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August 21, 2006, 9:56 PM CT

Cost Of Treating Chest Pain In The Average Woman

Cost Of Treating Chest Pain In The Average Woman
Treating chest pain linked to coronary artery disease (CAD) could cost a woman more than $1 million during her lifetime; and even the chest pain linked to mild artery blockage (nonobstructive CAD) could reach $750,000 for an average woman, as per a research studypublished in Circulation.

Chest pain symptoms may be the most important driver of women's cardiovascular healthcare costs, said lead study author Leslee J. Shaw, Ph.D.

"Lifetime healthcare costs can reach $1 million for each woman with heart disease in this country," she said. "The societal burden for coronary artery disease for women with chest pain is expensive and could be responsible for a sizeable portion of U.S. healthcare costs".

Scientists investigated the economic burden of cardiac symptoms on women. Shaw and researchers from the Women's Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation (WISE) study evaluated data on 883 women who had been referred for coronary angiography and compared data on their health, finances and quality of life for at least five years. Coronary angiography is a specialized X-ray examination of the coronary arteries and is one of the most frequently preformed procedures in women.

Scientists observed that 62 percent of women studied had nonobstructive coronary artery disease defined as blockage less than 50 percent of the artery. Seventeen percent had one coronary artery vessel blocked or narrowed, 11 percent had two vessels narrowed and 10 percent had three vessels affected.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


August 17, 2006, 11:36 PM CT

All Tobacco Bad For The Heart

All Tobacco Bad For The Heart
A major Canadian-led global study has observed all forms of tobacco exposure, whether that be smoking, chewing or inhaling second hand smoke, increase the risk of heart attack.

The study by professors Salim Yusuf and Koon Teo of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences in Hamilton, is published in this week's issue of The Lancet.

In collaboration with colleagues from 52 countries, they calculated the risk of heart attack for various forms of active tobacco use (both smoking and non-smoking) and second hand smoking in all areas of the world. The INTERHEART study included data from more than 27,000 people in 52 countries. In their calculations, the researchers accounted for other lifestyle factors that could affect the heart attack risk, such as diet and age.

They observed that tobacco use in any form, including sheesha smoking popular in the Middle East and beedie smoking common in South Asia, was harmful. In comparison to people who had never smoked, smokers had a three-fold increased risk of a heart attack. Even those with relatively low levels of exposure of eight to 10 cigarettes a day doubled their risk of heart attack. Each cigarette smoked per day, increased the risk by 5.6 per cent.

However, the scientists did find that the risk of heart attack decreased with time after stopping smoking. Light smokers, those who consume fewer than 10 cigarettes a day, benefit the most. They have no excess risk three to five years after quitting. By contrast, moderate and heavy smokers of 20 or more cigarettes a day still had an excess risk of around 22 per cent, 20 years after quitting.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


August 10, 2006, 7:01 AM CT

Never marrieds has highest risk of early death

Never marrieds has highest risk of early death
People who never marry have the greatest chance of an earlier death, reveals a study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

The findings are based on national census and death certification data, involving almost 67,000 adults in the USA between 1989 and 1997.

In 1989, almost one in two of the sample were married, and almost one in 10 were widowed. Around 12% were divorced and 3% were separated. Of the remainder, 5% were cohabiting, and one in five had never been married.

Unsurprisingly, older age and poor health were the strongest predictors of death by 1997, but a surviving marriage was also strongly linked to a longer life.

After taking into account age, state of health, and several other factors likely to influence the findings, those who had been widowed were almost 40% more likely to die between 1989 and 1997. Those who had been divorced or separated were 27% more likely to have done so.

But those who had never been married were 58% more likely to have died during this period than their peers who were married and living with their spouse in 1989.

The never married "penalty" was larger for those in very good or excellent health, and smallest for those in poor health, and it was greater among men than women.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


August 8, 2006, 8:37 PM CT

High Blood Pressure Induces Low Fat Metabolism

High Blood Pressure Induces Low Fat Metabolism Echocardiograms show that the thickness of left ventricular (LV) walls in the hypertrophied heart (left) are nearly twice that of the normal heart.
"The heart is the single most energy-consuming organ per weight in the body," says Lisa de las Fuentes, M.D.

