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November 30, 2010, 7:54 AM CT

Screening tool to identify heart disease

Screening tool to identify heart disease

In a study being presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), scientists say they may have an explanation as to why African Americans, despite having lower amounts of coronary artery calcification, are at increased risk for heart attacks and other cardiovascular events compared with Caucasians.

The answer, as per scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston, S.C., appears to be increased levels of non-calcified plaque, which consists of buildups of soft deposits deep in the walls of the arteries that are not detected by some cardiac tests. Non-calcified plaque is more vulnerable to rupturing and causing a blood clot, which could lead to a heart attack or other cardiovascular event.

"The African Americans and Caucasians we studied had approximately the same amount of plaque in their arteries, but different kinds of plaque," said John W. Nance Jr., M.D., researcher in the Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences at MUSC.

Calcium scoring with CT is a common screening tool for patients at risk for cardiovascular disease, because increased calcification in the coronary arteries correlates with a greater risk for a heart attack or other cardiovascular event. However, calcium scoring does not detect non-calcified plaque.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 15, 2010, 6:59 AM CT

Fats galore in human plasma

Fats galore in human plasma
Edward A. Dennis of University of California, San Diego.

Credit: UC San Diego

Human blood is famously fraught with fats; now scientists have a specific idea of just how numerous and diverse these lipids actually are. A national research team, led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, has created the first "lipidome" of human plasma, identifying and quantifying almost 600 distinct fat species circulating in human blood.

"Everybody knows about blood lipids like cholesterol and triglycerides," said Edward A. Dennis, PhD, distinguished professor of pharmacology, chemistry and biochemistry at UC San Diego and principal investigator of LIPID MAPS, a national consortium studying the structure and function of lipids. "For the first time, we've identified and measured hundreds more and ultimately we might discover thousands. These numbers and their remarkable diversity illustrate that lipids have key, specific functions, most of which we do still not recognize or understand. This lipidome is a first step towards being able to investigate correlations between specific fat molecules and disease and developing new therapys."

The findings would be reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Lipid Research

In recent years, researchers have begun to appreciate the greater, more complex roles of lipids in human biology (among them the emergence of vitamin D). The utility of lipids in building cell membranes is well known, as is their function as repositories of stored energy. Less well-understood, however, is their role as signaling molecules.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 14, 2010, 7:30 AM CT

Watermelon lowers blood pressure

Watermelon lowers blood pressure
No matter how you slice it, watermelon has a lot going for it sweet, low calorie, high fiber, nutrient rich and now, there's more. Evidence from a pilot study led by food researchers at The Florida State University suggests that watermelon can be an effective natural weapon against prehypertension, a precursor to cardiovascular disease.

It is the first investigation of its kind in humans. FSU Assistant Professor Arturo Figueroa and Professor Bahram H. Arjmandi observed that when six grams of the amino acid L-citrulline/L-arginine from watermelon extract was administered daily for six weeks, there was improved arterial function and consequently lowered aortic blood pressure in all nine of their prehypertensive subjects (four men and five postmenopausal women, ages 51-57).

"We are the first to document improved aortic hemodynamics in prehypertensive but otherwise healthy middle-aged men and women receiving therapeutic doses of watermelon," Figueroa said. "These findings suggest that this 'functional food' has a vasodilatory effect, and one that may prevent prehigh blood pressure from progressing to full-blown hypertension, a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.

"Given the encouraging evidence generated by this preliminary study, we hope to continue the research and include a much larger group of participants in the next round," he said.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 31, 2008, 5:08 AM CT

Can your doctor correctly read a critical heart test?

Can your doctor correctly read a critical heart test?
You have a burning chest pain and a doctor looks at a squiggly-lined graph to determine the cause. That graph, an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), can help the doctor decide whether you're having a heart attack or an acid attack from last night's spaghetti. Correct interpretation may prompt life-saving, emergency measures; incorrect interpretation may delay care with life-threatening consequences. Currently, there is no uniform way to teach doctors in training how to interpret an ECG or assess their competence in the interpretation.

To address the lack of uniformity, a team of physicians from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the American College of Cardiology has developed the first Web-based training and examination program for reading ECGs. It is an interactive computer program to teach and assess the competence of doctors in training. Details of the new tool will be revealed on October 31, 2008, during the annual meeting of the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine, in Orlando.

