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April 13, 2009, 2:07 PM CT

Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Benefit Cancer Patients

Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Benefit Cancer Patients
Omega 3 fats are essential fats found naturally in oily fish, with highest concentrations in salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines. Recently food manufacturers have begun to add omega 3 to foods such as yogurt, milk, juice, eggs and infant formula
New research from Trinity College Dublin published in this month's Annals of Surgery points to a potentially significant advance in the therapy of patients undergoing major cancer surgery. The study was carried out by the oesophageal research group at Trinity College Dublin and St James's Hospital. A randomised controlled trial showed omega-3 fatty acids given as part of an oral nutritional supplement resulted in the preservation of muscle mass in patients undergoing surgery for oesopahageal cancer, a procedure normally linked to significant weight loss and quality of life issues.

The trial was designed by Professor John V Reynolds, Professor of Surgery at Trinity College Dublin and St James's Hospital, Dublin, and Dr Aoife Ryan PhD, a research dietitian at St James's Hospital, Dublin*.

Omega 3 fats are essential fats found naturally in oily fish, with highest concentrations in salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines. Recently food manufacturers have begun to add omega 3 to foods such as yogurt, milk, juice, eggs and infant formula in light of a body of scientific evidence which suggests that they reduce cardiovascular disease risk, blood pressure, clot formations, and certain types of fat in the blood.

Prior studies had observed that nutritional supplements containing one form of omega 3 fat, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), significantly reduced weight loss among inoperable cancer patients. The scientists hypothesised that a nutritional supplement rich in calories and a high dose of EPA would stem the debilitating weight loss seen in patients following oesophageal surgery. The group chose to study patients undergoing surgery for oesophageal cancer as this surgery is one of the most stressful and serious operations a patient can undergo.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 6, 2009, 9:38 PM CT

Bisphosphonate heart rhythm link

Bisphosphonate heart rhythm link
New research at Wake Forest University School of Medicine reviewed the link between a common class of drugs used to prevent bone fractures in osteoporosis patients and the development of irregular heartbeat.

The study's findings are reported in the current issue of Drug Safety, a publication of the International Society of Pharmacovigilance covering the safe and proper use of medicines.

"Some trials show there could be a potential link between the use of bisphosphonates and the development of serious heart rhythm problems, but in our study the link wasn't conclusive," said Sonal Singh, M.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor of internal medicine and lead investigator for the study. "So we urge that additional investigations be conducted".

Bisphosphonates, found in prescription drugs including BonivaTM, FosomaxTM, ReclastTM and ActonelTM, inhibit the breakdown of bones, which reduces the risk of fractures, particularly those of the spine and hips in older patients. The first such drugs were approved for use in the mid-1990s.

Early studies indicated that the use of bisphosphonates might cause problems with heart rhythm, or atrial fibrillation, which increases the risk for stroke or heart attack. For the study published this month, scientists analyzed the data from prior findings based on observation and clinical trials to determine the link between bisphosphonate treatment and irregular heart beat.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


April 2, 2009, 10:15 PM CT

Healing one heart cell at a time

Healing one heart cell at a time
Researchers have determined that cells in the human heart develop into adulthood by looking at the amount of carbon 14 in the atmosphere from above-ground nuclear testing in the 1950s and 1960.

Illustration by Mattias Karlen, Karolinska Institute
By using the amount of carbon 14 in the atmosphere from above-ground nuclear testing in the 1950s and 1960, scientists have determined that cells in the human heart develop into adulthood.

But as humans age, the percentage of new heart cells decreases markedly. By age 25, renewal of heart cells gradually decrease from 1 percent turning over annually to.45 percent by the age of 75. About 50 percent of the heart cells a human is born with will regenerate during a lifetime.

Myocardial damage often results in chronic heart failure because of the loss and insufficient regeneration of heart cells. But this new finding may mean that patients, who have suffered myocardial damage as a result of a heart attack, may have some good news.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientist Bruce Buchholz with colleagues from the Karolinska Institute, Universite Claude Bernard Lyon, Lund University and Lund University Hospital, observed that cells in a human heart can develop into adulthood and the age of heart cells is, on average, six years younger than the individual.

