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April 29, 2007, 4:52 PM CT

Reducing Salt To Reduced Cardiovascular Disease

Reducing Salt To Reduced Cardiovascular Disease
Reducing sodium intake not only prevents high blood pressure, but also prevents heart disease, as per new clinical trial data from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. Men and women with pre-high blood pressure who reduced their sodium intake by 25 to 35 percent had a 25 percent lower risk of total cardiovascular disease over the 10 to 15 years after they reduced their sodium intake.

"The Long-term Effects of Dietary Sodium Reduction on Cardiovascular Disease Outcomes: Observational Follow-up of the Trials of High blood pressure Prevention," is published online on April 20, 2007 by the British Medical Journal.

Two Trials of High blood pressure Prevention were conducted in 10 clinical sites in 1987-1990 and 1990-1995, with follow up for10 to 15 years after that. Through dietary and behavioral intervention, participants in the trials achieved average dietary sodium reductions of 25 to35 percent lower than their average intake before the trial. Both trials observed that the reductions in sodium intake prevented high blood pressure. This new follow-up data shows that the groups who reduced their sodium intake also had lower mortality from cardiovascular disease. Mail questionnaires during the follow-up period suggested that some of the dietary changes are long-lasting, despite the difficulty in avoiding high-sodium foods in the United States.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source

March 27, 2007, 9:56 PM CT

Higher Trans Fat And Risk Of Heart Disease

Higher Trans Fat And Risk Of Heart Disease
High consumption of trans fat, found mainly in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and widely used by the food industry, has been associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). New York and Philadelphia have passed measures eliminating its use in restaurants, and other cities are considering similar bans. A new study from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) provides the strongest association to date between trans fat and heart disease. It observed that women in the U.S. with the highest levels of trans fat in their blood had three times the risk of CHD as those with the lowest levels. The study was published online on March 26, 2007, and will appear in the April 10, 2007 print issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

"The strength of this study is that the amount of trans fatty acid levels was measured in blood samples from the study population. Because humans cannot synthesize trans fatty acids, the amount of trans fat in red blood cells is an excellent biomarker of trans fat intake," said senior author Frank Hu, associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at HSPH.

Clinical trials have shown that trans fatty acids increase LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol, making them the only class of fatty acids, which includes saturated fat, to have this dual effect. HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is considered a "good" cholesterol; LDL (low-density lipoprotein) a "bad" cholesterol.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source

March 25, 2007, 9:05 PM CT

Low-dose aspirin beats high-dose

Low-dose aspirin beats high-dose
The use of medicines to fight cardiovascular disease has been a primary focus of research in this area for the past several decades, as combinations of interventions and medicinal treatment have gradually begun to increase long-term survival rates. Two studies presented today at the American College of Cardiology's 56th Annual Scientific Session look at the measurable impact of the use of aspirin and other maintenance therapies, and one demonstrates that lower doses of therapies may prove to be just as beneficial while also lowering side effects. ACC.07 is the premier cardiovascular medical meeting, bringing together heart specialists and cardiovascular specialists to further breakthroughs in cardiovascular medicine.

"Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death today, and the major focus of research is to find better ways to help these patients through prevention, immediate intervention and long-term therapy regimens," said Douglas P. Zipes, M.D., Distinguished Professor of the Indiana University School of Medicine. "As we continue to discover the benefits of these therapies, we expect to see continued and measurable improvements in overall survival and quality of life".

Effects of Aspirin dose on Ischemic Events and Bleeding after Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI): Insights from the PCI-CURE Study (Presentation Number: 2805-9).........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source

March 25, 2007, 8:46 PM CT

Issues In Pediatric Cardiology

Issues In Pediatric Cardiology
Heart problems in children are quite different from those in adults, and four studies presented today at the American College of Cardiologys 56th Annual Scientific Session look at how pediatric heart specialists take different approaches to better understand and manage cardiovascular disease in this population, including insights into fundamental cardiac mechanisms and testing of new procedures. ACC.07 is the premier cardiovascular medical meeting, bringing together heart specialists and cardiovascular specialists to further breakthroughs in cardiovascular medicine.