"We hope this tool helps increase expertise among general practitioners in the interpretation of a very usually used screening test that's part of nearly every adult.

examination," says team leader R. Michael Benitez, M.D., associate professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore and director of the Cardiovascular Fellowship Training Program. "There is no mechanism now for establishing competency among internists or family physicians or for an interim analysis of how a trainee is performing," says Dr. Benitez, who is also a heart specialist at the University of Maryland Medical Center.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


December 25, 2007, 11:12 PM CT

Health coverage reduces major heart complications

Health coverage reduces major heart complications
As presidential candidates ramp up their primary campaigns, health care reform looms prominently among voters main concerns.

A new study in the December 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA, provides the most comprehensive evidence to date that expanding coverage to people without it leads to demonstrable improvements in health.

This study provides good evidence about how health improves when people gain affordable health insurance coverage, says Dr. John Ayanian, senior author and Professor of Health Care Policy and Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Womens Hospital. For every 100 uninsured people with heart disease or diabetes before age 65, we observed that with Medicare coverage they had 10 fewer major cardiac complications, such as heart attacks or heart failure, than expected by age 72, he adds.

The study was funded by The Commonwealth Fund.

In order to provide a macro-view on the health effects of gaining insurance coverage, Ayanian, lead author Dr. J. Michael McWilliams, a research associate in Harvard Medical Schools Department of Health Care Policy and Brigham and Womens Hospital, and Harvard colleagues assessed data from the Health and Retirement Study, an ongoing longitudinal survey of aging Americans sponsored by the National Institute on Aging.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


November 12, 2007, 9:41 PM CT

Anti-smoking strategy targets fourth-graders

Anti-smoking strategy targets fourth-graders
A smoking-prevention strategy that targets black fourth-graders and their parents is under study in urban and rural Georgia.

Scientists want to know if they can keep these children from smoking and help smoking parents quit, as per Dr. Martha S. Tingen, nurse researcher at the Medical College of Georgia's Georgia Prevention Institute, and Interim Program Leader for Cancer Prevention and Control, MCG Cancer Center.

Dr. Tingen is principal investigator on a $2.5 million National Cancer Institute grant to determine if this novel strategy of concurrent intervention in the classroom and at home reduces smoking and related disability and death in blacks. Blacks tend to have higher rates of second-hand smoke exposure and more adverse health effects than whites.

"Every day in Georgia, 84 kids between 10 to 13 years of age start smoking cigarettes," says Dr. Tingen.

"Ninety percent of all smokers start before they are out of high school. If we can help keep kids from smoking before they get out of high school, they probably won't ever start. I am hoping the fourth graders haven't started smoking, but I am thinking a lot of them still are exposed to tobacco use and second-hand smoke in the home".

Scientists are enrolling 350 students and their parents or guardians in 16 elementary schools in Augusta, Ga., and rural Jefferson County, Ga., about 60 miles away. During the fourth and fifth grades, half the children will get two intense learning sessions per week over four weeks of Life Skills Training, developed by Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin, director of the Institute for Prevention Research at Cornell University Medical College.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 15, 2007, 11:21 PM CT

Screening men over 65 for abdominal aortic aneurysms

Screening men over 65 for abdominal aortic aneurysms
Between 5% and 10% of men aged 65 to 79 have abdominal aortic aneurysms, but don't know it. If their weakened arteries burst they stand a very high risk of dying. Ultrasound screening of men in this age group can significantly reduce the numbers of men who die from this condition. The overall benefits of screening are complex, however, because a number of men may be subjected to unnecessary anxiety and/or to the complications of surgery.

An aneurysm is a localised widening of an artery. It occurs because the artery wall is weakened and without therapy it could easily burst. If the aneurysm is in the aorta, the main artery that carries blood through the abdomen, the result often can be fatal. Doctors think that any abdominal aortic aneurysm that is greater than 5cm is at a high risk of bursting.

To see whether a program of ultrasound screening could detect these aneurysms before they burst, and save lives as a result, Cochrane Scientists performed a systematic review of screening trials. They identified four controlled trials that were conducted in the UK, Denmark and Australia, and involved a total of 127,891 men and 9,342 women.

