Jul 27, 2009 | 15
The first person to receive a new cardiac stem cell treatment in a U.S. Food and Drug Administration clinical trial is doing well, it was announced last week.
On Friday, doctors at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, in collaboration with the nearby Jewish Hospital, issued a press release stating that one week after treatment, Mike Jones’s heart was getting stronger.
Jones, whose heart tissue is permanently scarred and weakened by two previous heart attacks, suffers from congestive heart failure, a condition affecting about five million Americans each year, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Jul 14, 2009 | 8
Fourteen years after a risky operation to save the life of an infant suffering heart failure, a team of U.K. doctors is claiming success. Hannah Clark (now aged 16)—who as a baby had a donor heart grafted onto her own—has made a full recovery, three years after the transplanted organ was removed, the doctors claim in an article published online today by The Lancet.
The "full recovery" part comes from the fact that Clark no longer needs to take immunosuppression medication that caused her to suffer from a type of cancer called Epstein-Barr-virus-associated post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (EBV PTLD), report the authors, who include Victor Tsang, a pediatric cardiac surgery specialist, and Magdi Yacoub, a professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Imperial College London (both led the surgery in February 2006).
Apr 17, 2009 | 3
Take heart: there's a new way to detect whether someone has suffered a so-called silent heart attack, one in which vessels to the ticker become blocked but there are few of the typical telltale signs such as chest pain. The bad news: it appears that more people than previously believed are suffering from these unrecognized myocardial infarctions, according to a new study.
Silent heart attacks cause vague symptoms such as shortness of breath or heartburn-like sensations that usually fade with time, often leading victims – and even physicians – to assume they were nothing serious. The potential danger: the victims are more likely to die from future heart attacks, irregular heart rhythms, and other heart-related ailments but may take no additional precautions.
Apr 3, 2009 | 3
Even though heart attacks may not be deadly, they can leave your ticker damaged. The reason: they occur when blood flow to a section of heart muscle becomes blocked. If the flow of blood isn't restored quickly, a section of the heart muscle becomes damaged from the lack of oxygen and begins to die, weakening its ability to pump blood.
Researchers have long wondered whether such damage could be reversed, that is, whether hobbled heart muscle cells could regenerate — potentially affecting the ability of scientists to hatch ways to repopulate damaged heart tissue. A study in Science today confirms that some heart muscle cells do, in fact, regenerate slowly over the course of a person's lifetime. Scientists from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden report that in early adulthood, we're continually renewing about 1 percent of our heart cells a year; that regeneration slows down, but it still occurs in old age, with a little less than half of 1 percent of cells regenerating at age 75. All told, we've renewed about 40 percent of our heart cells by age 70, neuroscientist Jonas Frisén told Science in a podcast.
Mar 16, 2009 | 1
Few things are more frustrating than being stuck in traffic, and now a new study says that it may also triple your risk of having a heart attack.
The study, released Friday at the American Heart Association's Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention (in Palm Harbor, Fla.), adds weight to a growing body of evidence that traffic hikes heart attack risk, says lead study author Annette Peters, an epidemiologist at the Institute of Epidemiology at Helmholtz Zentrum Muchen in Munich, Germany. The reason? Not sure, Peters says. But she speculates that fine particles spewed from car exhaust pipes are likely culprits. These pollutants can penetrate lung tissue and enter the bloodstream, potentially causing clots. There is also evidence that inhaling smog speeds up the heart rate, which may also up the odds of suffering a heart attack, Peters says.
Feb 10, 2009 | 1
Cholesterol-lowering statins are the best-selling class of drugs in the country. But as their pool of takers has expanded, critics have complained that the meds, while effective in reducing heart attacks and strokes, haven’t been proved to save lives.
But new research, published today in the Archives of Internal Medicine, indicates that statins do, in fact, reduce the risk of dying for both people with heart disease and for those who are taking the drugs because their cholesterol is elevated. (Not everyone who suffers a heart attack has high cholesterol, so prescribing statins just because a person's levels are high is controversial.)
Feb 4, 2009 | 3
Cardiologists over the past five years have increasingly come to rely on a technology called cardiac computed tomography angiography (CCTA) to locate artery blockages in the heart. The downside: the procedure exposes patients to potentially cancer-causing radiation. How much radiation? According to a new study, exposure varies from hospital to hospital but the average dose of a single scan is equivalent to about 600 traditional chest x-rays.
Study co-author Thomas Gerber, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., says the advantage of CCTA scans is that they provide doctors with a direct view of the heart arteries, revealing tiny blockages that might be missed during traditional stress tests (which entail monitoring the heart rate, breathing, blood pressure and heart rhythm of a patient running on a treadmill). The major worry with such scans, he notes, is that they create images with the help of x-rays, which may increase the risk of developing cancer.
Dec 2, 2008 | 2
Generic heart medications work just as well as their brand-name counterparts, despite negative commentary on the no-name drugs in medical journals and mainstream media, a new analysis says.
The report in today's Journal of the American Medical Association reviewed 47 head-to-head trials between generic and brand-name versions of heart drugs between 1984 and this year. It found equivalent effects among most medicines in nine drug sub-classes: beta-blockers, diuretics, calcium-channel blockers, anti-clotting drugs, statins, ACE inhibitors, alpha-blockers, anti-arrhythmic drugs (for irregular heartbeats) and warfarin. Americans spend more on those drugs on an outpatient basis than on any other prescription medicines, according to the paper.
Oct 27, 2008 | 1
Drugs used to slow bone loss from osteoporosis increase the risk of life-threatening irregular heartbeats, according to new research that adds to previous warnings about the medicines.
Some 2.5 to 3 percent of people who took the drugs Fosomax and Reclast experienced an abnormal heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation, and 1 to 2 percent were hospitalized or died from the irregular heartbeats, according to an analysis of three studies involving more than 16,000 patients. The latter rate was as much as two times higher than the rate of serious, irregular heartbeats that occurred among patients taking placebos, said the study presented today in Philadelphia at the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians. (The study abstract doesn't specify how many people taking the drugs died from atrial fibrillation.)
Oct 23, 2008
Pregnant women with symptoms of depression are twice as likely to deliver their babies early as those who don't show signs of sadness, new research shows.
The findings reflect two troubling trends: preterm delivery is the leading cause of infant illness and death in the U.S., and more than 40 percent of pregnant women report depressive symptoms, according to the study in today's Human Reproduction.
“It’s a severely under-diagnosed area frequently being dismissed just as having the blues of being pregnant,” says study author De-Kun Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist in the division of research at Kaiser Permanente, a nationwide health insurer. “If just by controlling depression we can reduce preterm delivery, that will be very significant.”
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