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November 5, 2007, 8:56 PM CT

Do Women Fare Worse with Some Heart Devices?

Do Women Fare Worse with Some Heart Devices?
While ICDs-implantable cardioverter defibrillators-are the device of choice to manage abnormal heart rhythms, a new study led by heart specialists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine suggests that women with ICDs fare less well than their male counterparts.

In a retrospective analysis to be presented at the AHA Scientific Sessions 2007 on Sunday, November 4 (Poster #C148; 3 p.m.), lead researcher Andrea Russo, M.D., Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, suggests that despite the proven overall effectiveness of the devices, women had a greater risk of dying than men.

Using data from the completed INTRINSIC RV trial, the scientists compared results from 1237 men and 293 women. (The INTRINSIC RV trial, which was completed in 2006, compared dual- and single-chamber ICDs.)

"There is a paucity of data comparing outcome and arrhythmic events in men vs. women with ICDs," said Dr. Russo, who is also Director of the Electrophysiology Laboratory at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. "We chose the INTRINSIC RV study because it enrolled the largest total number of women.".

The scientists observed that women with ICDs mandatory hospitalization and had a higher mortality than men with the device. However, after adjusting for other factors, such as the presence of coronary artery disease, heart failure and medical therapy, these gender differences in outcome were no longer present.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


November 4, 2007, 9:06 PM CT

Study: Fountain of youth for your heart?

Study: Fountain of youth for your heart?
Image courtesy of Mississippi College
An age-related decline in heart function is a risk factor for heart disease in the elderly. While a number of factors contribute to a progressive age-related decline in heart function, alterations in the types of fuels the heart uses to produce energy also play important roles. Jason Dyck and his research team at the University of Alberta have been studying the types of fuels used by the heart in young and aged mice. The young healthy heart normally used a balance of fat and sugar to generate energy to allow the heart to beat and pump blood efficiently. However, as the heart ages the ability to use fat as an energy source deteriorates. This compromises heart function in the elderly. Interestingly, at a time when the heart is using less fat for energy, Dyck has shown that a protein that is responsible for transporting fat into the contractile cells of the heart actually increases. Based on this finding, Dyck proposed that the mismatch between fat uptake and fat use in the heart could lead to an accumulation of fat in the heart resulting in an age-related decrease in heart function.

Using a genetically engineered mouse that is deficient in a protein that is responsible for transporting fat into the cells of the heart, Dyck studied these mice as they aged. These genetically altered mice have no choice but to mainly use sugar as a fuel source because they lack the protein that allows them to use fat as a primary fuel source. In an exciting new finding, Dyck showed that old genetically modified mice did not accumulate fat in their hearts, as did ordinary mice. In addition, Dyck and his team showed that these old genetically altered mice out-performed ordinary old mice on a treadmill test, were completely protected from age-related decline in heart function, and in a number of ways their hearts looked and performed like hearts from a young mouse. His findings suggest that the protein responsible for transporting fat into the contractile cells of the heart may be a candidate for drug inhibition and that this drug could protect the heart from aging.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


November 4, 2007, 2:43 PM CT

Better, faster heart attack care

Better, faster heart attack care
A North Carolina team of doctors, nurses, hospitals and emergency medical service workers has come up with a way to provide faster, more effective therapy for heart attack patients.

It doesnt require expensive drugs or fancy new equipment. But it does require competitors to become collaborators, and it calls on everyone involved to move therapy forward empowering emergency services personnel in the field to diagnose a heart attack, something only physicians had done before.

Working as partners, rather than as rivals, the team, led by clinicians at Duke University Medical Center, was able to dramatically slash the time from diagnosis to therapy with potentially life-saving therapies, particularly in the area of transfers into and out of smaller, feeder hospitals.

Results of the two-year project, called RACE (Reperfusion of Acute Myocardial Infarction in North Carolina Emergency departments), were presented today at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association.

Heart disease is the number one killer in North Carolina, and this program resulted in patients being treated faster and more effectively with life-saving care, said Dr. Christopher Granger, a heart specialist at Duke University Medical Center and a lead investigator of the project. While several other, smaller, city-wide health systems like Boston and Minneapolis have mounted similar efforts, this is the first to demonstrate dramatic system-wide improvement on a statewide scale. We are so encouraged by the results that we feel the RACE system may be a model for change throughout the rest of the country.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 31, 2007, 7:52 PM CT

complementary therapies after heart surgery

complementary therapies after heart surgery
A new Mayo Clinic study shows that massage treatment decreases pain levels for patients after heart surgery. During a five-month period in 2005, 58 patients undergoing surgery participated in a pilot study to examine the effect of massage on pain after surgery. Of the 30 who received massage, the mean pain scores were less than 1 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 as the most painful.

