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October 9, 2008, 10:39 PM CT

A low-cholesterol diet leaves a bitter taste in the gut

A low-cholesterol diet leaves a bitter taste in the gut
One role for the proteins on the tongue that sense bitter tasting substances, type 2 taste receptors (T2Rs), is to limit ingestion of these substances, as a large number of natural bitter compounds are known to be toxic. T2Rs are also found in the gut, and it has been suggested that there they have a similar role to their function in the mouth (i.e., they might limit intestinal toxin absorption). Data to support this idea has now been generated in mice by Timothy Osborne and his colleagues, at the University of California, Irvine.

By supplementing the food that mice eat with the drugs lovastatin and ezetimibe (L/E), it is possible to reduce the amount of cholesterol that they take up, and they are therefore considered to be consuming a low-cholesterol diet. Such a diet increases the activity of the protein SREBP-2 in the gut. In this study, SREBP-2 was shown to directly induce the expression of T2Rs in cultured mouse intestinal cells as well as in the intestine of mice consuming food supplemented with L/E. In addition, SREBP-2 was shown to directly enhance T2R-induced secretion of the intestinal peptide cholecystokinin in both the cultured mouse intestinal cells and mice consuming food supplemented with L/E. As low-cholesterol diets are naturally composed of high amounts of plant matter that is likely to contain dietary toxins, and one function of cholecystokinin is to decrease food intake, the authors suggest that SREBP-2induced expression of T2Rs might provide a mechanism both to inform the gut that food-borne toxins could be present and to initiate a response that limits their absorption.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 7, 2008, 10:22 PM CT

Novel Imaging Approach For Atrial Fibrillation

Novel Imaging Approach For Atrial Fibrillation
University of Utah scientists have developed a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based method for detecting and quantifying injury to the wall of the heart's left atrium in patients who have undergone a procedure to treat atrial fibrillation. The results of the study are reported in the Oct. 7, 2008, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythm, that involves the heart's two upper chambers, or atria. One effective method of treating AF is Radiofrequency (RF) ablation. In RF ablation, mild, painless radiofrequency energy is used to destroy carefully selected heart muscle cells to stop them from conducting extra electrical impulses. Prior research suggested scar formation within the left atrium (LA) after RF ablation helps to predict the success of the procedure in preventing the recurrence of atrial fibrillation.

"Until now, there has not been an accurate, non-invasive way to assess LA scar formation," said lead author Nassir F. Marrouche, M.D., assistant professor of internal medicine in the University of Utah School of Medicine and director of the Atrial-Fibrillation Program. "We have developed a novel MRI-based method to detect and measure the extent of LA wall scarring and, potentially, predict the success of RF ablation in patients with atrial fibrillation".........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


September 22, 2008, 10:26 PM CT

Women and South Asians with angina

Women and South Asians with angina
Women and South Asian people with typical pain were more likely than those with atypical pain to receive a diagnosis of angina pectoris and to have increased mortality rates or acute coronary complications, a study by UK scientists found. Despite this, in women and South Asians, both those with typical and atypical pain had lower rates of angiography and coronary interventions compared with men and white people respectively.

In this study of 7784 South Asian and white people in the United Kingdom, it was also observed that more women than men and more South Asians compared with white people reported atypical chest pain and were less likely to receive a diagnosis of angina.

"Women and South Asian people with typical chest pain were at increased risk of adverse coronary outcomes compared with those who presented with atypical pain," state Dr. Justin Zaman of University College London and UK-based colleagues.

Differences in the description of symptoms did not account for the lower rates of intervention. "Further study should examine why South Asians and white women with potentially the same adverse prognosis as men received poorer care," state the researchers.

In a related commentary, Dr. Deborah Diercks from the University of California and coauthor Dr. Chadwick Miller of Wake Forest University ask whether misdiagnoses occur because of the way patients report symptoms or physician misinterpretation or bias. They point out that "patients with atypical chest pain are still at significant risk for cardiac disease.and patients with typical symptoms, regardless of ethnic background or sex, should receive further cardiac evaluation to minimize the impact of cardiac disease".........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


September 18, 2008, 10:44 PM CT

Probiotic intervention and lipid profile change?

