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Marital Harmony And Heart Health
Those are key findings of a study of 150 healthy, older, married couples - mostly in their 60s - conducted by Professor Tim Smith and other psychology experts from the University of Utah. Smith was scheduled to present the findings Friday March 3 in Denver during the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society, which deals with the influence of psychological factors on physical health.
"Women who are hostile are more likely to have atherosclerosis [hardening of the coronary arteries], particularly if their husbands are hostile too," Smith says. "The levels of dominance or control in women or their husbands are not correlation to women's heart health."
"In men, the hostility - their own or their wives hostility during the interaction - wasn't correlation to atherosclerosis," he adds. "But their dominance or controlling behavior - or their wives dominance - was correlation to atherosclerosis in husbands." Smith summarizes: "A low-quality relationship is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease."
Smith conducted the study with University of Utah psychology experts Cynthia Berg, a professor; Bert Uchino and Paul Florsheim, both associate professors; and Gale Pearce, a Utah postdoctoral fellow now on the faculty of Westminster College in Salt Lake City.........
Posted by: Janet Permalink Source
Procedure works for irregular heartbeat
In the March 2 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, scientists from the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center and the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, Italy report the results of a rigorous study of radiofrequency catheter ablation for the chronic form of the most common heart-rhythm disorder: atrial fibrillation.
Eventhough the therapy has shown promise for several years in studies by U-M scientists and others, the new paper gives conclusive evidence of catheter ablation's positive effects on heart rhythm, symptoms, quality of life and heart function -- even in the most difficult-to-treat chronic atrial fibrillation patients.
In all, 74 percent of study participants who had the procedure were free of their irregular heartbeat a year afterward, and did not need rhythm-regulating drugs. They reported a steep drop in the severity of symptoms, and their hearts' left upper chambers returned to normal size. No side effects were reported, though some of the patients needed a second procedure to fully treat their heart rhythm disturbance.
"We have shown objectively, and with rigorous follow-up, that this procedure is a very good option for patients with symptomatic, chronic atrial fibrillation who otherwise may have to live with atrial fibrillation for the rest of their lives," says lead author Hakan Oral, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at the U-M Medical School and member of a U-M Cardiovascular Center team that has treated more than 2,000 atrial fibrillation patients using catheter ablation.........
Posted by: Daniel Permalink Source
Medical Device Combines Wireless and MEMS Technology
Deborah McGee of CardioMEMS examines an EndoSure sensor in the company's clean room facility in the ATDC Biosciences Center located at Georgia Tech's Environmental Science and Technology Building. The sensor is implanted to measure pressure in an aneurism being treated by a stent graft. Georgia Tech Photo: Gary MeekWinning a thumbs-up from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, CardioMEMS Inc. has launched its EndoSure- sensor, which makes testing safer and more convenient for aneurysm patients.
Based on intellectual property from the Georgia Institute of Technology, EndoSure is the first implantable pressure sensor that combines wireless and microelectromechanical system (MEMS) technology to receive FDA clearance.
"This is a significant milestone that validates our product is safe and relevant," says David Stern, CardioMEMS' chief executive, noting that the FDA based its 510(k) clearance on results from an international clinical study involving more than 100 hospital patients in the United States as well as Brazil, Argentina and Canada.
Better results, less hassle.
Officially known as the EndoSure Wireless AAA Pressure Measurement System, CardioMEMs' innovative device measures blood pressure in people who have an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Ruptures from this weakening of the lower aorta rank as the 13th leading cause of death in the United States. Although doctors can treat the bulging artery with a stent graft, stents can fail, so aneurysm patients require lifetime monitoring.
Yet traditional testing methods, such as CT scans, are expensive and time-consuming. What's more, CT scans are limited in scope because they only reveal the size of an aneurysm. In contrast, the EndoSure monitors pressure inside the aneurysm sac - the most important measurement for doctors to know.........
Posted by: Scott Permalink Source
Rimonabant Helps To Lose Weight
Approximately two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese, which greatly increases the risk of developing diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease and death from related causes. Scientists think that besides weight loss, obesity management should target improvement in certain cardiometabolic risk factors, which include abnormal cholesterol and glucose (blood sugar) levels and excess weight around the waist, as per background information in the article. Long-term weight management remains a challenge for patients and clinicians.