The results showed that men aged 65-79 could benefit from screening, but there were insufficient data on women (whose risk of death from ruptured aortic aneurysm is much lower than the risk in men) to ascertain effectiveness in women.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 27, 2007, 9:51 PM CT

Gene Test After Heart Transplant

Gene Test After Heart Transplant
New research suggests a genomic test may provide detailed information on how well a transplanted heart is performing. The gene expression profiling (GEP) test, known as the Allomap® test, is currently used to detect the absence of heart transplant rejection instead of routine invasive heart muscle biopsies, but has now been shown to correlate with oxygen saturation levels, the pressure in the heart before pumping, and the electrical properties of the transplanted heart. These measures are crucial to understanding how well the transplanted heart is functioning.

The research will be presented on Tues., March 27, at the American College of Cardiology's 56th Annual Scientific Session in New Orleans by Martin Cadeiras, M.D., postdoctoral research fellow in the lab of Mario Deng, M.D., director of cardiac transplantation research and associate professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and cardiologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. The presentation is based on preliminary data on 80 patients who received the GEP test. Physicians hope to confirm these results in future studies.

"Understanding how the GEP score differentiates heart transplant function may provide a valuable tool to help tailor therapies to meet the specific needs of each heart transplant patient," said Dr. Deng.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 25, 2007, 8:46 PM CT

Issues In Pediatric Cardiology

Issues In Pediatric Cardiology
Heart problems in children are quite different from those in adults, and four studies presented today at the American College of Cardiologys 56th Annual Scientific Session look at how pediatric heart specialists take different approaches to better understand and manage cardiovascular disease in this population, including insights into fundamental cardiac mechanisms and testing of new procedures. ACC.07 is the premier cardiovascular medical meeting, bringing together heart specialists and cardiovascular specialists to further breakthroughs in cardiovascular medicine.

"Congenital heart disease is one of the most common birth defects seen in the United States today, and it is important we continue supporting research that will improve the diagnosis and therapy of infants, children and young adults with these problems, said Roberta Williams, M.D., of the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. These studies show how a better understanding of new technologies can save lives and establish a better quality of life for children living with cardiovascular disorders.

Long-term Follow-up of Stents Placed in Infants with Congenital Heart Disease (Presentation Number 1017-27).

Stents have been credited with saving thousands of lives by treating blocked coronary arteries. While the implantation of balloon-expandable stents in infants has been shown to be technically feasible, there is essentially no long-term data showing that this therapy remains effective as an infant grows. In order to determine the benefits of stent implantation in infants, scientists from Miami Childrens Hospital in Florida conducted a retrospective analysis on the earliest consecutive series of infants who underwent stent placement between October 1995 and December 1999.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 12, 2007, 8:53 PM CT

Adult Stem Cells For Heart Damage Repair

Adult Stem Cells For Heart Damage Repair
The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health is among the first medical centers in the country taking part in a novel clinical trial investigating if a subject's own stem cells can treat a form of severe coronary artery disease.

The trial, just underway at UW Hospital and Clinics, is enrolling subjects in the Autologous Cellular Therapy CD34-Chronic Myocardial Ischemia (ACT34-CMI) Trial. The first patient underwent the procedure March 7. Because the study is randomized and "double-blinded," however, neither the patient nor the research doctor knows if he received his own stem cells or a placebo substance.

This trial is the first human Phase II adult stem cell therapy study in the U.S. Its goal is to investigate the efficacy, tolerability, and safety of blood-derived selected stem cells to improve symptoms and clinical outcomes in patients with chronic myocardial ischemia (CMI), a severe form of coronary artery disease.

Myocardial ischemia, which affects hundreds of thousands of people, is a serious heart condition that involves narrowing of coronary arteries and results in limited blood flow to the heart. A person who suffers from chronic myocardial ischemia continues to experience insufficient flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart despite optimum medical intervention.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


February 2, 2007, 5:05 AM CT

Stem Cells to Repair Damaged Hearts

Stem Cells to Repair Damaged Hearts
Rush University Medical Center is one of the first medical centers in the country, and currently the only site in Illinois, participating in a novel clinical trial to determine if a subject's own stem cells can treat a form of severe coronary artery disease.

