. One of these technologies will be presented by the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS in Erlangen (Germany) at the CeBIT trade fair in Hanover, March 2013: an intelligent armchair we can not only comfortably sink into in front of the television but one that also motivates us to keep ourselves healthy and fit. On the outside, GEWOS looks like a conventional armchair. Even when you sit down you don't notice any difference. But first glances can be deceiving. A glimpse inside the armchair reveals sensors, circuit boards and all kinds of wiring. The microsystem technology built into the seat cushions, backrest and armrest constantly measures the state of health of the seated person. "GEWOS measures the key bodily functions and determines the correct sitting posture. If the acquired values deviate from specifications, the system shows the user how he or she can practice improving endurance or sitting in a healthier position," explains Sven Feilner of the Image Processing and Medical Technology Department at IIS

Novel catheter-based treatment for heart failure begins U.S. trial

Novel catheter-based treatment for heart failure begins U.S. trialCardioKinetix, Inc., a medical device company, based in Menlo Park, California, recently announced the start of a major U.S.-based trial for their Parachute™ Ventricular Partitioning Device, the first catheter-based treatment for heart failure. Implanted in a procedure similar to coronary angioplasty and stents, initial smaller trials for the device have shown positive results at two and three years. As a result of this data, the Parachute currently is approved for use in Europe and carries the CE Mark. The PARACHUTE IV Trial expects to enroll 478 patients in the U.S.

Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for obesity research expert (Canada)

Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for obesity research expert (Canada)ParticipACTION, the national voice of physical activity and sport participation in Canada, and the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute have announced that Dr. Mark Tremblay has been awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Governor General of Canada. Medals are awarded to individuals who have distinguished themselves from others through their achievements and sustained contribution to their field. Under Dr. Mark Tremblay's direction, the Healthy Active Living and Obesity research group at the CHEO Research Institute is committed to leading the battle against unhealthy living behaviours. Through research, leadership, partnerships, education and advocacy, HALO aims to promote and preserve healthy active lifestyles while managing and treating childhood inactivity and obesity. Dr. Tremblay, himself, has published more than 170 papers and book chapters on related topics and he has delivered over 500 scholarly conference presentations, including more than 120 invited and keynote addresses across 16 countries. He currently sits on the Board of half a dozen organizations relating to his research practice area

Vanishing stent successfully implanted in Agra hospital (India)

Vanishing stent successfully implanted in Agra hospitalDoctors at a super-speciality hospital in Agra, India, have for the first time successfully implanted a bioresorbable vascular scaffold or vanishing stent into a businessman for coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD develops when the arteries that supply blood to the heart become narrowed or blocked by a build-up of fatty deposits called plaque. As a result, it gets harder for the arteries to supply blood to the heart. BVS or Absorb is the latest advance in CAD therapy. A non-metallic mesh tube is delivered on an angioplasty balloon to treat a narrowed artery, similar to a stent, but it slowly dissolves once the blocked artery can function naturally again and stay open on its own, said senior cardiologist at the Lotus Super Speciality Hospital, Suvir Gupta