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'Stress Ball' in Your Brain May Be Key to Heart Risks

Posted 6 days ago by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 11, 2017 – Doctors have long known that a stressed life does no favors for the heart, and new research may help unravel why that's so. A Harvard team says heightened activity in a key part of the brain may explain why stress boosts people's odds for heart disease and stroke. The finding "raises the possibility that reducing stress could produce benefits that extend beyond an improved sense of psychological well-being," said study lead author Dr. Ahmed Tawakol, who co-directs the cardiac imaging program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. One neurologist agreed that the research could have real value for patients. "This study provides information that can help us better understand the mechanisms in which the body and the brain affect each other," said Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein. He is president of the Brain & Behavior Foundation in New York City. "A better ... Read more

Related support groups: Anxiety and Stress, Heart Disease, Ischemic Stroke, Heart Attack, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Myocardial Infarction, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Peripheral Arterial Disease, Intermittent Claudication, Myocardial Infarction - Prophylaxis, Body Imaging, Post MI Syndrome, Head Imaging

Study Ties Alcohol Abuse to Increased Heart Risks

Posted 15 days ago by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Jan. 2, 2017 – A new study suggests that people who abuse alcohol also boost their risk of three cardiac conditions: atrial fibrillation, heart attack and congestive heart failure. The possible added risk appears to be about the same as that linked to high blood pressure, smoking, obesity and diabetes, the researchers said. "We found that even if you have no underlying risk factors, abuse of alcohol still increases the risk of these heart conditions," lead researcher Dr. Gregory Marcus said in an American College of Cardiology news release. Marcus is director of clinical research at the University of California, San Francisco's division of cardiology. The study was based on a database of close to 15 million Californians aged 21 and older who had outpatient surgery, emergency room treatment or inpatient hospital care between 2005 and 2009. About 2 percent had been diagnosed with ... Read more

Related support groups: Atrial Fibrillation, Heart Attack, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Alcohol Dependence, Alcohol Withdrawal, Myocardial Infarction, Alcoholism, Alcoholic Cirrhosis, Acute Alcohol Intoxication, Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy, Alcohol Hepatitis

Heart Failure Drug Shows Promise in First Human Trial

Posted 27 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Dec. 27, 2016 – Heart failure patients have weakened hearts, but researchers say an experimental drug used for the first time in humans may repair heart cells and improve heart function. According to the results of a small phase 1 trial, a single intravenous infusion of the drug cimaglermin was safe and, at high doses, improved heart function for at least three months. "Right now we have many therapies that we use for heart failure, and these patients [in the study] were on all of those therapies and still had significant heart dysfunction," said lead researcher Dr. Daniel Lenihan. He's a professor of medicine and director of Vanderbilt University's heart clinical research program in Nashville. People with heart failure often take a combination of drugs, Lenihan said. These include medications to lower blood pressure and diuretics to help remove excess fluid that builds up as ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction, Left Ventriculography

Chemo More Damaging to Hearts of Diabetics: Study

Posted 18 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Dec. 16, 2016 – A small study finds that cancer patients who have diabetes may suffer worse heart damage from chemotherapy, potentially boosting their risk of heart failure. There are increasing reports of toxic effects to the heart – also known as cardiotoxicity – due to chemotherapy with drugs known as anthracyclines, said study lead author Dr. Ana Catarina Gomes. Such drugs include doxorubicin (Doxil) and epirubicin (Ellence). Gomes is a cardiologist in training at the Hospital Garcia de Orta in Almada, Portugal. According to Gomes, this is "mainly because a smaller proportion of patients now die from cancer. In the coming years, this cardiotoxicity looks set to increase the burden of heart failure in cancer survivors." However, she said, "the good news is that cardiotoxicity can be reversible in the early stages before overt heart failure develops." The new study tracked ... Read more

Related support groups: Diabetes, Type 2, Cancer, Heart Disease, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Diabetes, Type 1, Insulin Resistance, Pre-Diabetes, Diabetes Mellitus, Doxorubicin, Adriamycin, Epirubicin, Abnormal Glucose Tolerance, Adriamycin PFS, Ellence, Pharmorubicin RDF, Adriamycin RDF, Pharmorubicin PFS

