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February 3, 2010, 2:21 PM CT

Reducing complications of obesity

Reducing complications of obesity
Eventhough obesity is a risk factor for diabetes and coronary heart disease worldwide, only some obese individuals go on to develop these metabolic complications, while others are relatively protected. Defining these protective factors could help researchers prevent disease in the wider population.

To this end, a research team at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, led by Suneil Koliwad, MD, PhD, recently added new details that link obesity to diabetes and heart disease.

When individuals become obese from overeating, cells called adipocytes located in the fat tissue fill up with dietary fats and begin to die. Immune cells called macrophages move out of the blood stream and into this tissue, where they accumulate around dying adipocytes. As the macrophages work to clear away the dead cells, they are exposed to large amounts of dietary fat that can result in unwanted consequences. Exposure to saturated fats, in particular, causes the macrophages to enter an inflammatory state. In this state, the macrophages secrete cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha, that encourage the development of insulin resistance, diabetes, and heart disease.

The Gladstone team hypothesized that enhancing the capacity of macrophages to store dietary fats might alter this process. To do this, they focused on an enzyme called DGAT1, which makes triglycerides from dietary fats for storage as cellular energy reserves.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 21, 2010, 8:21 AM CT

COPD and heart function

COPD and heart function
A common lung condition, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) diminishes the heart's ability to pump effectively even when the disease has no or mild symptoms, as per research reported in the Jan. 21 issue of the New England Journal (NEJM) The study is the first time scientists have shown strong links between heart function and mild COPD. The research was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health.

Scientists have long known that severe cases of COPD have harmful effects on the heart, decreasing its ability to pump blood effectively. The new results suggest that these changes in the heart occur much earlier than previously believed, in mild cases and even before symptoms appear. One in five Americans over the age of 45 has COPD, but as a number of as half of them may not even be aware of it.

"This study shows that COPD, even in its mildest form, is linked to diminished heart function," said NHLBI Acting Director Susan B. Shurin, M.D. "We now have evidence that the presence of even mild COPD may have important health implications beyond the lungs."

COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, and it is strongly linked to smoking. COPD often involves destruction of lung tissue, called emphysema, as well as narrowed airways, persistent cough, and mucus production, known as chronic obstructive bronchitis. These abnormalities impair the flow of air in the lungs and make breathing more difficult.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


January 21, 2010, 8:16 AM CT

Heart Attack Victims Who Have ECGs

Heart Attack Victims Who Have ECGs
A recent study observed that individuals experiencing chest pain who had electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) evaluations previous to arriving at the hospital experienced a significantly reduced time-to-treatment or door-to-balloon (D2B) time. When EMS personnel responding to cardiac emergencies obtained ECGs of the subjects in the field, the mean D2B time was 60.2 minutes compared with 90.5 minutes for in-hospital ECGs. This advanced evaluation significantly reduced D2B by allowing patients to bypass the ER and be transported directly to the cardiac catheterization laboratory (CCL) for reperfusion therapy. Details of the study appear in the January 2010 issue of Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions, published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions.

ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), when a blood clot totally obstructs a coronary artery, is treated with reperfusion treatment to reestablish blood flow as quickly as possible. Previous studies showed that rapid time-to-treatment with primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI), previously known as angioplasty, was linked to lower mortality rates, and for each 30 minutes of delay the relative risk of 1 year mortality increased by 7.5%. In an effort to improve patient survival rates, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) developed national guidelines that state hospitals treating STEMI patients with PPCI should strive to achieve a median door-to-balloon time of less than 90 minutes.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


January 13, 2010, 8:23 AM CT

Hypertension Linked to Dementia

Hypertension Linked to Dementia
Older women with high blood pressure are at increased risk for developing brain lesions that cause dementia during the later part of life, as per data from the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS). The findings were reported in the December 2009 online issue of the Journal of Clinical Hypertension.

The research was conducted as part of the Women' Health Initiative (WHI), the largest multi-site longitudinal study looking at health risks among postmenopausal women. WHIMS, which involves a subgroup of the women enrolled in WHI, looks at the influence of hormone treatment on thinking and memory. All the women in WHIMS were 65 or older.