Probiotic intervention and lipid profile change?
The new global metabolic profiling techniques, like lipidomics as a branch of metabolomics, have made it possible to measure large numbers of different metabolites, and are currently being applied to increase our understanding of the health and disease continuum.

A Finland research group investigated the effect of a three weeks intervention of a probiotic LGG intervention on serum global lipidomics profiles in healthy adults. This will be published on 28 May 2008, in the World Journal of Gastroenterology The result showed that there were decreases in the levels of lysophosphatidylcholines (LysoGPCho), sphingomyelins (SM) and several glycerophosphatidylcholines (GPCho), and increases in triacylglycerols (TAG) in the probiotic LGG group. These changes may contribute, for example, to the metabolic events behind the beneficial effects of LGG on gut barrier function seen in prior studies.

This study, done in collaboration with research groups of Associate Professor Riitta Korpela and Professor Matej Oreič, was the first to characterise the effect of probiotics on global lipidomics profiles. There were indications that probiotic LGG intervention may lead to changes in global lipidomics profiles reflected in decreased LysoGPCho and SM, mainly decreased GPCho and mainly elevated TAG. In addition, among the inflammatory variables, IL-6 was moderately associated by changes in global lipidomics profiles, while there was only a weak association between the lipidomics profiles and the two other inflammatory markers, TNF-αand CRP.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


September 10, 2008, 10:13 PM CT

Bleeding gums linked to heart disease

Bleeding gums linked to heart disease
Bleeding gums and poor dental hygiene can end up causing heart disease, researchers heard today (Thursday 11 September2008) at the Society for General Microbiology's Autumn meeting being held this week at Trinity College, Dublin.

People with poor dental hygiene and those who don't brush their teeth regularly end up with bleeding gums, which provide an entry to the bloodstream for up to 700 different types of bacteria found in our mouths. This increases the risk of having a heart attack, as per microbiologists from the University of Bristol and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

"The mouth is probably the dirtiest place in the human body," said Dr Steve Kerrigan from the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland. "If you have an open blood vessel from bleeding gums, bacteria will gain entry to your bloodstream. When bacteria get into the bloodstream they encounter tiny fragments called platelets that clot blood when you get a cut. By sticking to the platelets bacteria cause them to clot inside the blood vessel, partially blocking it. This prevents the blood flow back to the heart and we run the risk of suffering a heart attack".

The only therapy for this type of disease is aggressive antibiotic treatment, but with the increasing problem of multiple drug resistant bacteria, this option is becoming short lived.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


September 8, 2008, 6:28 PM CT

'Healthy' individuals may be at risk for heart disease

'Healthy' individuals may be at risk for heart disease
In the face of a growing obesity epidemic in the United States, scientists at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center have new study results that indicate that how much fat a person has is not as important as where that fat is located when assessing risk for cardiovascular events and metabolic disease.

"We are facing an obesity epidemic, which obviously affects a number of things metabolic abnormalities, cardiovascular disease, etc.," said Jingzhong Ding, M.D., lead researcher and an assistant professor of gerontology. "Now we are finding out that where the fat is distributed is of high importance."

The findings of the study, funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Institutes of Health, will appear in the recent issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a publication of the American Society for Nutrition.

For the study, scientists used cardiac and Computerized axial tomography scans to measure multiple fat depots in 398 white and black participants from Forsyth County, N.C., ages 47-86. They observed that the amount of fat a person had deposited around organs and in between muscles (nonsubcutaneous fat) had a direct related to the amount of hard, calcified plaque they had. Calcified plaque itself is not considered risky, but it is linked to the development of atherosclerosis, or the presence of less stable, fatty deposits in the blood vessels that can lead to heart attack and stroke.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


September 3, 2008, 7:02 PM CT

Cholesterol drugs lower risk of stroke for elderly too

Cholesterol drugs lower risk of stroke for elderly too
Elderly people who take a cholesterol drug after a stroke or mini-stroke lower their risk of having another stroke just as much as younger people in the same situation, as per research reported in the September 3, 2008, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

"Even though the majority of strokes and heart attacks occur in people who are 65 and older, studies have observed that cholesterol-lowering drugs are not prescribed as often for older people as they are for younger people," said study author Seemant Chaturvedi, MD, of Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. "These results show that using these drugs is just as beneficial for people who are over 65 as they are for younger people".