Using the Laboratory's Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, Buchholz measured the amount of carbon 14 in DNA to establish the age of caridiomyocytes (cardiac muscle cells) in humans.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 31, 2009, 3:22 PM CT

Imaging the coronary arteries pays off

Imaging the coronary arteries pays off
People who suffer cardiac arrests and then receive coronary angiography are twice as likely to survive without significant brain damage compared with those who don't have the procedure, as per a research studyby University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers. The study, reported in the May/recent issue of the Journal of Intensive Care Medicine and now available online, showed that patient outcomes improved with coronary angiography, an imaging procedure that shows how blood flows through the heart, regardless of certain clinical and demographic factors that influenced who received the procedure.

"Given the low odds of survival about 6 percent for patients who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, it's important to understand which therapys might make a difference in these dismal outcomes," noted Jon C. Rittenberger, M.D., corresponding author of the study and an assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. The importance of prompt coronary angiography is well-established for cardiac arrest patients presenting with certain types of heart problems, Dr. Rittenberger noted. "But our study, which shows that angiography is independently linked to good neurologic outcomes, suggests that clinicians should consider the procedure for all post-cardiac arrest patients," he added.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 31, 2009, 5:17 AM CT

New method to lower your triglycerides

New method to lower your triglycerides
Studies done with laboratory rats suggest that supplementation of their diet with lipoic acid had a significant effect in lowering triglycerides, which along with cholesterol levels and blood pressure are one of the key risk factors in cardiovascular disease.

In the lab animals, supplements of lipoic acid lowered triglyceride levels up to 60 percent. If the effect were the same in humans which is still not clear that would be a greater impact than found with other dietary supplements, and similar to the effects of some prescription drugs.

The results were just reported in the Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, a professional journal.

"The extent of triglyceride reduction was really dramatic, we didn't expect it to be this profound," said Regis Moreau, an assistant professor with the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. "The potential is good that this could become another way to lower blood triglycerides and help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. It's pretty exciting".

Lipoic acid is a natural compound found at low levels in some foods, including red meat and green leafy vegetables. A powerful antioxidant, it's been of considerable research interest in recent years for its apparent ability to reduce mitochondrial decay in cells and perhaps slow the process of aging. And it's been used in Europe for decades as a therapy for the neuropathic complications of diabetes.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 29, 2009, 10:32 PM CT

Drug therapy for exercise-induced arrhythmias

Drug therapy for exercise-induced arrhythmias
A 12-year-old Dutch boy bedridden for three years because of an inherited cardiac arrhythmia syndrome can now join his friends on the soccer field thanks to a discovery made by Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers.

The investigators, led by Bjrn Knollmann, M.D., Ph.D., report this week in Nature Medicine that the clinically available drug flecainide prevents potentially lethal arrhythmias in patients with a specific type of exercise or stress-induced arrhythmia disorder called CPVT.

"It's potentially a breakthrough in the therapy of this rare syndrome," said Knollmann, associate professor of Medicine and Pharmacology.

Patients with CPVT experience abnormally rapid heart rates (tachycardia), commonly during exercise or stress, and are at risk for fainting and cardiac arrest. The syndrome kills up to 50 percent of untreated patients, and it may account for some unexplained sudden cardiac deaths in young athletes.

Current therapy has been limited to two medications beta blockers, often used at very high doses, and calcium channel blockers to control the arrhythmias. Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) are placed in patients at high risk for sudden death, but ongoing arrhythmias can result in frequent stressful shocks.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 26, 2009, 9:27 PM CT

Cholesterol crystals and heart attack

Cholesterol crystals and heart attack
The protruding elements seen in the different slides are cholesterol crystals. Those elements are arising from within the artery wall, causing tearing and damage to the artery. The colors have been added for enhancement and imagery.

For the first time ever, a Michigan State University researcher has shown cholesterol crystals can disrupt plaque in a patient's cardiovascular system, causing a heart attack or stroke.

The findings by a team led by George Abela, chief of the cardiology division in MSU's College of Human Medicine, could dramatically shift the way doctors and scientists approach cardiovascular attacks. Abela's findings are reported in the recent issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

"Any time there is something completely new or unique in medical research, it is met with healthy skepticism," said Abela, who has been working with cholesterol crystals since 2001. "But we have found something that can help dramatically change how we treat heart disease".

