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November 16, 2009, 8:00 AM CT

Delivering antioxidant to injured heart cells

Delivering antioxidant to injured heart cells
Fluorescent green polyketal particles stay in the heart three days after injection.

Credit: Michael Davis

Scientists at Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed microscopic polymer beads that can deliver an antioxidant enzyme made naturally by the body into the heart.

Injecting the enzyme-containing particles into rats' hearts after a simulated heart attack reduced the number of dying cells and resulted in improved heart function days later.

Michael Davis, PhD, is presenting the results Sunday evening at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Orlando. Davis is assistant professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University.

The enzyme in the particles, called superoxide dismutase (SOD), soaks up toxic free radicals produced when cells are deprived of blood during a heart attack. Previously researchers have tried injecting SOD by itself into injured animals, but it doesn't seem to last long enough in the body to have any beneficial effects.

"Our goal is to have a treatment to blunt the permanent damage of a heart attack and reduce the probability of heart failure during the later part of life," Davis says. "This is a way to get extra amounts of a beneficial antioxidant protein to the cells that need it".

The simulated heart attacks caused a 20 percent decrease in the ability of the rats' hearts to pump blood that was completely prevented by the particles, he says.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


November 16, 2009, 7:53 AM CT

Vitamin D deficiency and cardiovascular disease

Vitamin D deficiency and cardiovascular disease
While mothers have known that feeding their kids milk builds strong bones, a newly released study by scientists at the Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City suggests that Vitamin D contributes to a strong and healthy heart as well and that inadequate levels of the vitamin may significantly increase a person's risk of stroke, heart disease, and death, even among people who've never had heart disease.

For more than a year, the Intermountain Medical Center research team followed 27,686 patients who were 50 years of age or older with no previous history of cardiovascular disease. The participants had their blood Vitamin D levels tested during routine clinical care. The patients were divided into three groups based on their Vitamin D levels normal (over 30 nanograms per milliliter), low (15-30 ng/ml), or very low (less than 15 ng/ml). The patients were then followed to see if they developed some form of heart disease.

Scientists observed that patients with very low levels of Vitamin D were 77 percent more likely to die, 45 percent more likely to develop coronary artery disease, and 78 percent were more likely to have a stroke than patients with normal levels. Patients with very low levels of Vitamin D were also twice as likely to develop heart failure than those with normal Vitamin D levels.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


November 10, 2009, 8:25 AM CT

Waiting time for chest pain

Waiting time for chest pain
Emory University Rollins School of Public Health scientists will present Nov. 10 on a range of topics at the American Public Health Association's annual meeting in Philadelphia, including a study that examined compliance with national recommendations that a doctor screen chest pain patients within 10 minutes of their arrival to the Emergency Department (ED).

Additional public health research findings from Emory researchers are highlighted below.

Disparities in emergency room waiting times for chest pain patients

The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association recommend an electrocardiogram be performed and shown to a doctor within 10 minutes of a chest pain patient's arrival to the emergency department (ED). Emory scientists examined disparities in waiting times to see a doctor for patients complaining of chest pain.

They observed that only 30 percent of all chest pain patients were seen within the recommended 10 minutes. In addition, racial disparities affected all chest pain patients. African Americans were seen by an ED doctor later than whites, scientists noted.

Data were extracted from the 2003-2006 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.

Untangling the Web: An exploratory look at the impact of parental discipline and primary caregiver support on high-risk taking behavior........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


November 5, 2009, 8:45 AM CT

How the heart is formed?

