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October 9, 2009, 7:13 AM CT

Patients who received refurbished pacemakers

Patients who received refurbished pacemakers
Patients who received refurbished pacemakers donated from Detroit area funeral homes survived without complications from the devices, as per a case series reported by the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center.

The pacemakers were implanted in 12 patients at the University of Philippines- Philippine General Hospital who could not afford advanced cardiac care and were confined to their beds as they waited for a permanent pacemaker.

All donated pacemakers functioned normally at six months, and most importantly there were no device complications such as infections. The study appears online ahead of print in the Oct. 13 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology

The argument for pacemaker reuse has been debated for decades. But the idea is gaining ground as U-M cardiology experts report promising results of providing donated pacemakers to underserved nations.

"In light of the widening health care disparity seen between the industrialized world and developing nations, we feel that pacemaker reuse is an ethical obligation to address the medical needs of those who could not afford treatment otherwise," says co-author Timir Baman, M.D., cardiology fellow at the U-M Cardiovascular Center.

Based on surveys showing a majority of heart patients were interested in donating their pacemakers after death, U-M has launched Project My Heart Your Heart.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 6, 2009, 7:06 AM CT

How stiff are your arteries?

How stiff are your arteries?
How far you can reach beyond your toes from a sitting position - normally used to define the flexibility of a person's body - appears to be an indicator of how stiff your arteries are.

A study in the American Journal of Physiology has observed that, among people 40 years old and older, performance on the sit-and-reach test could be used to assess the flexibility of the arteries. Because arterial stiffness often precedes cardiovascular disease, the results suggest that this simple test could become a quick measure of an individual's risk for early mortality from heart attack or stroke.

"Our findings have potentially important clinical implications because trunk flexibility can be easily reviewed," said one of the authors, Kenta Yamamoto. "This simple test might help to prevent age-related arterial stiffening".

It is not known why arterial flexibility would be correlation to the flexibility of the body in middle age and older people. But the authors say that one possibility is that stretching exercises may set into motion physiological reactions that slow down age-related arterial stiffening.

The study "Poor trunk flexibility is linked to arterial stiffening" appears in the American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology. The authors are: Kenta Yamamoto of the University of North Texas and the National Institute of Health and Nutrition, Japan; Hiroshi Kawano, Yuko Gando and Mitsuru Higuchi of Waseda University, Japan; Motoyuki Iemitsu of International Pacific University, Japan; Haruka Murakami, Michiya Tanimoto, Yumi Ohmori, Izumi Tabata, Motohiko Miyachi of the National Institute of Health and Nutrition; and Kiyoshi Sanada of Ritsumeikan University, Japan. The American Physiological Society published the study.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


September 20, 2009, 6:51 PM CT

Genetic link between cardiac arrhythmias and thyroid

Genetic link between cardiac arrhythmias and thyroid
Genes previously known to be essential to the coordinated, rhythmic electrical activity of cardiac muscle -- a healthy heartbeat -- have now also been found to play a key role in thyroid hormone (TH) biosynthesis, as per Weill Cornell Medical College researchers.

The authors' findings, published online this week by the peer-evaluated journal Nature Medicine, suggest that mutations of either of two gene products -- proteins called KCNE2 and KCNQ1 -- already known to be involved in human cardiac arrhythmias, could also cause thyroid dysfunction.

"It has long been known that the thyroid influences cardiac function and cardiac arrhythmias," says study senior author Dr. Geoffrey W. Abbott, associate professor of pharmacology in medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, "but our findings demonstrate a novel genetic link between inherited cardiac arrhythmia and thyroid dysfunction".

Additionally, it is the authors' suggestion that evaluation of the thyroid status of patients with KCNE2- and KCNQ1-linked cardiac arrhythmias could in some cases reveal a potential endocrine component to their cardiac arrhythmias that may not have been previously determined. This, in turn, could indicate therapy of the thyroid condition, with potentially beneficial effects on cardiac function.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


September 15, 2009, 9:43 PM CT

Oxygen-saturated blood reduces levels of damaged heart tissue

Oxygen-saturated blood reduces levels of damaged heart tissue
Results of a clinical trial published recently in Circulation: Cardiovascular Interventions demonstrate that an infusion of blood that is "supersaturated" with oxygen (SS02) can reduce the amount of damaged heart muscle immediately following a life-threatening heart attack.