Under some conditions this energy-hungry organ is prone to defects in its energy metabolism that contribute to heart disease, as per research published in a recent issue of the Journal of Nuclear Cardiology by de las Fuentes and his colleagues at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Earlier research led by de las Fuentes' colleague Robert J. Gropler, M.D., showed that heart muscle in people with diabetes is overly dependent on fat for energy. Even though fat is an efficient fuel, burning it for energy creates an uncommonly high demand for oxygen, making the diabetic heart more sensitive to the drops in oxygen levels that occur with coronary artery blockage.

Gropler is director of the Cardiovascular Imaging Laboratory at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at the School of Medicine and professor of radiology, medicine and biomedical engineering.

Now this group of Washington University scientists has shown that hearts of non-diabetics with muscle thickening due to hypertension have an energy metabolism skewed in the opposite direction - away from the use of fat for energy.

"Whereas Dr. Gropler observed that a high level of fatty acid metabolism could be detrimental, we show that a low level may also be harmful," says de las Fuentes, co-director of the Cardiovascular Imaging and Clinical Research Core Laboratory and assistant professor of medicine. "These findings aren't contradictory. The heart has to be able to choose the energy source, either fats or glucose, most appropriate for its current energy needs and the availability of fuel."........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


August 2, 2006, 11:53 PM CT

Key Fat And Cholesterol Cell Regulator

Key Fat And Cholesterol Cell Regulator
Boston, MA -- Scientists at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital have identified how a molecular switch regulates fat and cholesterol production, a step that may help advance therapys for metabolic syndrome, the constellation of diseases that includes high cholesterol, obesity, type II diabetes, and high blood pressure. The study is now reported in the online version of the scientific journal Nature and will appear in the August 10th print edition.

"We have identified a key protein that acts together with a family of molecular switches to turn on cholesterol and fat (or lipid) production," says principal investigator Anders Nr, PhD, assistant professor of cell biology at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. "The identification of this protein interaction and the nature of the molecular interface may one day allow us to pursue a more comprehensive approach to the therapy of metabolic syndrome".

High levels of cholesterol and lipids are associated with many interrelated medical conditions and diseases, including obesity, type II diabetes, fatty liver, and high blood pressure. This set of conditions and diseases, known as metabolic syndrome, are afflicting a rapidly increasing portion of society and serve as a major risk factor for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the developed world.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


August 1, 2006, 6:48 AM CT

Higher Blood Pressure Associated with Decline in Walking Ability

Higher Blood Pressure Associated with Decline in Walking Ability
Decline in lower limb function is common in older people, and worsening gait is linked to increased risk of dementia and death. However, factors contributing to gait difficulties in older persons are not well understood. A study by scientists at Rush University Medical Center suggests that higher blood pressure may be one factor linked to a decline in walking ability in later life. The research, by Dr. Raj Shah and his colleagues at the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center, is reported in the August 2006 issue of the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, the scientific journal of The Gerontological Society of America.

Scientists recruited 888 older Catholic clergy without dementia or Parkinson's disease who are participating in the Religious Orders Study. At baseline, blood pressure was measured, the presence of vascular diseases and diabetes was recorded, cognitive function was assessed, and medications were inspected.

At baseline and subsequent annual visits, gait and balance were assessed using performance-based tasks, such as the time and number of steps taken to walk 8 feet, the time to sit up and down five times, the number of steps off the line during an 8-foot heel-to-toe walk, and a comparison of ability to stand with eyes open and eyes closed.

Participants completed a mean of nearly eight annual evaluations with a high rate of follow-up. Controlling for age, education, and gender, the study found a 10mmHg increment in systolic blood pressure was linked to greater decline in lower limb function. On average, lower limb function declined 28.7% faster in persons with a systolic blood pressure of 160 mmHg than in persons with a normal systolic blood pressure of 120 mmHg.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


July 28, 2006, 10:19 PM CT

gene therapy for hereditary heart conditions

gene therapy for hereditary heart conditions
A new way of delivering corrective genes with a single injection into a vein holds promise for long-lasting therapys of hereditary diseases of the heart, University of Florida scientists report.