How the heart is formed?
Cardiac melanocyte-like cells in the mouse heart, identified by transgenic expression of a marker gene, are located in the region of the atria and the pulmonary veins and may serve as triggers for atrial arrhythmias.. (Click to view larger version.)
While studying how the heart is formed, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine serendipitously found a novel cellular source of atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common type of abnormal heart beat. Jonathan Epstein, MD, William Wikoff Smith Professor, and Chair, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, and Vickas Patel, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, have identified a population of cells in the atria of the heart and pulmonary veins of humans and mice that appear to be the seat of AF. The finding may lead to a more precise way to treat AF, with reduced side effects. Their findings appear online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

This group of cells expresses the protein DCT, which is also involved in making the skin pigment melanin and in the detoxification of free radicals. The scientists also showed that the DCT-expressing cells in the mouse heart were a distinct cell type from heart-muscle cells and pigment-producing cells, eventhough they conduct electrical currents important for coordinated contraction of the heart. The location of these cells in the pulmonary veins suggested their possible role in AF because AF can arise in these blood vessels. Atrial fibrillation is a very common and debilitating disease that greatly affects quality of life.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


November 4, 2009, 8:04 AM CT

Heart disease risk among post-menopausal women

Heart disease risk among post-menopausal women
Postmenopausal women who have higher testosterone levels appears to be at greater risk of heart disease, insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome in comparison to women with lower testosterone levels, as per a newly released study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM). This new information is an important step, say researchers, in understanding the role that hormones play in women's health.

"For a number of years, androgens like testosterone were thought to play a significant role in men only and to be largely irrelevant in women," said Anne Cappola, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia. "It is now largely accepted that premenopausal women with polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition in which androgens are elevated, have increased health risks. However, the clinical relevance of testosterone in women over the age of 65 had remained uncertain until this recent study".

In this study, scientists measured levels of testosterone in 344 women, aged 65-98 years. They observed that women with the highest testosterone levels in the top 25 percent of this study group were three times as likely to have coronary heart disease in comparison to women with lower testosterone levels. These women were also three times as likely to have a group of metabolic risk factors called the metabolic syndrome in comparison to women with lower testosterone levels.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 26, 2009, 7:43 AM CT

Obesity, blood pressure and cholesterol

Obesity, blood pressure and cholesterol
Obese patients taking medications to lower their blood pressure and cholesterol levels are less likely to reach recommended targets for these cardiovascular disease risk factors than their normal weight counterparts, as per new research presented at the 2009 Canadian Cardiovascular Congress hosted by the Canadian Cardiovascular Society and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

Dr. Vineet Bhan, a resident at the University of Toronto, sought to determine whether there were differences in reaching guideline-recommended targets for blood pressure and cholesterol levels as per body mass index (BMI) in a large number of individuals deemed to be at high risk for heart disease and stroke.

"In Canada, these high risk patients frequently do not reach their blood pressure and cholesterol targets," says Dr. Bhan. "The goal of our study was to see if obesity could be a factor."

He says that other studies have looked at obese individuals in the general population and found they were more likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. "This, to our knowledge, is the first study looking at patients with established cardiovascular disease who are on therapy to see how obesity relates to the control of these risk factors," he says.

The study recruited 7,357 high risk patients who had a history of coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, or diabetes plus additional cardiovascular risk factors from nine Canadian provinces. This observational study, based on two outpatient registries, took place from 2001 to 2004, recruiting 95 per cent of the patients from family doctor offices. The registries were led by senior co-author, Dr. Shaun Goodman, and coordinated by the Canadian Heart Research Centre.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 26, 2009, 7:41 AM CT

Women do have same the heart attack symptoms as men

Women do have same the heart attack symptoms as men
The gender difference between men and women is a lot smaller than we've been led to believe when it comes to heart attack symptoms, as per a newly released study presented to the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2009, co-hosted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society.

"Both the media and some patient educational materials frequently suggest that women experience symptoms of a heart attack very differently from men," says cardiac nurse Martha Mackay, a Canadian Institutes of Health Research clinical research fellow and doctoral student at the UBC School of Nursing. "These findings suggest that this is simply not the case".

Her team's study of 305 consecutive patients undergoing angioplasty − which briefly causes symptoms similar to a heart attack − found no gender differences in rates of chest discomfort or other 'typical' symptoms such as arm discomfort, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, indigestion-like symptoms, and clammy skin.

While both women and men may experience typical or non-typical symptoms, the major difference was that female patients were more likely to have both the classic symptoms of heart attack plus throat, jaw, and neck discomfort.

