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May 15, 2008, 7:40 PM CT

Doubt on Risk of Death from Higher Salt Intake

Doubt on Risk of Death from Higher Salt Intake
Contrary to long-held assumptions, high-salt diets may not increase the risk of death, as per researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. They reached their conclusion after examining dietary intake among a nationally representative sample of adults in the U.S. The Einstein scientists actually observed a significantly increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD) linked to lower sodium diets. They report their findings in the advance online edition of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

The scientists analyzed data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), which was conducted by the federal government among a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults. These data were then compared against death records that had been collected by the government through the year 2000. The sample of approximately 8,700 represented American adults who were over 30 years of age at the time of the baseline survey (1988-1994) and were not on a special low-salt diet.

After adjusting for known CVD risk factors, such as smoking, diabetes and blood pressure, the one-fourth of the sample who reported consuming the lowest amount of sodium were found to be 80% more likely to die from CVD in comparison to the one-fourth of the sample consuming the highest level of sodium. The risk for death from any cause appeared 24% greater for those consuming lower salt, but this latter difference was not quite large enough to dismiss the role of chance.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


May 12, 2008, 10:09 PM CT

High blood pressure and high cholesterol

High blood pressure and high cholesterol
Hypertension and high cholesterol levels appear to be risk factors for retinal vein occlusion, a condition that causes vision loss, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Retinal vein occlusion occurs when one or more veins carrying blood from the eye to the heart become blocked, as per background information in the article. Bleeding (hemorrhage) or fluid buildup (edema) may follow, damaging vision.

Paul R.A. OMahoney, of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, and his colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 21 previously published studies involving 2,916 individuals with retinal vein occlusion and 28,646 control participants without the condition. The scientists pooled data from all the studies and estimated the population-attributable risk, or the percentage of cases of retinal vein occlusion that could be attributed to high blood pressure (high blood pressure), diabetes and hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol).

Of patients with retinal vein occlusion, 63.6 percent had hypertension, compared with 36.2 percent of controls; those with hypertension had more than 3.5 times the odds of having retinal vein occlusion. High cholesterol levels were more than twice as common among patients with retinal vein occlusion as those without (35.1 percent vs. 16.7 percent), and those with high cholesterol levels had an approximately 2.5-fold higher risk of retinal vein occlusion. Diabetes was slightly more prevalent among those with retinal vein occlusion than among those without (14.6 percent vs. 11.1 percent).........

Posted by: Mike      Read more         Source


May 6, 2008, 9:49 PM CT

Protein to limit heart attack injury

Protein to limit heart attack injury
Medical College of Wisconsin scientists in Milwaukee have demonstrated for the first time that thrombopoietin (TPO), a naturally occurring protein being developed as a pharmaceutical to increase platelet count in cancer patients during chemotherapy, can also protect the heart against injury during a heart attack.

The study, led by John E. Baker PhD, professor of pediatric surgery in the division of cardiothoracic surgery, was reported in the January 2008 issue of Cardiovascular Research. The importance of these findings was underscored in an accompanying editorial.

Currently there are no therapies available to directly protect the heart against the damaging effects of a heart attack. Dr. Bakers team has shown that administering a single dose of TPO to rats during a heart attack decreased the extent of permanent muscle damage to the heart and increased the ability of the heart to function afterwards, when compared with no drug therapy. Additionally, they observed that a single cardioprotective therapy with TPO did not increase platelet count. This novel finding suggests the cardioprotective actions of TPO are separate from its ability to increase platelet count.

Dr. Baker has submitted a US and worldwide patent application on the tissue protective properties of TPO. Dr. Bakers discovery is licensed to Cardiopoietis, a Wisconsin LLC, formed to develop drugs for the therapy of heart attacks.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


May 2, 2008, 8:17 AM CT

Blood pressure killing the world's workers

Blood pressure killing the world's workers
In a todays issue of The Lancet, international health experts call for urgent action from international development banks and pharmaceutical companies to stem the epidemic of blood pressure-related diseases affecting developing countries worldwide.

New findings reveal that each year 8 million people die from heart disease and stroke, the two leading blood pressure-related diseases. The majority of these deaths occur in the developing world where victims are often workers, whose deaths directly result in poverty for families and other dependents. As per the authors these deaths are largely avoidable, but no substantive effort to address this issue has been made by the international development banks or the major drug companies.