"Congenital heart disease is one of the most common birth defects seen in the United States today, and it is important we continue supporting research that will improve the diagnosis and therapy of infants, children and young adults with these problems, said Roberta Williams, M.D., of the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. These studies show how a better understanding of new technologies can save lives and establish a better quality of life for children living with cardiovascular disorders.

Long-term Follow-up of Stents Placed in Infants with Congenital Heart Disease (Presentation Number 1017-27).

Stents have been credited with saving thousands of lives by treating blocked coronary arteries. While the implantation of balloon-expandable stents in infants has been shown to be technically feasible, there is essentially no long-term data showing that this therapy remains effective as an infant grows. In order to determine the benefits of stent implantation in infants, scientists from Miami Childrens Hospital in Florida conducted a retrospective analysis on the earliest consecutive series of infants who underwent stent placement between October 1995 and December 1999.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source

March 25, 2007, 7:06 PM CT

Novel therapy for lipid disorders shows mixed results

Novel therapy for lipid disorders shows mixed results
Preliminary research suggests that use of a novel, potent drug to treat cholesterol disorders decreases triglycerides and increases HDL-C, the "good" cholesterol, but also raises some safety concerns, as per a research studyin the March 28 issue of JAMA. The study is being released early to coincide with its presentation at the American College of Cardiology's annual conference.

Several different classes of drugs are used to treat lipid disorders. Fibrates reduce the liver's production of a triglyceride-carrying particle and speed up removal of triglycerides from the blood. Statins reduce cholesterol levels by inhibiting an enzyme that produces cholesterol in the liver. New, more potent and selective medications are being developed to treat lipid disorders within the class of drugs known according tooxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-alpha agonists - drugs that turn on one of several cellular switches, as per background information in the article. None of the new PPAR-alpha agonists has achieved regulatory approval.

Steven E. Nissen, M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner School of Medicine, Cleveland, and his colleagues conducted two multi-center, randomized trials to examine the safety and efficacy of a PPAR-alpha agonist known as LY518674. In one study, 309 patients with atherogenic dyslipidemia (elevated triglycerides and low HDL-C) received LY518674 (in one of 4 doses, 10, 25, 50 or 100 micrograms), placebo, or the fibrate drug fenofibrate. In the other study, 304 patients with hypercholesterolemia (elevated LDL-C, the "bad" cholesterol) received placebo or the statin drug atorvastatin for four weeks, then placebo or LY518674 (in one of 2 doses, 10 or 50 micrograms) for 12 more weeks. The patients were randomized between August 2005 and August 2006.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source

February 24, 2007, 9:05 PM CT

Irregular Heartbeat Linked To Genetic Mutation

Irregular Heartbeat Linked To Genetic Mutation
Every day for 10 years, a seemingly heart-healthy 53-year-old woman experienced rapid and irregular heartbeats. She had no personal or family history of high blood pressure or hyperthyroidism. She did not suffer from myocardial or coronary artery disease, or any abnormalities of the heart as best doctors and medical science could determine. Yet, she complained of heart palpitations and dizziness nearly to the point of fainting.

For the patient in this case study, her symptoms first appeared 10 years ago and they persisted through the years. The symptoms peaked in the morning and occurred more frequently as time went on. Doctors prescribed medication, but it proved to be ineffective.

As a next step, Mayo Clinic doctor scientists explored and confirmed the presence of a genetic mutation that clearly established an inherited predisposition to atrial fibrillation.

Their study findings appear in the February issue of Nature Clinical Practice Cardiovascular Medicine

"Why certain patients develop atrial fibrillation while others do not, despite comparable environmental stress exposure, might ultimately depend on their genetic makeup," the authors write.

Atrial fibrillation is recognized more often in the elderly who have underlying structural heart disease. But in this study, Mayo Clinic scientists address the gene-based form of atrial fibrillation that affects younger people who do not otherwise harbor risk factors for the disease. The case was in comparison to 2,000 individuals who did not carry the mutation or suffer from atrial fibrillation.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source

February 23, 2007, 4:56 AM CT

Caffeine may prevent heart disease death

Caffeine may prevent heart disease death
Habitual intake of caffeinated beverages provides protection against heart disease mortality in the elderly, say scientists at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and Brooklyn College.