The study involved 4,731 people age 18 and older who had a recent stroke or transient ischemic attack, or mini-stroke. The 2,249 people age 65 and older were in one group, with an average age of 72, and the 2,482 people under age 65 made up the other group, with an average age of 54. Within each group, about half of the people received the cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin and about half received a placebo. The participants were then followed for an average of four and a half years.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


September 3, 2008, 6:57 PM CT

Defibrillators save lives, don't diminish quality of life

Defibrillators save lives, don't diminish quality of life
Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) reduce the risk of death from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) among patients with heart failure, and they do so without significantly altering a person's quality of life, say scientists from Duke University Medical Center.

The finding from the longest and most comprehensive study to date of ICD use to prevent SCA may go a long way toward easing doctor and patient concerns about the side effects of the treatment.

"Basically, we wanted to find out if ICD treatment improves longevity but only at the cost of worse quality of life," says Dr. Daniel Mark, a heart specialist at Duke and the lead author of the study appearing in the September 4 issue of the New England Journal (NEJM).

The ICD used in the study was a relatively simple model implanted in the upper part of patients' chests on an outpatient basis. An ICD monitors the heartbeat for arrhythmia and delivers a jolt of electricity to restore normal rhythm if needed. Some patients describe the shocks as painful and unsettling, and earlier studies suggested that the mere anticipation of being shocked can cause significant anxiety.

Mark and his colleagues prospectively studied 2521 patients enrolled from 1997 to 2001 in the Sudden Cardiac Death in Heart Failure Trial. All participants received state-of-the-art medical treatment for heart failure. In addition, one third of the patients were randomly assigned to receive an ICD, a second group was assigned to receive the anti-arrhythmia drug amiodarone and a third group took an amiodarone placebo.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


August 31, 2008, 8:20 PM CT

Sex hormones link to heart risk

Sex hormones link to heart risk
Men are more prone to and likely to die of - heart disease compared with women of a similar age and sex hormones are to blame, as per a new University of Leicester led study.

The findings of a study by Dr Maciej Tomaszewski, New Blood Lecturer in Cardiovascular Medicine in the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of Leicester, suggest that this "male disadvantage" may be correlation to the sex-specific effects of naturally occurring sex hormones.

The research by Dr Tomaszewski and colleagues, which has been published on line in the journal Atherosclerosis, involved 933 men aged, on average, 19 years, from the Young Men Cardiovascular Association study. The scientists looked at ways that the sex hormones - estradiol, estrone, testosterone and androstenedione - interacted with three major risk factors of heart disease (cholesterol, blood pressure and weight).

They observed that two of these sex hormones (estradiol and estrone, called together estrogens) are associated with increased levels of bad cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol) and low levels of good cholesterol (HDL-cholesterol) in men.

This suggests that certain sex hormones may be important risk factors of heart disease in men, even before they present symptoms of coronary artery disease or stroke.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


August 31, 2008, 8:18 PM CT

Telmisartan reduces outcome of heart attack or stroke

Telmisartan reduces outcome of heart attack or stroke
Telmisartan
An international study led by Canadian scientists has observed that telmisartan, a medicine used to lower blood pressure, reduced the outcome of cardiovascular death, heart attack or stroke in people who are unable to tolerate a widely available and effective standard therapy.

Dr. Salim Yusuf and Dr. Koon Teo, professors in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University and clinicians at Hamilton Health Sciences, led the study. Today the research results will be published online by The Lancet and presented at this year's European Society of Cardiology Congress in Munich, Gera number of.

ACE inhibitors, or angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors, are widely used and effective medications used to lower blood pressure. They work by helping to widen blood vessels to improve blood flow. Approximately 20 per cent of patients who could benefit from an ACE inhibitor stop taking it because of cough, kidney problems, swelling or symptomatic low blood pressure.

Telmisartan is a type of angiotensin-receptor blocker, or ARB. Like ACE inhibitors, telmisartan also lowers blood pressure, but works in a different manner. ARBs block the receptor sites in the body for angiotensin II, a naturally occurring hormone that constricts blood vessels and increases blood pressure.........

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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