The Autologous Cellular Therapy CD34-Chronic Myocardial Ischemia (ACT34-CMI) Trial is the first human, Phase II adult stem cell treatment study in the U.S. designed to investigate the efficacy, tolerability, and safety of blood-derived selected CD34+ stem cells to improve symptoms and clinical outcomes in subjects with chronic myocardial ischemia (CMI), a severe form of coronary artery disease.

"What we're hoping is that these stem cells will be able to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels to bring more blood and oxygen to the heart muscle, so that these patients will have a better quality of life and less chest pain," said Dr. Gary Schaer, director of the Rush Cardiac Catheterization Lab and study investigator.

Myocardial ischemia is a serious heart condition that involves narrowing of coronary arteries and results in limited blood flow to the heart. The disease affects hundreds of thousands of new people each year. A person who suffers from chronic myocardial ischemia continues to experience insufficient flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart despite optimum medical intervention.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


December 7, 2006, 9:47 PM CT

Growing Heart Muscle

Growing Heart Muscle A length of bioengineered heart muscle, or BEHM, grown at the University of Michigan
Credit: Ravi Birla, University of Michiga
It looks, contracts and responds almost like natural heart muscle - even though it was grown in the lab. And it brings researchers another step closer to the goal of creating replacement parts for damaged human hearts, or eventually growing an entirely new heart from just a spoonful of loose heart cells.

This week, University of Michigan scientists are reporting significant progress in growing bioengineered heart muscle, or BEHM, with organized cells, capable of generating pulsating forces and reacting to stimulation more like real muscle than ever before.

The three-dimensional tissue was grown using an innovative technique that is faster than others that have been tried in recent years, but still yields tissue with significantly better properties. The approach uses a fibrin gel to support rat cardiac cells temporarily, before the fibrin breaks down as the cells organize into tissue.

The U-M team details its achievement in a new paper published online in the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A.

And while BEHM is still years away from use as a human heart therapy, or as a testing ground for new cardiovascular drugs, the U-M scientists say their results should help accelerate progress toward those goals. U-M is applying for patent protection on the development and is actively looking for a corporate partner to help bring the technology to market.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


November 29, 2006, 4:34 AM CT

The impact of immunosuppressive medications

The impact of immunosuppressive medications
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. As per extensive evidence, the key driver for this increased risk of cardiovascular disease is the increased systemic inflammation characteristic of RA. Studies are less clear on whether medications that work to reduce RA's inflammatory symptoms provide protective benefits against cardiovascular events. Some data have suggested that the most potential biologic therapies, such as the TNF blockers, might reduce the risk of ischemic cardiovascular events.

To investigate, scientists at Harvard Medical School's Brigham and Women's Hospital compared the effects of a variety of immunosuppressive agents on cardiovascular events in a large sample of RA patients. Based on their findings, featured in the December 2006 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/arthritis), TNF blockers were not linked to either a reduction or an increase in the risk of heart attack or stroke compared with the most usually used RA therapy, methotrexate. While certain anti-inflammatory drugs appeared to exacerbate the risk of heart attack and stroke for RA patients, especially among older women.

Drawing on a database of Medicare patients receiving a drug benefit from the state of Pennsylvania, the scientists identified 946 individuals who had been diagnosed with RA, prescribed an immunosuppressive agent, and hospitalized for either heart attack or stroke within a six-year period. These patients were defined as case subjects for studying the role of anti-inflammatory RA therapies in the risk of cardiovascular disease. Each case subject was matched by age and gender to ten controls. The controls, a total of 9,460 RA patients, did not experience cardiovascular events during the delineated period. All the subjects were over age 65 and most were female and white.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


November 16, 2006, 9:17 PM CT

Personality Traits And Heart Disease

Personality Traits And Heart Disease
Frequent bouts of depression, anxiety, hostility and anger are known to increase a person's risk for developing coronary heart disease, but a combination of these "negative" personality traits may put people at particularly serious risk, as per a research studyby scientists at Duke University Medical Center.

"The risk of developing coronary heart disease due to a combination of negative personality traits in people has never before been explored," said the study's senior investigator, Edward C. Suarez, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychiatry. "Eventhough each of the negative traits significantly predicted heart disease, having the combination of these traits was the most powerful predictor of heart disease."