Using data from the first federal National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Epidemiologic Follow-up Study, the scientists observed that survey participants 65 or more years old with higher caffeinated beverage intake exhibited lower relative risk of coronary vascular disease and heart mortality than did participants with lower caffeinated beverage intake.

John Kassotis, MD, associate professor of medicine at SUNY Downstate, said, "The protection against death from heart disease in the elderly afforded by caffeine is likely due to caffeine's enhancement of blood pressure." .

The protective effect also was found to be dose-responsive: the higher the caffeine intake the stronger the protection. The protective effect was found only in participants who were not severely hypertensive. No significant protective effect was in patients below the age of 65.

No protective effect was found against cerebrovascular disease mortality death from stroke regardless of age.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source

January 31, 2007, 8:33 PM CT

Doing Surgery on a Beating Heart

Doing Surgery on a Beating Heart
As per a review of the latest clinical trials, coronary artery bypass surgery performed on a beating heart, without the aid of a heart-lung machine, is a safe option that leads to fewer negative side effects for bypass patients. This review is featured in Journal of Cardiac Surgery.

"Previously, it was more common for doctors to perform artery bypass surgery on the heart by stopping the heart and passing the blood through a heart-lung machine," says author Dr. Shahzad Raja. "However, this process frequently leads to 'whole body inflammation,' which includes complications such as brain swelling, heart arrhythmia and infections." As per Raja, performing the surgery on the beating heart, while more technically challenging for the surgeon, keeps these side effects low and allows for a quicker recovery.

"If the surgeons are skilled enough to perform the surgery without stopping the heart, it can be offered to high-risk patients who would not be likely to survive the side effects of the traditional stopped-heart method," says Raja. "For this reason, quality training needs to be provided for those surgeons who wish to offer this option to their patients".........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source

January 28, 2007, 8:56 PM CT

100 Percent Juices Beneficial To Health

100 Percent Juices Beneficial To Health
When it comes to some of today's health issues, 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices do help reduce risk factors correlation to certain diseases.

This conclusion is the result of a European study designed to question traditional thinking that 100 percent juices play a less significant role in reducing risk for both cancer and cardiovascular disease than whole fruits and vegetables.

Juices are comparable in their ability to reduce risk in comparison to their whole fruit/vegetable counterparts say several scientists in the United Kingdom who conducted the literature review. The scientists analyzed a variety of studies that looked at risk reduction attributed to the effects of both fiber and antioxidants. As a result, they determined that the positive impact fruits and vegetables offer come not from just the fiber but also from antioxidants which are present in both juice and the whole fruit and vegetables.

This 2006 review of the literature states, "When considering cancer and coronary heart disease prevention, there is no evidence that pure fruit and vegetable juices are less beneficial than whole fruit and vegetables." The scientists add that the positioning of juices as being nutritionally inferior to whole fruits and vegetables in relationship to chronic disease development is "unjustified" and that policies which suggest otherwise about fruit and vegetable juices should be re-examined.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

January 11, 2007, 9:07 PM CT

Intervention Can Cut Job Stress

Intervention Can Cut Job Stress
A simple workplace intervention can reduce the impact of stress on the heart, scientists reported in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Office workers who faced layoffs - a significant stress-inducer - were able to achieve small, but significant changes in heart rate variability and a small decrease in arterial blood pressure by participating in a stress management program at work.

After participating in the year-long stress management program, workers' scores on a test that measures perceived stress were significantly lower than baseline scores. Moreover, workers said they felt less tired than they did before the stress management training.

"And we were able to achieve these results in a working environment, without impinging on productivity, and with zero cost to the company," said Massimo Pagani, M.D., senior author of the study and professor of medicine at the University of Milan in Italy.

Job-related stress is one of several factors that may increase the risk of heart attack. So by addressing stress "at work, where stress occurs, rather than in a clinic, we may be able to prevent these workers from becoming patients," Pagani said.

Scientists recruited 91 office workers at a DuPont subsidiary in Italy which was downsizing its workforce by 10 percent. The average age of the volunteers was 40 years of age, 59 were men, who were, on average, normal weight with a body mass index (BMI) of 24 kg/m2. All of the volunteers said they were experiencing work-related stress.........

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. Archives of heart-watch-blog

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