UF scientists used the approach to successfully reverse symptoms in mice with a form of muscular dystrophy that damages the heart. They also tested the virus-based delivery method in monkeys and found genes were readily absorbed by heart muscle cells, and the effect persisted for months.

The findings, published July 27 in the online edition of Circulation Research, pave the way for studies in humans that could begin as soon as early next year for patients with Pompe disease, a rare form of muscular dystrophy that is commonly fatal in the first year of life.

"Nine years ago we knew we could get long-term gene expression in the heart but it was with direct injection into the heart muscle and it was inefficient," said UF pediatric cardiologist Barry J. Byrne, M.D., Ph.D., the paper's senior author and director of the Powell Gene Therapy Center. "The difference here is that we can deliver a much lower dose of the vector into a vein like any other drug, and the corrective gene collects in the heart".

Researchers say gene treatment looks increasingly feasible for the therapy of cardiovascular conditions associated with faulty genes or congenital metabolic diseases, including atherosclerosis, stroke, muscular dystrophy and an enlargement of the heart muscle known as dilated cardiomyopathy.........

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 19, 2006, 10:47 PM CT

Heart Damage From Some Cancer Drugs

Heart Damage From Some Cancer Drugs
It is well documented that some anti-cancer drugs can damage the heart, but a long-term follow-up of children and young adults who had doxorubicin[1] treatment for bone tumours suggests that the damage gets progressively worse as the years go on.

According to a research findings published on-line (Thursday 20 July) in Annals of Oncology[2] researchers from the University Medical Centre at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, say that all patients treated with drugs known as anthracyclines should have life-long cardiac monitoring.

Their study followed 22 patients, who had been treated with moderate or high doses of doxorubicin for osteogenic sarcomas or malignant fibrous histiocytomas, for a median time of 22 years (between 15 and 27.5 years). It is believed to be the longest prospective follow-up to evaluate heart function in children, adolescents and young adults treated with anthracylines.

The researchers found over a quarter had systolic dysfunction and nearly half had diastolic dysfunction and that this was a further deterioration in heart function compared to an earlier follow-up when fewer than one in ten had systolic dysfunction and less than a fifth had diastolic dysfunction.

Lead researcher Dr Inge Brouwer, from the subdivision of paediatric oncology at the centre, said: "We undertook this long-term study because - since it's known that overt heart failure has been found in up to 5% of cancer survivors treated with anthracyclines - it was possible that subclinical abnormalities might be even more frequent. The natural course of subclinical abnormalities was largely unknown and it was unclear whether we could expect progressive cardiac deterioration".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


July 12, 2006, 11:24 PM CT

High Humidity Is A Risk Factor For Heart Attack

High Humidity Is A Risk Factor For Heart Attack
High humidity, even in a relatively mild climate, boosts the risk of a heart attack among the elderly, reveals research published ahead of print in Heart.

The scientists analysed all reported deaths in Athens for the whole of 2001 and looked at daily weather reports from the National Meteorological Society on temperature, pressure levels, and humidity for the same year.

The total number of heart attack deaths during the year numbered 3126, of which 1953 were in men.

There were sharp seasonal variations in the timing of the deaths, with the overall proportion of deaths a third higher in winter than in summer.

Deaths among those aged 70 and above accounted almost entirely for this variation.

In this age group deaths from heart attack were 3.5 times higher in June and seven times higher in December than rates in other age groups.

The lowest recorded temperature on three days in December reached 1 degree Celsius (34 degrees Fahrenheit), with an average of 6 degrees Celsius, and the highest, on two days in August reached 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit), with an average of 34 degrees Celsius.

The average daily temperature for the preceding week was the most significant factor influencing the daily death rate.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         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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