Similar patterns have been reported with three traditional risk factors of heart disease -- high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels and excessive weight -- where each factor independently increases risk but their presence together predicts a greater risk of future heart disease, Suarez said.

The findings are published in an early online edition of the November/December 2006 issue of the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The team analyzed data on 2,105 military veterans who served in the Vietnam War and took part in the U.S. Air Force Health Study, in which scientists tracked the health of participants for 20 years. None of the men enrolled had heart disease when the study began.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


November 3, 2006, 4:57 AM CT

Heart Catheters Do Not Benefit Patients

Heart Catheters Do Not Benefit Patients Pulmonary artery catheter
Doctors should probably stop using pulmonary artery catheters because they do not benefit patients, say doctors from Australia in this week's BMJ.

The pulmonary artery catheter was invented in 1968. It enabled bedside monitoring in critically ill patients by measuring heart output and capillary pressure in the lungs and became widely used in intensive care units.

But reports of serious complications soon appeared and arguments for and against its use have continued ever since.

The most recent evaluation, commissioned by the NHS Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme, observed that pulmonary artery catheters do not benefit patients and concluded that withdrawing them from UK intensive care units would be cost effective.

Another recent trial in patients with acute lung injury confirmed these findings, while an analysis of 13 trials reported no overall effect of using these devices on mortality or length of hospital stay.

So what should clinicians do with all this information?

Given that the use of pulmonary artery catheters increases the risk of important complications, continued use of these devices is difficult to defend, say the authors.

The onus is now on the proponents of the pulmonary artery catheter and related devices to limit their use to clinical trials and to show that protocols based on such devices do benefit patients, they conclude.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


October 6, 2006, 4:48 AM CT

Babies With Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension

Babies With Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension Dr. Stephen M. Black
If he can figure out which babies will be born unable to breathe properly, Dr. Stephen M. Black thinks he can help change that.

"When these kids are born, you have a short amount of time to intervene or you get brain damage," says Dr. Black, cell and molecular physiologist at the Medical College of Georgia Vascular Biology Center.

Unfortunately, persistent pulmonary high blood pressure comes as a surprise in full-term babies, says Dr. Jatinder J.S. Bhatia, chief of the MCG Section of Neonatology. The pregnancy seems uneventful until the hours following birth when breathing trouble requires rapid transport to a neonatal intensive care unit.

"What happens in utero is that all your gas exchange is through the placenta, so there is only about 8 percent of cardiac output actually going through the lungs," says Dr. Black. "When you are born, obviously there is 100 cardiac output and you need to breathe".

When babies can't breathe well, physicians quickly determine whether the primary problem is the heart or lungs, Dr. Bhatia says. When it's the lungs, babies first get oxygen treatment and possibly mechanical ventilation. If it is pulmonary hypertension, the powerful vasodilator, nitric oxide, is used to reduce high pressures in the pulmonary circuit and allow the transition to a normal circulation. Neonatologists also have begun using the popular erectile dysfunction drug, Viagra, to dilate tiny pulmonary vessels.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


September 9, 2006, 5:56 AM CT

Women At Higher Risk Of Heart Disease

Women At Higher Risk Of Heart Disease
We all assume that older men are at a higher risk of heat disease and heart attacks compared to older women. It seems that we need to rethink this model. A surprising new study finds that women in their 60s have as a number of risk factors for heart disease as men, and by their 70s have more, as per research led by demographers at the University of Southern California.

The findings, reported in the current issue of the Journal of Women's Health, reflect a change from prior decades when older men were at greater risk for heart disease. Instead this research shows over the last 10 years, older women are doing worse, while men are doing better.

Women's risk for heart disease is still lower than men's through middle age. But the break-even point at which women catch up to men is now at age 60, 10 years earlier than before.

"Women are no longer protected from heart disease risk relative to men," said Eileen Crimmins, corresponding author and professor in USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. "Reports indicating that men are more likely to have more high-risk levels of blood pressure and cholesterol are no longer true in the U.S. population over 60 years of age".