"The benefit of this treatment increased with the scope of the heart attack," said Gregg W. Stone, M.D., main author and professor of medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and director of cardiovascular research and education in the Center for Interventional Vascular Therapy at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Stone is also the immediate past chairman of the Cardiovascular Research Foundation in New York. "The data show that heart muscle can be saved even after severe heart attack".

The AMIHOT-II study focused on patients having the most serious types of heart attacks those with anterior ST-segment elevation myocardial infarctions (STEMIs) and on patients treated within 6 hours. Of the 733,000 Americans who suffer acute coronary syndromes (i.e. heart attack or chest pain) each year, 361,000 (almost half) have a STEMI, as per the American Heart Association. When a large area of the heart is damaged, heart failure is more likely, and catheter-based percutaneous coronary intervention is a procedure that can effectively open blocked arteries in STEMI patients, Dr. Stone said.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


September 14, 2009, 11:59 PM CT

Common Pain Cream Could Protect Heart During Attack

Common Pain Cream Could Protect Heart During Attack
Keith Jones
New research from the University of Cincinnati shows that a common, over-the-counter pain salve rubbed on the skin during a heart attack could serve as a cardiac-protectant, preventing or reducing damage to the heart while interventions are administered.

These findings appear in the Sept. 14 edition of the journal Circulation.

Keith Jones, PhD, a researcher in the department of pharmacology and cell biophysics, and researchers in his lab have observed that applying capsaicin to specific skin locations in mice caused sensory nerves in the skin to trigger signals in the nervous system. These signals activate cellular "pro-survival" pathways in the heart which protect the muscle.

Capsaicin is the main component of chili peppers and produces a hot sensation. It is also the active ingredient in several topical medications used for temporary pain relief.

Capsaicin is approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Jones is working with Neal Weintraub, MD, a UC Health heart specialist and director of UC's cardiovascular diseases division, and other clinicians to construct a translational plan to test capsaicin in a human population.

"Topical capsaicin has no known serious adverse effects and could be easily applied in an ambulance or emergency room setting well in advance of coronary tissue death," Jones says. "If proven effective in humans, this treatment has the potential to reduce injury and/or death in the event of a coronary blockage, thereby reducing the extent and consequences of heart attack."........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


August 31, 2009, 10:08 PM CT

How much omega-3 fatty acid do we need

How much omega-3 fatty acid do we need
A team of French researchers have found the dose of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) that is "just right" for preventing cardiovascular disease in healthy men. In a research report appearing in the September 2009 print issue of The FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org), the researchers show that a 200 mg dose of DHA per day is enough to affect biochemical markers that reliably predict cardiovascular problems, such as those correlation to aging, atherosclerosis, and diabetes. This study is the first to identify how much DHA is necessary to promote optimal heart health.

"This study shows that regularly consuming small amounts of DHA is likely to improve the health status of people, particularly in regards to cardiovascular function," said Michel Lagarde, co-author of the study.

To determine the optimal dose of DHA, Lagarde and his colleagues examined the effects of increasing doses of DHA on 12 healthy male volunteers between ages of 53 and 65. These men consumed doses of DHA at 200, 400, 800, and 1600 mg per day for two weeks for each dose amount, with DHA being the only omega-3 fatty acid in their diet. Blood and urine samples were collected before and after each dose and at eight weeks after DHA supplementation stopped. The scientists then examined these samples for biochemical markers indicating the effects of each dose on the volunteers.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


August 31, 2009, 9:22 PM CT

Carbon monoxide linked to heart problems

Carbon monoxide linked to heart problems
New Haven, Conn.Exposure to carbon monoxide, even at levels well below national limits, is linked to an increased risk of hospitalization for the elderly with heart problems, as per a research studypublished recently in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association

The nationwide study of 126 urban communities, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, observed that an increase in carbon monoxide of 1 part per million in the maximum daily one-hour exposure is linked to a 0.96 percent increase in the risk of hospitalization from cardiovascular disease among people over the age of 65.

This link holds true even when carbon monoxide levels are less than 1 part per million, which is well below the EPA's National Ambient Air Quality Standard of 35 parts per million. This finding suggests an under-recognized health risk to seniors. Currently, the EPA is evaluating the scientific evidence on the link between carbon monoxide and health to determine whether the health-based standard should be modified.

