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Heart attack death rate higher in December

HeartOct 04 05

People hospitalized with a heart attack are more likely to die in December, and it’s not because their treatment is inferior, investigators report.

The incidence of heart attacks is higher in winter months, and so is the mortality rate from these attacks, Dr. Trip J. Meine and others note in their report in the Annals of Internal Medicine. They theorized that the cause is decreased use of proven treatments during the December holiday season.

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MU Researchers Identify Key Factor in Onset of Heart Disease

HeartOct 02 05

Each year about 950,000 Americans die of cardiovascular disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control, making it the leading cause of death in the United States. One symptom of heart disease is a thickening of artery walls, a condition known as atherosclerosis. New research conducted at the University of Missouri-Columbia has identified one of the causes of this condition and could lead to an effective treatment.

Cheikh Seye, MU assistant research professor in biochemistry, and a team of researchers from the “Inflammation Research Group,” led by professor Gary Weisman at MU’s Life Sciences Center, found that a particular nucleotide receptor, P2Y2, plays a significant role in abnormal cell growth that leads to atherosclerosis. Nucleotide receptors act as receiving antennae on a cell’s surface. When a nucleotide comes into contact with the receptor, it flips a switch that makes a cell perform a certain function. In this case, the nucleotides adenosine 5’-triphosphate (ATP) and uridine 5-triphosphate (UTP) encounter the receptor on endothelial cells that line the interior of arteries, and smooth muscle cells that make up the blood vessel wall. In turn, the receptor causes smooth muscle cells to multiply and blood monocytes, a type of white blood cell, to bind to endothelial cells.

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Early close of trial of treatment for peripheral arterial disease announced

HeartOct 02 05

Vasogen Inc. (VSGN), focused on the development of immune modulation therapies for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, announced the early close out of the 550-patient, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 3 SIMPADICO trial of its Celacade technology for the treatment of symptomatic peripheral arterial disease (PAD).

The decision to close out the trial at this time is based on a recommendation received from the SIMPADICO Steering Committee.

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Heart doc says Vioxx may have caused heart attack

HeartSep 30 05

The cardiologist for a man who sued Merck & Co. Inc., blaming Vioxx for his 2001 heart attack, testified on Thursday that the withdrawn painkiller and not heart disease was likely responsible.

Dr. David Sim, an Idaho cardiologist who has treated plaintiff Frederick “Mike” Humeston since his heart attack, said he was able to eliminate many of the most common high risk factors for causing a heart attack.

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Scientists find wider uses for cholesterol drugs

HeartSep 27 05

Cholesterol-lowering drugs could help to prevent diabetics and people at high risk of heart disease from suffering a heart attack or stroke even if their cholesterol level is not high, scientists said on Tuesday.

Millions of patients around the world are prescribed the drugs, known as statins, to reduce their cholesterol, but an international team of researchers said an even bigger group of people would benefit from the treatment.

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Panic disorder seems to raise heart disease risk

HeartSep 26 05

People with a history of panic disorder may have a higher risk of developing heart disease, particularly if they’ve also suffered from depression, a new study suggests.

Using medical records from a U.S. health insurance database, researchers found that adults who had been diagnosed with panic disorder were nearly twice as likely as those without the disorder to develop coronary heart disease. The risk was higher still among patients diagnosed with both panic disorder and depression—two psychiatric conditions that are often seen together.

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“Hygiene hypothesis” linked to heart disease risk

HeartSep 23 05

Early childhood viral infections might reduce the risk of developing heart disease later in life by as much as 90 percent, researchers from Sweden and Finland reported here on Wednesday at the IV World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery.

According to the investigators, “improved hygiene in early childhood might partially explain the greatest epidemic of the 20th century—coronary heart disease.”

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Birth weight linked to high blood pressure risk

HeartSep 21 05

Men born at below-average weight are slightly more likely to have high blood pressure as young adults, a relationship that does not appear to be related to genetics or socioeconomic factors, the results of a large study from Sweden shows.

The findings support the theory that poor growth in the womb may cause disorders of the metabolism, such as high blood pressure (hypertension) or diabetes, known as the “fetal programming hypothesis,” Dr. Niklas Bergvall of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm and colleagues report in the September issue of Epidemiology.

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Cocoa health benefits may boost West Africa farms

HeartSep 19 05

Recent discoveries that cocoa could protect against heart disease and hypertension could see incomes soar for poor West African farmers, scientists working with confectionery maker Mars said of Monday.

Scientists at a nutrition conference in Durban said evidence was growing that chemicals in cocoa could provide massive medical benefits in the battle against heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and vascular dementia.

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Patients unaware of waist size heart disease risk

HeartSep 19 05

Patients, and even some doctors, are unaware that abdominal fat and waist circumference are important risk factors for heart disease, which kills 17 million people worldwide each year.

An international survey released on Monday showed that only a minority of patients and about 60 percent of doctors know that a bigger waist size raises their odds of having a heart attack.

“Waist circumference is a very important measure for cardiovascular risk,” said Professor Sidney Smith, of the Geneva-based World Heart Federation (WHF).

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Heart surgery outcome may be worse in blacks-study

HeartSep 16 05

The short-term rates of death or heart attack after heart surgery are comparable for blacks and whites, but there is trend toward worse long-term outcomes in blacks, researchers report in the European Heart Journal.

Previous reports have generally described little or no racial gap in the outcome of patients who undergo percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) to restore blood flow to the heart. PCI typically involves angioplasty, in which a balloon-tipped catheter is snaked into a clogged heart artery to push aside blockages.

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Heart experts, patients to mull US device standards

HeartSep 16 05

U.S. cardiologists, medical device makers, regulators and heart patients gather in Washington D.C. on Friday to discuss how the recall of devices should be handled and when doctors and patients should be told about product malfunctions.

The debate over disclosure was stoked earlier this year following revelations medical device maker Guidant Corp. did not tell doctors or patients about a potential problem in some of its implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) for three years. The problem was uncovered last spring after a 21-year-old college student died of cardiac arrest after his ICD short-circuited.

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Men and women fare equally well after angioplasty

HeartSep 05 05

Gender does not affect outcome in patients who undergo Angioplasty in a blocked artery in the leg. Therefore, gender alone should not be used in making decisions about who should undergo the procedure among patients with this type of circulatory disease, said Dr. Steven G. Katz from the Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California, Pasadena.

Angioplasty is a procedure in which a balloon-tipped catheter is threaded into the arteries to clear fatty plaques, according their report, published in the Archives of Surgery.

Katz and his colleagues evaluated the initial and long-term success of Angioplasty conducted in 173 women and 178 men with blocked arteries in the leg, treated over a 10-year period.

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Low levels of blood protein tied to muscle decline

HeartSep 02 05

Older adults with relatively low levels of a particular blood protein may have a significant decline in muscle strength over time, a new study suggests.

The protein, called albumin, is known to fall to abnormal levels in certain diseases, including kidney and liver disease. In addition, high levels of other, inflammatory proteins in the blood can lower a person’s albumin levels; chronic inflammation in the body is believed to contribute to a number of medical conditions, such as Heart Disease.

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Heart ailment seems under-recognized in women

HeartAug 26 05

Italian investigators report, that compared to men, women with a hereditary heart condition called Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are substantially more likely to be diagnosed later in life and with more severe symptoms.

This occurs despite the fact that Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy “should theoretically be present in males and females equally,” said Dr. Iacopo Olivotto, because it is a genetic disease with an inheritance pattern that requires only one parent to have the condition.

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