Crimmins and her colleagues examined changes between 1988 and 2002 in indicators correlation to cardiovascular disease. The research team used data on men and women 40 and older from two broadly representative samples of the US population, approximately 10 years apart.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


August 8, 2006, 0:11 AM CT

more effective smoking cessation

more effective smoking cessation
Results of a new imaging study, supported in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, show that the nicotine received in just a few puffs of a cigarette can exert a force powerful enough to drive an individual to continue smoking. Scientists observed that the amount of nicotine contained in just one puff of a cigarette can occupy about 30 percent of the brain's most common type of nicotine receptors, while three puffs of a cigarette can occupy about 70 percent of these receptors. When nearly all of the receptors are occupied (as a result of smoking at least 2 and one-half cigarettes), the smoker becomes satiated, or satisfied, for a time. Soon, however, this level of satiation wears off, driving the smoker to continue smoking throughout the day to satisfy cigarette cravings.

"Imaging studies such as this can add immensely to our understanding of addiction and drug abuse," says Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., Director of the National Institutes of Health. "These findings suggest that drug therapies or vaccines for smoking cessation need to be extremely potent to compete with nicotine, which binds so readily to these receptors."

The study is reported in the August 2006 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

"This study illustrates the powerfully addictive impact of even small amounts of nicotine. Every time a smoker draws a puff from a cigarette, they inhale numerous toxic chemicals that promote the formation of lung cancer, and contribute in a significant way to death and disability worldwide," says NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. "Eventhough a number of smokers endorse a desire to quit, very few are able to do so on their own, and fewer than half are able to quit long-term even with comprehensive therapy. This study helps explain why".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


July 28, 2006, 10:34 PM CT

Pigeons provide clues

Pigeons provide clues
Through studying pigeons with genetic heart disease, scientists at Wake Forest University School of Medicine have discovered a clue about why some patients' heart vessels are prone to close back up after angioplasty.

"We identified a regulator of genes that controls the growth of artery smooth muscle cells," said William Wagner, Ph.D., senior researcher. "Learning to modulate the uncontrolled growth of these cells could potentially solve the problem of vessels re-closing after angioplasty".

The work is published in the recent issue of Experimental and Molecular Pathology.

Angioplasty uses a balloon-like device to crush the material blocking an artery. But, within three to six months, even if a stent is placed in the artery to keep it open, the vessel becomes re-blocked in about 25 percent to 30 percent of patients. This process, known as restenosis, has been described as "over exuberant" tissue healing and involves the smooth muscle cells. It is not known why this happens in some people and not in others, but a number of researchers think that genes are to blame, Wagner said.

The scientists sought to find the answer in two breeds of pigeons one that is genetically susceptible to heart attacks and heart vessel disease (white carneau) and one (show racer) that is resistant. A major difference between the two breeds is that smooth muscle cells from the heart vessels of white carneau pigeons are prone to uncontrolled growth.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


July 28, 2006, 9:30 PM CT

Nanotechnology And Atherosclerosis

Nanotechnology And Atherosclerosis These before (left) and after images show the effects of fumagillin-laden nanoparticles, which inhibit the growth of plaque-feeding microvessels, in a rabbit aorta.
In laboratory tests, one very low dose of a drug was enough to show an effect on notoriously tenacious artery-clogging plaques. What kind of drug is that potent?.

It's not so much the drug itself as how it was delivered. Fumagillin - a drug that can inhibit the growth of new blood vessels that feed atherosclerotic plaques - was sent directly to the base of plaques by microscopically small spheres called nanoparticles developed by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

"Previously we reported that we can visualize plaques using our nanoparticle technology, but this is the first time we've demonstrated that the nanoparticles can also deliver a drug to a disease site in a living organism," says Patrick Winter, Ph.D., research assistant professor of medicine. "After a single dose in laboratory rabbits, fumagillin nanoparticles markedly reduced the growth of new blood vessels that feed plaques."

The scientists report their findings in the recent issue of the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, and the article is now available on line.

An atherosclerosis plaque results when a buildup of cholesterol, inflammatory cells and fibrous tissue forms inside an artery. If a plaque ruptures, it can block blood flow to the heart or brain, causing heart attack or stroke.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


July 12, 2006, 11:19 PM CT

Living Alone Doubles The Risk Of Serious Heart Disease

Living Alone Doubles The Risk Of Serious Heart Disease
People who live alone double their risk of serious heart disease as those who live with a partner, suggests research in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. This includes severe angina and heart attack.