Upon enrolling in the trial and annually during their participation in it, the women had their blood pressure measured and underwent tests to measure their cognitive ability. Some of the WHIMS participants - 1,403 of them - also underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 14 U.S. academic centers in 2005 and 2006. All of these women were free of dementia when they enrolled. Examination of the data on these 1,403 women was led by Lewis H. Kuller, M.D., Dr.P.H., of the University of Pittsburgh, in conjunction with scientists at other WHI centers, including Dr. Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology and population health and the Dorothy and William Manealoff Foundation & Molly Rosen Chair in Social Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Wassertheil-Smoller is also the principal investigator of Einstein's WHI and WHIMS studies.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


December 23, 2009, 11:01 PM CT

Anti-inflammatory drugs interfere with aspirin

Anti-inflammatory drugs interfere with aspirin
A newly released study conducted at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) reveals that Celebrex and other anti-inflammatory coxib medications may counter the positive effects of aspirin in preventing blood clots.

The research, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), indicates that people who are taking aspirin and coxibs together are in fact inhibiting the aspirin's effectiveness in preventing heart attacks and strokes.

"This finding strongly suggests that humans who are consuming coxibs and a low dose of aspirin simultaneously are exposed to a greater risk of cardiovascular events," said Professor Gilad Rimon, Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.

In the past decade, a new group of anti-inflammatory drugs, coxibs, which include Celebrex and Arcoxia was developed to treat arthritis as well as other pain. Arthritis patients who take Celebrex are instructed to take low-dose aspirin to counteract Celebrex's own potential clot-promoting effect.

Aspirin is the oldest and one of the most effective non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It is also well known for its ability to prevent the blood clots that can potentially lead to heart attack and stroke. Therefore, doctors often advise patients who are more prone to heart-related illnesses to take a daily tablet of low dose aspirin (81 mg). Approximately, 50 million Americans take aspirin every day to reduce their risk of cardiovascular diseases.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


December 15, 2009, 11:36 PM CT

Chip capable of growing cardiac tissue

Chip capable of growing cardiac tissue
Johns Hopkins researchers developed this chip to culture heart cells that more closely resemble natural cardiac tissue. Photo: Will Kirk/homewoodphoto.jhu.edu .
Johns Hopkins biomedical engineers, working with colleagues in Korea, have produced a laboratory chip with nanoscopic grooves and ridges capable of growing cardiac tissue that more closely resembles natural heart muscle. Surprisingly, heart cells cultured in this way used a "nanosense" to collect instructions for growth and function solely from the physical patterns on the nanotextured chip and did not require any special chemical cues to steer the tissue development in distinct ways. The researchers say this tool could be used to design new therapies or diagnostic tests for cardiac disease.

The device and experiments using it were described in this week's online Early Edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The work, a collaboration with Seoul National University, represents an important advance for scientists who grow cells in the lab to learn more about cardiac disorders and possible remedies.

"Heart muscle cells grown on the smooth surface of a Petri dish, would possess some, but never all, of the same physiological characteristics of an actual heart in a living organism," said Andre Levchenko, a Johns Hopkins associate professor of biomedical engineering at the Whiting School of Engineering. "That's because heart muscle cells-cardiomyocytes-take cues from the highly structured extracellular matrix or ECM, which is a scaffold made of fibers that supports all tissue growth in mammals. These cues from the ECM influence tissue structure and function, but when you grow cells on a smooth surface in the lab, the physical signals can be missing. To address this, we developed a chip whose surface and softness mimic the ECM. The result was lab-grown heart tissue that more closely resembles the real thing".........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


December 2, 2009, 11:23 PM CT

Adult stem cells to repair heart attack damage

Adult stem cells to repair heart attack damage
Adult stem cells may help repair heart tissue damaged by heart attack as per the findings of a newly released study to be reported in the December 8 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology Results from the Phase I study show stem cells from donor bone marrow appear to help heart attack patients recover better by growing new blood vessels to bring more oxygen to the heart.

Rush University Medical Center was the only Illinois site and one of 10 cardiac centers across the country that participated in the 53-patient, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase I trial. Rush is now currently enrolling patients for the second phase of the study.