Author and Principal Director of The George Institute for International Health in Sydney, Professor Stephen MacMahon said today, Ten years ago, The Global Burden of Disease Project predicted this epidemic, yet none of the key players who determine priorities for international health investment have made any real effort to address the problem. As a consequence in the last decade, blood pressure related diseases have killed more than 50 million people, disabled a number of more and taken billions of dollars from the already fragile economies of the developing world.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


April 30, 2008, 5:26 PM CT

Elderly heart patients with ICD devices live longer

Elderly heart patients with ICD devices live longer
Elderly patients diagnosed with congestive heart failure who receive implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) for primary prevention of sudden cardiac death live longer than those that do not, as per scientists at the University of Pennsylvanias School of Medicine. Further, the health care costs linked to ICDs, while substantial at the time of implantation, do not greatly increase downstream health care costs in this population. The study is among the first to analyze the health outcomes and costs linked to primary prevention ICDs for patients outside of a clinical trial setting.

Scientists examined health care data from a nationally representative sample of 14,250 Medicare beneficiaries over age 66 who were treated for congestive heart failure at over 2,000 academic and community hospitals nationwide. Peter Groeneveld, M.D., M.S., Assistant Professor of General Internal Medicine, and his co-authors reported their findings in the May 2008 issue of the journal Heart Rhythm.

Scientists observed that, on average, patients receiving ICDselectric monitoring devices that deliver a lifesaving shock to the heartfor primary prevention had a 38 percent lower mortality rate than patients who did not. Thirteen percent of patients who received ICDs died in the first year after implantation, compared with 23 percent of patients who did not receive ICDs. During the second year, the gap widened, as 17 percent of ICD recipients died, compared with 29 percent who did not receive the device.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


April 24, 2008, 5:11 AM CT

Heart derived stem cells develop into heart muscle

Heart derived stem cells develop into heart muscle
Dutch scientists at University Medical Center Utrecht and the Hubrecht Institute have succeeded in growing large numbers of stem cells from adult human hearts into new heart muscle cells. A breakthrough in stem cell research. Until now, it was necessary to use embryonic stem cells to make this happen. The findings appear in the latest issue of the journal Stem Cell Research.

The stem cells are derived from material left over from open-heart operations. Scientists at UMC Utrecht used a simple method to isolate the stem cells from this material and reproduce them in the laboratory, which they then allowed to develop. The cells grew into fully developed heart muscle cells that contract rhythmically, respond to electrical activity, and react to adrenaline.

Weve got complete control of this process, and thats unique, says principal investigator Prof. Pieter Doevendans. Were able to make heart muscle cells in unprecedented quantities, and on top of it theyre all the same. This is good news in terms of therapy, as well as for scientific research and testing of potentially new drugs.

Doevendans will use the cultured heart muscle cells to study things like cardiac arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythms). Stem cells from the hearts of patients with genetic heart defects can be grown into heart muscle cells in the lab. Scientists can then study the cells responsible for the condition straight away. They can also be used to test new medicines. This could mean that research into genetic heart conditions can move forward at a much faster pace. In the future, new heart muscle cells can likely be used to repair heart tissue damaged during a heart attack.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


April 21, 2008, 8:09 PM CT

Chocolate bar shown to lower cholesterol

Chocolate bar shown to lower cholesterol
The results of a University of Illinois study have demonstrated an effective way to lower cholesterol levels by eating chocolate bars.

Eating two CocoaVia dark chocolate bars a day not only lowered cholesterol, it had the unexpected effect of also lowering systolic blood pressure, said John Erdman, a U. of I. professor of food science and human nutrition.

The study, funded in part by Mars Inc., the company that makes the bars, was published in this months Journal of Nutrition.

Erdman attributes the drop in cholesterol numbers (total cholesterol by 2 percent and LDL or bad cholesterol by 5.3 percent) to the plant sterols that have been added to the bar and the drop in blood pressure to the flavanols found in dark chocolate.

Erdman says that some people will assume the study is flawed because of Mars funding role.

I know that it was a double-blinded trial that wasnt skewed toward a particular result, said Erdman, who chairs the Mars Scientific Advisory Council. Moreover, the paper was peer-evaluated and reported in the Journal of Nutrition, which ranks in the top 10 percent of all the biological science journals. Mars has spent millions of dollars studying the biological impact of the flavanols found in cocoa beans and learning how to retain their benefits during the refining process, Erdman said.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


April 13, 2008, 9:32 PM CT

Macadamia nuts can be included in heart healthy diet

Macadamia nuts can be included in heart healthy diet
Image courtesy of bfeedme.com
Macadamia nuts included in a heart healthy diet reduced low-density cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and should be included among nuts with qualified health claims, as per researchers.