"This evidence indicates that exposure to current carbon monoxide levels may still pose a public health threat," said Michelle Bell, the study's lead investigator and associate professor of environmental health at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. "Higher levels of carbon monoxide were linked to higher risk of hospitalizations for cardiovascular heart disease".........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


August 24, 2009, 10:41 PM CT

Low-carb diets linked to atherosclerosis

Low-carb diets linked to atherosclerosis
Even as low-carbohydrate/high-protein diets have proven successful at helping individuals rapidly lose weight, little is known about the diets' long-term effects on vascular health.

Now, a study led by a scientific team at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) provides some of the first data on this subject, demonstrating that mice placed on a 12-week low carbohydrate/high-protein diet showed a significant increase in atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque in the heart's arteries and a leading cause of heart attack and stroke. The findings also showed that the diet led to an impaired ability to form new blood vessels in tissues deprived of blood flow, as might occur during a heart attack.

Described in today's Online Version of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the study also observed that standard markers of cardiovascular risk, including cholesterol, were not changed in the animals fed the low-carb diet, despite the clear evidence of increased vascular disease.

"It's very difficult to know in clinical studies how diets affect vascular health," says senior author Anthony Rosenzweig, MD, Director of Cardiovascular Research in BIDMC's CardioVascular Institute and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. "We, therefore, tend to rely on easily measured serum markers [such as cholesterol], which have been surprisingly reassuring in individuals on low-carbohydrate/high-protein diets, who do typically lose weight. But our research suggests that, at least in animals, these diets could be having adverse cardiovascular effects that are not reflected in simple serum markers".........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


August 20, 2009, 6:45 AM CT

Anti-Aging Gene Linked to High Blood Pressure

Anti-Aging Gene Linked to High Blood Pressure
Scientists at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center have shown the first link between a newly discovered anti-aging gene and high blood pressure. The results, which appear this month in the journal Hypertension, offer new clues on how we age and how we might live longer.

Persistent hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a risk factor for stroke, heart attack, heart failure, arterial aneurysm and is the leading cause of chronic kidney failure. Even a modest elevation of arterial blood pressure leads to shortened life expectancy.

Researchers, led by principal investigator Zhongjie Sun, tested the effect of an anti-aging gene called klotho on reducing hypertension. They observed that by increasing the expression of the gene in laboratory models, they not only stopped blood pressure from continuing to rise, but succeeded in lowering it. Perhaps most impressive was the complete reversal of kidney damage, which is linked to prolonged hypertension and often leads to kidney failure.

"One single injection of the klotho gene can reduce high blood pressure for at least 12 weeks and possibly longer. Klotho is also available as a protein and, conceivably, we could ingest it as a powder much like we do with protein drinks," said Sun, M.D., Ph.D., a cardiovascular expert at the OU College of Medicine.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 18, 2009, 11:07 PM CT

Ancient Chinese herbal formulas on heart health

Ancient Chinese herbal formulas on heart health
Shedding new light on ancient Chinese herbal formulas for cardiovascular indications from left to right are: Yong-Jian Geng, M.D., Ph.D.; Yaoping Tang, M.D., Nathan S. Bryan, Ph.D.; and Harsha Garg.

Credit: The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

New research at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston suggests that ancient Chinese herbal formulas used primarily for cardiovascular indications including heart disease may produce large amounts of artery-widening nitric oxide. Findings of the preclinical study by researchers in the university's Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases (IMM) appear in the Sept. 15 print issue of the journal Free Radical Biology & Medicine

Nitric oxide is crucial to the cardiovascular system because it signals the inner walls of blood vessels to relax, which facilitates the flow of blood through the heart and circulatory system. The messenger molecule also eliminates dangerous clots, lowers hypertension and reduces artery-clogging plaque formation.

The results from this study reveal that ancient Chinese herbal formulas "have profound nitric oxide bioactivity primarily through the enhancement of nitric oxide in the inner walls of blood vessels, but also through their ability to convert nitrite and nitrate into nitric oxide," said Nathan S. Bryan, Ph.D., the study's senior author and an IMM assistant professor.

Herbal formulas are a major component of traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs), which also include acupuncture and massage. "TCMs have provided leads to safe medications in cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes," said C. Thomas Caskey, M.D., IMM director and CEO. "The opportunity for Dr. Bryan's work is outstanding given that cardiac disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States".........

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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