"Clear educational messages need to be crafted to ensure that both women and healthcare professionals realize the classic symptoms are equally common in men and women," says Mackay.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 26, 2009, 7:30 AM CT

Survival after heart attack improves

Survival after heart attack improves
In recent years, women, especially younger women, experienced larger improvements in hospital mortality after myocardial infarction (MI) than men, as per a research studyreported in the Oct. 26, 2009 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine

Over the last decade several studies showed that younger women, but not older ones, are more likely to die in the hospital after MI than age-matched men. A team of Emory University scientists examined whether such mortality differences have declined in recent years.

"We observed that the number of younger women who die in the hospital after a heart attack, compared with men in the same age group, has narrowed over the last few years," says study leader Viola Vaccarino, MD, PhD, professor of medicine (cardiology), and director of the Emory Program in Cardiovascular Outcomes Research and Epidemiology. Vaccarino says changes in patient characteristics and therapys over time accounted in part for the changing mortality trends.

Often referred to as a heart attack, MI occurs when the blood supply to part of the heart is interrupted. This decreased blood supply is usually due to blockage of a coronary artery and if left untreated can cause damage and/or death (infarction) of heart muscle tissue.

The scientists investigated MI mortality trends as per sex and age in five age groups during a 12-year period from 1994 to 2006. The study population included 916,380 MI patients from the National Registry of Myocardial Infarction (NRMI) who had a confirmed diagnosis of MI.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 15, 2009, 5:42 PM CT

Cost Effectiveness of Blood Pressure Device

Cost Effectiveness of Blood Pressure Device
The Rheos High Blood Pressure or Hypertension Therapy System
A study conducted by the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) demonstrates that, for certain patient populations, an experimental device that lowers blood pressure appears to be a cost effective therapy. The implantable device, called Rheos, is in advanced stages of testing for individuals with drug resistant hypertension.

The study - which appears this month in the Journal of Clinical High blood pressure - used data from two large population-based studies and compared the occurence rate of adverse health events such as stroke and heart attack for groups of individuals with and without the blood pressure lowering benefit of the device. Scientists then projected the health care costs linked to those events over a patient's lifetime. The results show that if Rheos continues to perform at a level consistent the initial findings in ongoing clinical trials, then the device is a cost effective way to control hypertension.

"Our goal was to determine whether or not the benefit of Rheos would offset the higher upfront costs," said Kate C. Young, Ph.D., MPH, an instructor in the departments of Surgery and Neurology at URMC and main author of the study. "What we found is that the device's cost effectiveness is dependent upon the degree to which it can reduce blood pressure and the starting point of the patient".........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 12, 2009, 7:19 AM CT

Mending broken hearts

Mending broken hearts
This is the mold used to create the heart patch.

Credit: Brian Liau

By mimicking the way embryonic stem cells develop into heart muscle in a lab, Duke University bioengineers believe they have taken an important first step toward growing a living "heart patch" to repair heart tissue damaged by disease.

In a series of experiments using mouse embryonic stem cells, the bioengineers used a novel mold of their own design to fashion a three-dimensional "patch" made up of heart muscle cells, known as cardiomyocytes. The new tissue exhibited the two most important attributes of heart muscle cells - the ability to contract and to conduct electrical impulses. The mold looks much like a piece of Chex cereal in which scientists varied the shape and length of the pores to control the direction and orientation of the growing cells.

The scientists grew the cells in an environment much like that found in natural tissues. They encapsulated the cells within a gel composed of the blood-clotting protein fibrin, which provided mechanical support to the cells, allowing them to form a three-dimensional structure. They also observed that the cardiomyocytes flourished only in the presence of a class of "helper" cells known as cardiac fibroblasts, which comprise as much as 60 percent of all cells present in a human heart.

"If you tried to grow cardiomyocytes alone, they develop into an unorganized ball of cells," said Brian Liau, graduate student in biomedical engineering at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering. Liau, who works in the laboratory of assistant professor Nenad Bursac, presented the results of his latest experiments during the annual scientific sessions of the Biomedical Engineering Society in Pittsburgh.........

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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