"We looked at macadamia nuts because they are not currently included in the health claim for tree nuts, while other tree nuts are currently recommended as part of a heart healthy diet," says Dr. Amy E. Griel, a recent Penn State Ph.D. recipient in nutrition and now senior nutrition scientist at The Hershey Company. "Macadamia nuts have higher levels of monosaturated fats, like those found in olive oil compared with other tree nuts".

Along with Brazil nuts and cashews, macadamia nuts are not included in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's list of nuts with qualified health claims because the cut-off point is 4 grams of saturated fat per 50 grams of nuts. Macadamia nuts have 6 grams of saturated fat per 50 grams, cashew nuts have 4.6 grams and Brazil nuts have 7.6 grams of saturated fat per 50 grams of nuts.

"Epidemiological studies showed that people who are frequent nut consumers have decreased risk of heart disease," says Penny Kris-Etherton, co-author and distinguished professor of nutritional sciences.

The scientists used a controlled feeding study to compare a heart-healthy diet with 1.5 ounces a small handful of macadamia nuts to a standard American diet. The participants had slightly elevated cholesterol levels, normal blood pressure and were not taking lipid-lowering drugs. Scientists randomly assigned participants to either the macadamia nut diet or the standard American diet and provided all meals for the participants for five weeks. The participants then switched diets and continued eating only food provided by the scientists for another five weeks.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


April 8, 2008, 10:22 PM CT

Pistachios are smart for the heart

Pistachios are smart for the heart
More good news for pistachio fans! As per new data unveiled this week at the Experimental Biology Conference in San Diego, snacking on pistachios has proved once again to have a positive impact on improving cardiovascular health by significantly reducing inflammation in the body, a prominent cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factor.

CVD remains the number one cause of death in the U.S., with millions more Americans currently living with the disease. A new study, led by researcher Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton from Penn State Universitys Department of Nutritional Sciences, looked at the effects of pistachios on multiple CVD risk factors, some of which include cholesterol, blood pressure and the genetic expression of various genes correlation to inflammation. The study positively supports other recent studies that show a diet rich in pistachios packs a powerful nutrition punch.

Pistachios contain a number of important nutrients that contribute to their positive effect on health. Every new study adds another piece to the puzzle of how eating pistachios may benefit heart health, said Dr. Constance Geiger, nutrition expert for the Western Pistachio Association (WPA).

The Penn State study was a randomized, crossover, controlled study of 28 healthy men and women (ages 30-70) with slightly-elevated cholesterol levels (similar to cholesterol levels of the general population). It tested three cholesterol-lowering diets, one without pistachio consumption and two with varied levels of pistachios in relation to total caloric intake (on average, 1.5 ounces and 3.0 ounces). All diets provided the same amount of saturated fat and cholesterol, but different amounts of unsaturated fat delivered by pistachios. Participants were fed the same diet for two weeks, which served as a baseline before the test diets began. Each subject tested all diets for a period of four weeks, and results were measured after each diet cycle was completed.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


April 6, 2008, 8:07 PM CT

Genes have big impact on blood pressure

Genes have big impact on blood pressure
New Haven, Conn. -Yale University scientists report today in the journal Nature Genetics that they have discovered that rare genetic variants can be linked to a dramatically lower risk of developing hypertension in the general population.

The insight that rare mutations may collectively play a large part in the development of common yet complex diseases such as high blood pressure also has implications for the diagnosis and therapy of diseases such as diabetes and schizophrenia.

The team of scientists was led by Richard Lifton http://www.med.yale.edu/bcmm/RPL/index.html , chair of the Department of Genetics and Sterling Professor of Genetics and Internal Medicine at Yale, and Daniel Levy, director National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's Framingham Heart Study.

The researchers analyzed DNA samples from 3,125 people who participated in the Framingham Heart Study, a long-running epidemiology survey that has led to a treasure trove of information about the causes of heart disease.

They decided to study the health impact of three genes regulating the processing of salt in the kidney and each known to cause dangerously low blood pressure levels when inherited with two defective copies (one from each parent). The scientists speculated that people who carry only one defective copy might be less prone to hypertension.........

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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