Heart Failure Protein May Signal Early Brain Damage

Posted 8 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Dec. 8, 2016 – Higher blood levels of a specific heart disease protein are associated with brain damage, a new study suggests. N-terminal Pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) is a protein released into the blood in response to heart wall stress. Blood levels of NT-proBNP rise when heart failure worsens and fall when it gets better. Previous research has found a link between heart disease and brain disease, but the role of NT-proBNP was unclear. Researchers in the Netherlands looked at nearly 2,400 middle-aged and elderly heart disease patients without dementia and found a clear association between blood levels of NT-proBNP and brain damage detected on MRIs. But the study did not prove that higher levels of this protein actually caused brain damage. The study was published online Dec. 7 in the journal Radiology. "We found that higher serum levels of NT-proBNP were ... Read more

Related support groups: Anxiety and Stress, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Head Injury, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Head Injury with Loss of Consciousness, Left Ventriculography

Study Finds Worrisome Heart Effects Among Some Football Players

Posted 5 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Dec. 5, 2016 – Football players, particularly linemen, may have higher risk of elevated blood pressure and potentially harmful structural changes in the heart, a new study suggests. "Our study confirmed associations between football participation, high blood pressure and cardiac remodeling," said study senior author Dr. Aaron Baggish, an associate director of the Cardiovascular Performance Program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Cardiac remodeling refers to changes in the size and shape of the heart. What's worrisome, Baggish said, is that the changes detected in young college athletes may be "maladaptive," or harmful. "This type of change to the heart is concerning in this population of young, otherwise healthy athletes, and raises questions about long-term health implications," Baggish said in a news release from the American College of Cardiology. Using data ... Read more

Related support groups: High Blood Pressure, Hypertension, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Hypertensive Emergency, Hypertensive Heart Disease

After Cancer, Higher Risk of Severe Heart Attack

Posted 1 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Dec. 1, 2016 – Cancer survivors are at increased risk for the most severe type of heart attack and require close attention to their heart health, a new study suggests. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., reviewed data on more than 2,300 patients who suffered this type of heart attack, called ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). One in 10 had a history of cancer, the investigators found. "We've watched cancer survivorship increase over the past two-and-a-half decades, which is wonderful. But, it has led to new challenges, such as handling of downstream illnesses and side effects to an extent never encountered before," said study senior author Dr. Joerg Herrmann. He is an interventional cardiologist at the clinic. "As cardiologists, we wanted to know if cancer and its therapies left these patients debilitated from a cardiovascular disease standpoint," he ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Breast Cancer, Heart Attack, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Colorectal Cancer, Myocardial Infarction, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction, Myocardial Infarction - Prophylaxis, Post MI Syndrome

Does a Little Daily Drinking Really Help the Heart?

Posted 29 Nov 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Nov. 29, 2016 – Many studies have hinted that alcohol, in moderation, can do a heart good. But new research suggests that moderate drinkers are no more likely than teetotalers to have clear arteries. The scientists looked at almost 2,000 patients who underwent CT angiography – an imaging test that detects "plaques" in heart arteries. Overall, there was no association between people's drinking habits and their odds of showing clogged vessels. The findings stand in contrast to past studies that have linked moderate drinking to a lower risk of heart disease – where plaques build up in the heart arteries and may eventually trigger a heart attack. Researchers said an advantage of the new study is that it used objective measurements. "No prior studies have assessed the relationship between alcohol consumption and the presence of coronary heart disease as depicted by coronary CT ... Read more

Related support groups: High Blood Pressure, Hypertension, Heart Disease, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Alcohol Dependence, Alcoholism, Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Hangover, Ischemic Heart Disease, Acute Alcohol Intoxication, Hypertensive Heart Disease

Alzheimer's Protein Plaques May Also Harm the Heart

Posted 29 Nov 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Nov. 28, 2016 – Protein fragments that form plaques in the brains of Alzheimer's patients might also stiffen their heart muscle and increase their risk of heart failure, a new study reports. The protein fragments are called amyloid beta. