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May 30, 2006, 11:03 PM CT

Acetaminophen Safe To Use After Heart Attack

Acetaminophen Safe To Use After Heart Attack
Acetaminophen is safe to use as a pain reliever and fever reducer after a heart attack, but it does not protect the heart muscle, a new study using sheep and rabbits concluded.

The study, using rabbits and sheep, could have implications for people who have suffered heart attacks, about a million people in the U.S. each year, said researcher Robert C. Gorman, a medical doctor and associate professor of surgery at the University of Pennsylvania. "It's a high volume problem," he said.

People who suffer heart attacks need to know which pain relievers are safe to use. Some studies have suggested there is an increased risk of stroke and heart attack among patients taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), Gorman said. And a recent clinical study from Denmark suggested that NSAIDS may increase mortality if taken after a heart attack. NSAIDs are a major class of pain reliever and fever reducer that includes ibuprofen.

Acetaminophen is a popular over-the-counter pain medicine that is an alternative to NSAID and aspirin. It is the active ingredient in Tylenol. Some classify aspirin as an NSAIDs, eventhough Gorman said it is more common to place aspirin in its own separate category.

The study "Role of acetaminophen in acute myocardial infarction," by Bradley G. Leshnower, Hiroaki Sakamoto, Ahmad Zeeshan, Landi M. Parish, Robin Hinmon, Theodore Plappert, Benjamin M. Jackson, Joseph H. Gorman III and Robert C. Gorman, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, will appear in the recent issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology published by The American Physiological Society.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


May 22, 2006, 0:15 AM CT

Desensitization Protocol For Allergy To Clopidogrel

Desensitization Protocol For Allergy To Clopidogrel
A careful desensitization protocol can help patients overcome allergic reactions to anti-clotting medicine critical to preventing new blockages inside coronary stents, as per a research studybeing presented at the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) 29th Annual Scientific Sessions in Chicago, May 10-13. (Time of Presentation: Thursday, May 11, 10:39 a.m. Central Time).

"Allergic reactions can be quite frightening to patients and physicians, and can lead to discontinuation of the medication," said the study's lead author, Nicholas E. Walker, MD, a cardiology fellow at the University of Iowa, Iowa City. "We showed we could successfully and safely desensitize patients who had just recently had a drug-eluting stent placed. That's a critical population to manage."

Perhaps two out of every hundred patients treated with the anti-clotting medicine clopidogrel develop an allergic reaction marked by rash, itching, hives, or swelling of the tongue and airway. A small number of patients even develop an anaphylactic reaction and go into shock.

Physicians generally discontinue a medicine that provokes an allergic reaction and prescribe an alternative. However, in the case of clopidogrel, substitute medications are either just as likely to provoke allergy symptoms or markedly less effective. Stopping the medicine may be riskier than continuing it: Patients who do not take clopidogrel after stenting--especially after receiving a drug-eluting stent--face approximately three times the risk of a blood clot blocking the stent and causing a heart attack.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


May 17, 2006, 10:45 PM CT

Popular Supplement Doesn't Reduce High Cholesterol

Popular Supplement Doesn't Reduce High Cholesterol
Countering prior research, a new study found that the nutritional supplement policosanol wasn't any more effective at lowering cholesterol than a placebo.

"Policosanol had no effects on blood lipids beyond placebo, not even with very high doses," said study author Dr. Heiner Berthold, a professor of clinical pharmacology at the University of Cologne, and executive secretary of the Drug Commission of the German Medical Association, in Berlin.

Policosanol is a natural supplement, usually derived from sugar cane wax. It can also be made from wheat germ, beeswax and rice bran. Policosanol made from Cuban sugar cane is sold commercially in dozens of countries, as per background information in the article. Along with its purported cholesterol-lowering effects, the supplement is also supposed to have antioxidant action and to help keep blood from clotting.

While there have been a number of positive studies documenting policosanol's cholesterol-lowering abilities, the article points out that most of this research was done by a single research group in Cuba.

Because of this, the German research group involved in this study felt there was a need for independent confirmation of the positive findings.

So, they recruited 143 people from 14 different centers in Gera number of. Then, they randomly assigned the study volunteers to five different therapy groups. Twenty percent received a placebo, and the remaining 80 percent were divided into four therapy groups that received either 10, 20, 40 or 80 milligrams of policosanol daily for 12 weeks.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink


May 17, 2006, 0:11 AM CT

Cholesterol-lowering Drugs Do Not Increase Breast Cancer Risk

Cholesterol-lowering Drugs Do Not Increase Breast Cancer Risk
A report being reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that women who took statins--the widely used cholesterol lowering drugs--do not face an increased breast cancer risk as had been suggested by some prior studies. In fact, the study, which was led by a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH), found that women who took hydrophobic statins, named for their inability to dissolve readily in water, had an almost one-fifth lower incidence of invasive breast cancer compared to women who did not take statins.

"At minimum, our findings suggest that women can now be reassured that they are not increasing their risk of developing breast cancer by taking these drugs," said senior author Jane Cauley, Dr.P.H., professor and vice chair for research, department of epidemiology, GSPH. "Eventhough we found that women who took hydrophobic statins actually lowered their breast cancer risk, we believe this finding needs to be confirmed in additional studies."

Dr. Cauley and her co-workers, representing several other research institutions, obtained their findings by analyzing breast cancer incidence over an almost seven-year period among more than 156,000 women enrolled in the long-running Women's Health Initiative study. Of this group of post-menopausal women, 11,710 were statin users; with about 30 percent taking a hydrophilic, or water soluble, statin, and the remaining 70 percent taking a hydrophobic statin.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


May 11, 2006, 0:22 AM CT

Nanotechnology To Treat Heart Disease

Nanotechnology To Treat Heart Disease
A new tactic in the battle against cardiovascular disease - employing nanoengineered molecules called "nanolipoblockers" as frontline infantry against harmful cholesterol - is showing promise in early laboratory studies at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

In a paper scheduled for publication June 12 in the American Chemical Society's journal Biomacromolecules and now appearing on that journal's Web site, Rutgers scientists propose a way to combat clogged arteries by attacking how bad cholesterol triggers inflammation and causes plaque buildup at specific blood vessel sites. Their approach contrasts with today's statin drug treatment, which aims to reduce the amount of low density lipids, or LDLs ("bad" cholesterol), throughout the body.

In an ironic twist, the Rutgers approach aims to thwart a biological process that is typically beneficial and necessary. Prabhas Mogue, the principal investigator and associate professor of biomedical engineering and chemical and biochemical engineering at Rutgers, said that vascular plaque and inflammation develop when certain forms of LDL are attacked by white blood cells that scavenge cellular debris and disease agents. "While these scavengers, called macrophages, perform an essential role in keeping organisms healthy, their interaction with highly oxidized LDL molecules has quite the opposite effect," he said.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


May 10, 2006, 0:13 AM CT

Get More Hypertensive Patients To Goal

Get More Hypertensive Patients To Goal
This World High blood pressure Day, the results of a global survey are being announced, uncovering alarming gaps between current and recommended high blood pressure management, and important insights into doctor awareness of the importance of blood pressure goal achievement.

In response to the Close The Gap survey findings, the World High blood pressure League is supporting a call for better awareness of the importance of hypertension patients reaching the internationally-recognised goal of 140/90mmHg or lower.

At the moment, around 50-70% of the one billion people with hypertension worldwide remain above this goal, leaving them at significant risk of coronary artery disease, heart failure, stroke, vascular and kidney damage1,2.

Dr Claude Lenfant, President of the World High blood pressure League, commented on the survey findings, "Viewed simply, for every 20/10mmHg rise in blood pressure above this level, the risk of death from cardiovascular problems doubles3. International guidelines have set a clear goal - every patient with high blood pressure needs to have their blood pressure reduced to 140mmHg or below".

The Close The Gap survey, conducted with 1,259 primary care physicians across 17 countries, compared physicians' perceptions against the reality of current high blood pressure management.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink


May 8, 2006, 11:54 PM CT

Smokers Seven Times More Likely To Receive Jolt From Heart Devices

Smokers Seven Times More Likely To Receive Jolt From Heart Devices
If some patients with heart disease don't take their doctor's advice to quit smoking, they are probably going to get "shocking" reminders. A study conducted at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that heart patients who had implanted defibrillators and also smoked were seven times more likely to have the devices jolt their hearts back into normal rhythm than nonsmokers with the devices. When the devices fire, it can feel like a thump or even a strong kick to the chest.

"Eleven percent of cardiovascular deaths are correlation to smoking, and prior studies have shown that decreasing or quitting smoking is in itself a very effective treatment for patients with heart disease," says J. Mauricio Sánchez, M.D., lead author of the study, which was reported in the April 2006 issue of Heart Rhythm.