The finding is based on a study of more than 138,000 adults between the ages of 30 and 69 living in one area (Aarhus) of Denmark.

Between 2000 and 2002, 646 people were diagnosed with severe angina, or sustained a heart attack, or sudden cardiac death, a spectrum of conditions known as acute coronary syndrome.

When analysed in detail, using information from population registers, poor educational attainment and living on a pension were linked to an increased risk of the syndrome.

But the two strongest predictive factors for the syndrome were age and living alone.

Women above the age of 60 and living by themselves, and men over the age of 50, in the same position, were twice as likely to have the syndrome as everyone else.

Lone women over 60 comprised just over 5 per cent, and lone men over 50 just under 8 per cent, of the whole population.

Yet lone women in this age group accounted for a third of all deaths from the syndrome within 30 days of diagnosis, while lone men in this age group accounted for two thirds of deaths.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


June 26, 2006, 7:02 PM CT

Heart Implant Patients' Anxiety

Heart Implant Patients' Anxiety
Implantable heart devices are the therapy of choice for patients with potentially life-threatening irregular heartbeats. But the thought of receiving a high-energy shock to restore normal cardiac rhythm can strike fear in their hearts nonetheless.

Just ask Ed Burns, of Ocala, who received an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, or ICD, five years ago. The uncertainty of when or if the device would fire made him wary of driving long distances. Before setting out on a road trip to California to visit family, Burns researched and made a list of every medical center along the route that could treat ICD patients.

Now a new tool from the University of Florida can help health-care providers identify which patients may need psychological services to cope with anxiety. It's called the Florida Shock Anxiety Scale, and UF scientists report on its effectiveness in the current issue of Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology.

The research was done as part of a continuing series of investigations on ICD recipients' psychological health led by Samuel Sears, Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of clinical and health psychology at the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions, and Jamie Conti, M.D., an associate professor in the College of Medicine.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


June 20, 2006, 11:59 PM CT

Children Of Diabetics Show Signs Of Atherosclerosis

Children Of Diabetics Show Signs Of Atherosclerosis
The blood vessels of people whose parents both have type 2 diabetes do not respond as well to changes in blood flow as those of people without a family history of diabetes, even if they do not have diabetes themselves, as per a new study in the June 20, 2006, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

"We find that offspring of type 2 diabetic parents have endothelial dysfunction, even when they do not have diabetes. If early therapy can prevent progression of atherosclerosis, then identifying groups of persons at risk for diabetes in whom early atherosclerosis may be present is clinically important," said Allison B. Goldfine, M.D. from the Joslin Diabetes Center and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

None of the 38 adults (mid- to late-30s) in this study had diabetes, but half of them were the offspring of two diabetic parents. The scientists restricted blood flow in the arms of the participants using a blood pressure cuff. Then, using ultrasound, they compared how blood vessels in the arms of participants responded to the surge in blood flow when the cuff was released. Blood vessel responsiveness was impaired in all 19 participants (9 men and 10 women) whose parents had diabetes.

Diabetes is a leading cause of heart disease. Other studies have linked higher blood sugar levels to impaired responsiveness of the lining of blood vessels (endothelial dysfunction); but this is the first study to demonstrate that even when blood sugar is below the diabetic range, modest increases in blood sugar can contribute to endothelial dysfunction. Endothelial dysfunction in this population shows a predisposition to atherosclerosis.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


June 19, 2006, 9:23 PM CT

Suggest your News Item To Medicineworld

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Did you know?
An advanced study launched at Yale School of Medicine is evaluating the role of statin therapy in patients with heart failure, one of the leading causes of hospitalization in people over age 65.While statins-drugs that inhibit cholesterol production in the liver-are used primarily to lower cholesterol levels, there is evidence that these drugs may also have beneficial effects on blood vessel function independent of cholesterol levels. Heart failure patients are known to have vascular dysfunction, but are impaired and not routinely considered for statin therapy. The Yale trial, "Short Term Effects of Statin on Vascular Function in Heart Failure," will assess vascular function before and after a short course of statin therapy in heart failure patients with normal cholesterol levels. The randomized trial will include 30 patients with mild to moderate chronic heart failure.

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