Before the massage treatment, these patients rated their pain at an average of 3 on a 10-point scale. In the control group of 28, pain levels remained the same over the same period, as per findings reported in the current edition of Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.

As a result of the pilot study, Mayo now has a full-time massage therapist available for patients after heart surgery, and a larger, randomized study is under way.

Mayo Clinic's cardiovascular surgery group began looking at complementary therapies in 2004. "In surveys, we started to hear from patients that tension, stress, pain and anxiety hampered their recovery," says Susanne Cutshall, a registered nurse in Mayo Clinics cardiovascular surgery group and lead author of the study.

A team of nurses, surgeons, anesthesiologists, pharmacists and hospital administrators listened to patients' concerns, searched the literature and visited other hospitals. The result was the Healing Enhancement Program for cardiac surgery patients. It offers massage, music and guided imagery. The program combines evidence-based conventional care and evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), Cutshall says.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 23, 2007, 10:19 PM CT

Mate tea lower cholesterol

Mate tea lower cholesterol
Mate
When a study in her lab showed that mate tea drinkers had experienced a significant increase in the activity of an enzyme that promotes HDL (good) cholesterol while lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, University of Illinois scientist Elvira de Mejia headed for Argentina where mate tea has been grown and taken medicinally for centuries.

She returned with a five-year agreement signed by administrators of La Universidad Nacional de Misiones (UNaM) to cooperate in the study of 84 genotypes of mate tea, both cultivated and wild, never-before-studied, varieties. The arrangement calls for the writing of joint grants and an exchange of students and professors between UNaM and the U of I.

The scientist is also negotiating a grant from the National Institute of Yerba Mate to fund further research, she said.

Our studies show that some of the most important antioxidant enzymes in the body are induced by this herbal tea, said de Mejia of her study in Septembers Planta Medica.

Because Argentina has the different mate varieties, well be able to do more comparisons and characterizations between the different genotypes and the benefits of different growing conditionswhether in sun (on a plantation) or in shade (under the rainforest canopy), she added.

Not only does de Mejia hope to identify the most nutritionally beneficial genotypes of the herbal tea, she hopes that Argentine experience with drying and processing mate will lead to improved extraction of the teas bioactive compounds. Food companies are very interested in adding tea extracts to juices, soda, and even beer to increase the nutritional value of their products, she said.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 17, 2007, 9:12 PM CT

Aspirin: just for men?

Aspirin:  just for men?
First it was an apple, now it is an aspirin a day that may keep the doctor away. Aspirin has become standard for heart attack prevention, but research reported in the online open access journal BMC Medicine suggests that this may really be a man's drug.

Researchers have long puzzled over why the protective effects of aspirin vary so widely between clinical trials. Some trials show no difference between aspirin and placebo, whilst others report that aspirin reduces the risk of a heart attack by more than 50%.

This latest study, from The James Hogg iCAPTURE Centre for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Research, highlights the influence of gender on aspirin's protective powers. Investigators examined the results of 23 previously published clinical trials for the effect for aspirin in heart attack prevention, involving more than 113,000 patients. The authors then analysed how much the ratio of men to women in these trials affected the trials' outcomes.

"Trials that recruited predominantly men demonstrated the largest risk reduction in non-fatal heart attacks," says Dr Don Sin, one of the study's authors. "The trials that contained predominately women failed to demonstrate a significant risk reduction in these non-fatal events. We observed that a lot of the variability in these trials seems to be due to the gender ratios, supporting the theory that women may be less responsive to aspirin than men for heart protection".........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 1, 2007, 5:29 AM CT

Best weight-loss plans for heart health

Best weight-loss plans for heart health
Image courtesy of anti-aging-medicine-rx.com
Over the past three decades, the rising obesity epidemic has been accompanied by a proliferation of weight-loss plans. However, as a new study by scientists from the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) reveals, these weight-loss plans vary significantly in their ability to positively affect heart health.

In A Dietary Quality Comparison of Popular Weight-Loss Plans, reported in the recent issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, several weight-loss plans significantly outperformed others in their ability to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Specifically, the researchers observed that the Ornish, Weight Watchers High Carbohydrate and New Glucose Revolution plans scored highest when measured by the Alternate Healthy Eating Index (AHEI). Proven to be a strong predictor of cardiovascular disease, the AHEI is a measure that isolates dietary components that are most strongly associated with cardiovascular disease risk reduction.