"But if having heart disease isn't enough to make patients want to stop smoking," continues Sánchez, a cardiology fellow in the cardiovascular division, "the evidence from our study should definitely add a strong argument to quit."

Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) are self-contained units that are placed within the chest to monitor heart rhythms and deliver electrical charges directly to heart muscle to correct abnormal rhythms. Abnormal rhythms can occur without warning, and some can cause death rapidly if no action is taken. A recent study demonstrated that ICDs decreased the risk of death by 23 percent in patients with congestive heart failure.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


May 6, 2006, 3:09 PM CT

Placental Growth Factor May Help Body Repair Heart Attack Damage

Placental Growth Factor May Help Body Repair Heart Attack Damage
Heart attack patients produce higher levels of a natural substance in the body that plays a role in the growth of new blood vessels and this over-expression of placental growth factor (PlGF) may help reduce damage to the heart muscle, as per a new study in the April 18, 2006, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

"Because the degree of PlGF production released from the heart after a heart attack correlated with the improvement of cardiac function, we think PlGF becomes a potential therapy of myocardial infarction. Furthermore, prior studies have shown that PlGF enhances angiogenesis and arteriogenesis in ischemic tissue, also PlGF appears to promote mobilization of flt-1-positive hematopoietic stem cells from bone marrow to the peripheral circulation. We have started further experiments to evaluate this hypothesis," said Shiro Uemura, M.D. from the Nara Medical University in Kashihara, Japan.

The researchers, including first author Hajime Iwama, M.D., compared 55 heart attack patients to 43 control subjects. The heart attack patients had significantly higher levels of PlGF than the healthy subjects. Also, the patients with higher levels of PlGF three days after a heart attack had lower left ventricular ejection fractions, indicating more heart muscle damage. The scientists wrote that it is likely that the degree of injury is a key determinant of how much PlGF the body produces.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


May 3, 2006, 0:14 AM CT

Heart Risks From Vioxx Happen Much Earlier Than Believed

Heart Risks From Vioxx Happen Much Earlier Than Believed
A new study led by Queen's University researcher Linda Levesque shows that heart attacks correlation to the use of Vioxx - a drug once popular for the therapy of pain and inflammation - can occur within the first two weeks of use.

A quarter of patients who suffered a heart attack while taking Vioxx did so within the first two weeks of their first Vioxx prescription, says Prof. Levesque, of Queen's Department of Community Health and Epidemiology. "This demonstrates that cardiovascular risks from taking Vioxx may occur much earlier than previously believed."

Conducted with McGill University scientists James Brophy and Bin Zhang, the findings will be published on-line May 2 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

"Our prior study on COX-2 inhibitors, which included Vioxx and Celebrex, evaluated whether there was an increased risk of heart attack while taking these medications; the answer was yes for Vioxx," explains Prof. Levesque. In the current study, funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), the pattern of cardiovascular risk in Quebec seniors was assessed over a three-year period.

The additional cardiovascular risk actually decreased with longer duration of use, suggesting that the period of highest susceptibility for most people taking Vioxx may occur earlier than previously believed. The study also documents that cardiovascular risk returns to normal within one month of stopping the drug.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


April 30, 2006, 11:25 PM CT

New Gene Associated With Abnormal Heart Rhythm

New Gene Associated With Abnormal Heart Rhythm
Using a new genomic strategy that has the power to survey the entire human genome and identify genes with common variants that contribute to complex diseases, scientists at Johns Hopkins, together with researchers from Munich, Gera number of, and the Framingham Heart Study, U.S.A., have identified a gene that may predispose some people to abnormal heart rhythms that lead to sudden cardiac death, a condition affecting more than 300 thousand Americans each year.

The gene called NOS1AP, not previously flagged by or suspected from more traditional gene-hunting approaches, appears to influence significantly one particular risk factor - the so-called QT interval length - for sudden cardiac death. The work will be published online at Nature Genetics on April 30.

"In addition to finding a genetic variant that could be of clinical value for sudden cardiac death, this study also demonstrates how valuable large-scale genomics studies can be in detecting novel biological targets," says the study's senior author, Aravinda Chakravarti, Ph.D., director of the McKusick-Nathans Institute for Genetic Medicine at Hopkins. "This study, conducted during the early days of a new technology, would have been impossible without the pioneering support of the D.W. Reynolds Foundation in their generous support of our clinical program in sudden cardiac death here at Hopkins".........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         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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