F. Xavier Pi-Sunyer, M.D., of St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, and his colleagues evaluated the efficacy and safety of the weight-loss medicine rimonabant in conjunction with diet and exercise in promoting reductions in body weight and waist circumference, long-term weight maintenance, and reduction of cardiometabolic risk factors in obese and higher risk overweight patients. The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, conducted from August 2001 to April 2004, included 3,045 adults who were obese (body mass index 30 or greater) or overweight (body mass index greater than 27 and treated or untreated high blood pressure [high blood pressure] or dyslipidemia [abnormal levels of certain lipids and lipoproteins in the blood]). Patients were randomized to receive placebo, 5 mg/d of rimonabant, or 20 mg/d of rimonabant for 1 year. Rimonabant-treated patients were re-randomized to receive placebo or continued to receive the same rimonabant dose while the placebo group continued to receive placebo during year 2.........
Posted by: JoAnn Permalink Source
Revolutionary New Heart Valve For Children
UCLA Engineering professor Gregory Carman (right) and Dr. Daniel Levi of UCLA’s Mattel Children’s Hospital (left)Children with congenital heart defects may soon have an alternative to invasive open-heart surgery that will mean less time in the hospital, a quicker recovery and no need to break open the breastbone, thanks to a new collaboration between scientists at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science and pediatric cardiologists at Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA.
Using a super-elastic, shape-memory metal alloy called "thin film nitinol," UCLA engineers are developing a collapsible heart valve for children that can be loaded into a catheter, inserted into a vein in the groin area, guided into place and then deployed in a precise location within the heart. As the valve is released from the catheter, it springs back to its original shape and begins to function.
"What is really novel about the valve UCLA Engineering has created is the memory-retaining alloy and butterfly design that opens or hinges from the middle of the valve rather than the edges," said UCLA mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Gregory Carman, who, along with UCLA researcher Lenka Stepan, crafted the valve. "The unobtrusive leaflets within the valve mean there is no obstruction to blood flow. This smaller, low-profile design is well suited for children and, over time, will potentially allow children born with heart valve defects to experience less pain and live much fuller lives".........
Posted by: JoAnn Permalink Source
Heart Disease-glucose Connection
Cardiovascular disease includes coronary heart disease, stroke, angina and peripheral vascular disease. Currently, doctors consider a glucose level of 100 or less to be normal, 101-126 to be impaired and above 126 to be diabetic.
"Our findings suggest that for men with cardiovascular disease, there is apparently no 'normal' blood sugar level," said Sidney Port, UCLA professor emeritus of mathematics and statistics, and lead author of the study. "For these men, across the normal range, the lower their blood sugar, the better. Their death rate over a two-year period soars from slightly more than 4 percent at a glucose level of 70 (mg/dl) to more than 12 percent at 100 (mg/dl) -- an enormous increase."
Surprisingly, however, and contrary to conventional belief, above 100 (mg/dl), their risk does not seem to change -- it stays at the same high level -- no matter how high above the normal range, Port said. Their death rate at 100 and 150 is the same. Eventhough these data suggest that blood sugar for men with cardiovascular disease should be as low as possible, co-author Mark Goodarzi, assistant professor-in-residence at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Division of Endocrinology, cautions that their study by no means proves that deliberately lowering glucose would reduce mortality.........
Posted by: JoAnn Permalink Source
February 6, 2006, 7:32 AM CT
Double Your Quit Rate By Wearing Nicotine Patch
In a study of 96 smokers attempting to quit, 50 percent of those who wore the patch two weeks previous to quitting had stopped at four weeks. Only 23 percent of smokers who wore a placebo patch two weeks previous to quitting had stopped after four weeks. The same pattern appeared to continue for six months, eventhough a number of of the study participants were no longer reachable to verify this trend, said the researchers.
If these findings are confirmed by a larger study currently underway, the scientists said the Food and Drug Administration may need to re-evaluate its current warning against smoking while wearing the nicotine patch. Moreover, said the researchers, such confirmation would lead them to advocate a change in clinical practice in smoking cessation programs, to include use of the patches before cessation.
Results of the study, funded by National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), are reported in the Feb. 1, 2006, issue of the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.