Obviously, obesity is linked to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, said UMMS Assistant Professor of Medicine Yunsheng Ma, PhD, MPH, one of the studys primary authors. Optimal weight-loss plans should facilitate both weight loss and chronic disease prevention, specifically cardiovascular risk reduction.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 18, 2007, 7:49 PM CT

Eating competence may lower risk of heart disease

Eating competence may lower risk of heart disease
People who are confident, comfortable and flexible with their eating habits may be at a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease than people who are not. Scientists at Penn State suggest that a curriculum that helps people understand their eating habits could prove to be an important medical nutrition treatment.

"We wanted to see if people were at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease if they were not eating competent to begin with," said Barbara Lohse, associate professor of nutritional sciences.

Lohse and her colleagues Sheila G. West, associate professor of biobehavioral health, and Tricia L. Psota, graduate student, measured eating competence among 48 men and women aged 21 to 70, who were at risk for cardiovascular disease. Eating competence, as defined by registered dietitian and mental health professional Ellyn Satter, is a nutritional model termed ecSatter that incorporates processes such as awareness of hunger, appetite and eating enjoyment with the body's biological tendency to maintain a preferred and stable weight.

"This population was already at high risk due to high levels of LDL the bad cholesterol and elevated total cholesterol, but did not have any other type of chronic disease," said Lohse.

Based on their responses to a questionnaire on eating competence, and readings of various biological markers of cardiovascular disease, the scientists observed that participants who were not eating competent were five times more likely to have a LDL greater than the cutoff prescribed by the American Heart Association, and seven times more likely to have levels greater than that for triglyceride.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


September 18, 2007, 5:18 AM CT

Personalized Treatment For Nicotine Addiction

Personalized Treatment For Nicotine Addiction
Whether a smoking-cessation drug will enable you to quit smoking may depend on your genes, as per new genotyping research from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). The study, reported in the recent issue of the journal Biological Psychiatry, observed that the enzyme known to metabolize both the smoking cessation drug bupropion and nicotine is highly genetically variable in all ethnicities and influences smoking cessation. This finding is a step toward being able to tailor smoking cessation therapy to individuals based on their unique genetic make-up.

This first study identifies a very common genetic variant (present in anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of world populations) that appears to affect the outcome of smoking cessation therapy, said Rachel Tyndale, Section Head of Pharmacogenetics at CAMH and lead researcher on the study, adding that the results would have to be replicated.

Tyndale and his colleagues performed genotyping on smokers for CYP2B6, a gene known to be highly variable and whose enzyme metabolizes bupropion, nicotine and serotonin. Participants were then provided with either placebo or bupropion therapy for ten weeks and followed up for 6 months.

The research project, supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the National Institute of Health, observed that 45% of individuals with a specific variant of the gene benefited from bupropion therapy and maintained abstinence longer while doing poorly on placebo, with a 32.5% abstinent rate vs. 14.3%, respectively. In contrast, the 55% with a different variant of the gene (wild type variant) had good abstinences rates on placebo and gained no additional benefit from Bupropion, suggesting no benefit from treating these individuals with Bupropion. Of note, this group was able to quit smoking very well in the absence of an active drug (on placebo).........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


September 17, 2007, 5:05 AM CT

Cholesterol heart and estrogen

Cholesterol heart and estrogen
New findings by UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists show that a byproduct of cholesterol metabolism interferes with the beneficial effects estrogen has on the cardiovascular system, providing a better understanding of the interplay between cholesterol and estrogen in heart disease.

The results of the study, available online and in the recent issue of the journal Nature Medicine, also may explain why hormone replacement treatment fails to protect some postmenopausal women from heart disease, said Dr. David Mangelsdorf, chairman of pharmacology and senior author of the paper.

The scientists observed that in rodents, a molecule called 27-hydroxycholesterol, or 27HC, binds to the same receptors in the blood vessels of the heart to which estrogen binds.

The normal result of this estrogen binding is that blood vessel walls remain elastic and dilated, and damage to the vasculature is repaired, among other heart-protective effects. Other research has shown that postmenopausal women who no longer produce estrogen lose this protective action and become more susceptible to heart disease.

Based on their animal studies and other experiments, the UT Southwestern scientists determined that when estrogen levels dropped relative to the amount of 27HC circulating in the blood, 27HC reacted and bound to the estrogen receptors in the cardiovascular system and blocked their protective function, primarily by inhibiting the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide mediates smooth muscle relaxation in blood vessels, aids cell growth and repair, and prevents thrombosis. Reduced levels of nitric oxide in blood vessels has been linked with high cholesterol and diabetes.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source



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Heart disease
About 13 million Americans (about 7 percent of the total population) suffer from coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death in American men and women amounting a staggering 20 percent of all causes of death. About half of all deaths related to cardiovascular diseases occur from coronary artery disease. Through this heart watch blog we will have our humble contribution towards making men and women aware of the risks of heart diseases.

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