Scientists say it is the strongest evidence thus far indicating that adult stem cells can actually differentiate, or turn into heart cells to repair damage. Until now, it has been believed that only embryonic stem cells could differentiate into heart or other organ cells.

"The results point to a promising new therapy for heart attack patients that could reduce mortality and lessen the need for heart transplants," said Dr. Gary Schaer, head of the Rush Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory and study principal investigator at Rush.

In phase I of the study, a group of 53 patients who had heart attacks in the prior ten days received adult mesenchymal stem cells and were kept under close study for two years.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


December 1, 2009, 8:20 AM CT

Heart disease may accompany narrowing in leg arteries

Heart disease may accompany narrowing in leg arteries
Results of a randomized, controlled clinical trial presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) reveal that one in five patients with narrowing or blockage in arteries that supply blood to the legs and other parts of the body also have significant but silent coronary artery disease.

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) occurs when plaque, a combination of fat, cholesterol and other substances, builds up in the arteries, limiting the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. PAD commonly affects arteries that carry blood to the legs, causing poor circulation, discomfort and pain. More than eight million Americans have PAD, as per the American Heart Association.

As per the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease and the leading cause of death in the U.S.

"PAD patients, including those experiencing no symptoms of heart disease, are known to be at high risk for cardiovascular events such as a heart attack or stroke," said Rozemarijn Vliegenthart Proenca, M.D., Ph.D., radiology resident at the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands. "The purpose of our clinical trial was to investigate whether noninvasive imaging of the heart and subsequent therapy of PAD patients result in a decrease in cardiac events in comparison to standard care".........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


November 25, 2009, 7:57 AM CT

Do not smoke near your loved ones going for heart transplant

Do not smoke near your loved ones going for heart transplant
A study conducted at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore provides the first direct evidence that cigarette smoke exposure previous to a heart transplant in either the donor, recipient, or both, accelerates the death of a transplanted heart. The study, published this month in the journal Circulation, showed that tobacco smoke leads to accelerated immune system rejection of the transplanted heart, heightened vascular inflammation and increased oxidative stress, and a reduction in the transplanted organ's chance of survival by 33-57 percent.

The study, conducted in rats, involved exposure to levels of tobacco equivalent to that of a habitual, light-to-moderate-range smoker and included comparisons between smoking and non-smoking donors and recipients.

"Our research shows that if a heart donor has been a habitual smoker, and you put that heart in a non-smoking recipient, that heart won't work; it will be rejected," says the study's senior author, Mandeep R. Mehra, M.B.B.S., professor of medicine, head of the Division of Cardiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and chief of cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center. "This study shows beyond a shadow of a doubt how smoking affects transplantation".

This is the first study to look at the impact of smoking in heart donors, as per the principal investigator, Ashwani K. Khanna, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "There are already a number of risk factors that physicians and surgeons must consider when they try to match a donor with a recipient. This study makes clear that smoking in both the donor and the recipient should also become a part of the risk calculus in organ donation," says Dr. Khanna.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


November 25, 2009, 7:54 AM CT

Remove that salt shaker from the dining table

Remove that salt shaker from the dining table
Eating high amounts of salt is associated with a significantly higher risk of strokes and cardiovascular disease, states a paper published recently in the British Medical Journal

The research was carried out jointly by the World Health Organization's Collaborating Centre for Nutrition, based at the University of Warwick and University Hospital in Coventry, UK, and the European Society of High blood pressure Excellence Centre in High blood pressure based at the Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Federico II University Medical School in Naples, Italy.

The study looked at the relationship between the level of habitual dietary salt intake and the occurrence of stroke and cardiovascular disease by reviewing 13 prospective studies from the UK, Japan, USA, The Netherlands, Finland and China, including more than 170,000 participants, followed up for 3.5 to 19 years, who experienced nearly 11,000 vascular events.

The study provides unequivocal evidence of the direct link between high dietary salt intake and increased risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. A 5 g lower daily salt intake would reduce stroke by 23% and total cardiovascular disease by 17%, thus averting 1.25 million fatal and non-fatal strokes, and almost 3 million vascular events worldwide each year. The effect is greater, the larger the difference in salt intake and increases with time.........

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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