The Duke scientists said that wearing a nicotine patch before a smoker attempts to quit provides a steady, consistent source of nicotine that interrupts the rapid reward of inhaling nicotine via cigarettes.........
Posted by: Janet Permalink
January 26, 2006, 12:52 AM CT
'Vioxx like' drugs may still be best option for arthritis
They argue that eventhough this class of drugs, which includes Vioxx, has been associated with an increase in the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes in some patients, the same may be true for traditional non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
All NSAIDs, including COX-2 inhibitors, work by blocking the actions of both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. Blocking COX-2 relieves inflammation and pain, but blocking COX-1 can increase the risk of gastric ulcers and bleeds. For this reason COX-2 selective drugs were developed with the simple aim that they would retain the therapeutic actions of NSAIDs (linked to inhibition of COX-2) but lose the gastric side effects (linked to inhibition of COX-1).
The scientists reviewed over one hundred papers on the subject and looked at the latest recommendations from organisations such as the American Federal Drugs Administration on the use of COX-2 inhibitors and NSAIDs.
The scientists point out that the calls for the removal of COX-2 inhibitors, and a return to using NSAIDs, may cause additional problems. Eventhough NSAIDs have been marketed for many years, they have never been mandatory to meet the clinical trial standards now set for COX-2 inhibitors, meaning they may not be any safer.........
Posted by: Mark Permalink
January 15, 2006, 5:45 PM CT
Amino Acid Supplement Following A Heart Attack
L-arginine is a widely available dietary supplement and is publicized as having benefits for patients with hypertension, angina, heart failure and sexual dysfunction, according to background information in the article. Previous studies suggest that L-arginine has the potential to reduce vascular (blood vessel) stiffness.
Steven P. Schulman, M.D., of Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, and his colleagues conducted the Vascular Interaction with Age in Myocardial Infarction (VINTAGE MI) clinical trial to test whether administering L-arginine to patients following a first ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI; a certain pattern on an electrocardiogram following a heart attack) over a 6-month period would decrease vascular stiffness and improve ejection fraction (a measure of how much blood the left ventricle of the heart pumps out with each contraction).
The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial included 153 STEMI patients; 77 were 60 years or older. Participants were enrolled from February 2002 to June 2004. Patients were randomly assigned to receive L-arginine (goal dose of 3 g three times a day) or matching placebo for six months.........
Posted by: Daniel Permalink
January 15, 2006, 5:34 PM CT
Low-fat Diets And Weight Change
"Unfortunately, the public has become so entrenched in current obesity prevalence and therapy trends that a number of have come to view lifestyle modification as a mediocre means of preventing and reversing obesity, but this could not be further from the truth. A number of have accepted the belief that living in today's society is incompatible with what is mandatory to apply changes in lifestyle, or even worse-that they barely work. Inadequate lifestyle counseling by physicians might contribute to this perception. However, most able-bodied persons who can find a way to overcome the monumental logistical and psychological barriers that prevent the full application of lifestyle change can reverse obesity within months. It seems simplistic, but a potential solution for the obesity crisis depends directly on finding a means of properly dosing lifestyle change recommendations. The medical profession and society in general have underdosed this potent cure by a long shot."
"Even though the WHI Dietary Modification Trial was not a weight-loss study, the modest weight-loss findings somehow still seem dissatisfying. Much more work needs to be done on the obesity front, including a concerted collective effort focused on developing reliable methods of facilitating high long-term adherence levels to substantial lifestyle efforts-specifically calorie-reduced eating patterns and much more exercise. That is something on which health advocates and popular diet proponents can agree," the authors conclude.
Posted by: JoAnn Permalink
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Did you know?
An advanced study launched at Yale School of Medicine is evaluating the role of statin therapy in patients with heart failure, one of the leading causes of hospitalization in people over age 65.While statins-drugs that inhibit cholesterol production in the liver-are used primarily to lower cholesterol levels, there is evidence that these drugs may also have beneficial effects on blood vessel function independent of cholesterol levels. Heart failure patients are known to have vascular dysfunction, but are impaired and not routinely considered for statin therapy. The Yale trial, "Short Term Effects of Statin on Vascular Function in Heart Failure," will assess vascular function before and after a short course of statin therapy in heart failure patients with normal cholesterol levels. The randomized trial will include 30 patients with mild to moderate chronic heart failure.
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