What Abela and his team found is that as cholesterol builds up along the wall of an artery, it crystallizes from a liquid to a solid state and then expands.

"As the cholesterol crystallizes, two things can happen," Abela said. "If it's a big pool of cholesterol, it will expand, causing the 'cap' of the deposit to tear off in the arterial wall. Or the crystals, which are sharp, needle-like structures, poke their way through the cap covering the cholesterol deposit, like nails through wood".

The crystals then work their way into the bloodstream. It is the presence of this material, as well as damage to an artery, that disrupts plaque and puts the body's natural defense mechanism - clotting - into action, which can lead to dangerous, if not fatal, clots.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 23, 2009, 10:00 PM CT

High triglyceride levels common

High triglyceride levels common
High concentrations of blood fats known as triglycerides are common in the United States, as per a report in the March 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Changes in lifestyle are the preferred initial therapy for hypertriglyceridemia (the resulting condition), but physical inactivity, obesity and other modifiable risk factors remain prevalent.

"Increasing evidence supports triglyceride concentration as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease," the authors write as background information in the article. "If triglyceride concentrations are indeed a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, then it becomes important to establish the prevalence of hypertriglyceridemia in the U.S. population and to learn about the degree of pharmacologic management of this risk factor".

Earl S. Ford, M.D., M.P.H., and his colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, examined data for 5,610 participants age 20 or older who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys between 1999 and 2004. The 2,837 men and 2,773 women were interviewed at home and then invited to attend a mobile examination center, where they answered additional questions, underwent examinations and provided blood samples.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 16, 2009, 5:19 AM CT

Is it really only our kidneys that control blood pressure?

Is it really only our kidneys that control blood pressure?
The problem of hypertension has reached pandemic proportions, causing premature death through heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease in a third of the UK population. For decades, researchers have battled at length over its cause yet still cannot agree; is the kidney or the brain to blame?.

This month, Experimental Physiology hosts a lively debate between two groups of world-leading experts. In the first ever published dialogue on the topic, Drs Montani & Vliet and Drs Osborn, Averina & Fink share their opinions with us and criticise each-others theories. Their frank exchange of views provides an interesting and informative summary of the latest research into how blood pressure is controlled.

When blood pressure increases the kidneys respond by extracting extra water and salts into the urine, causing blood volume and hence pressure to fall. But special nerve pathways mean the brain can also regulate urine production and hence influence blood pressure. So which organ is really in charge?

Montani & Vliet argue that controlling blood volume is the key, as the kidney automatically makes more urine as blood pressure increases.

However, Osborn and his colleagues remind us that the cardiovascular system is controlled by multiple mechanisms including the automatic part of the nervous system, which directly controls the kidney. They also update us on a plethora of new findings supporting a role of the nervous system in controlling blood pressure long term.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 5, 2009, 6:24 AM CT

Depression increases risk for heart disease

Depression increases risk for heart disease
A history of major depression increases the risk of heart disease over and above any genetic risks common to depression and heart disease, as per scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the VA. The findings are reported this week at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society this week in Chicago.

The scientists analyzed data gathered from more than 1,200 male twins who served in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. The men were surveyed on a variety of health issues in 1992, including depression, and were assessed again in 2005.

In the study, researchers looked at the onset of heart disease in depressed study participants between 1993 and 2005. Men with depression in 1992 were twice as likely to develop heart disease in the ensuing years, in comparison to men with no history of depression.

"Based on our findings, we can say that after adjusting for other risk factors, depression remains a significant predictor of heart disease," says first author Jeffrey F. Scherrer, Ph.D., research assistant professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine and the St. Louis Veterans Affairs Medical Center. "In this study, we have demonstrated that exposure to depression is contributing to heart disease only in twins who have high genetic risk and who actually develop clinical depression. In twins with high genetic risk common to depression and heart disease, but who never develop depression itself, there was no increased risk for heart disease. The findings strongly suggest that depression itself independently contributes to risk for heart disease."........

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.

Medicineworld.org: Archives of heart-watch-blog

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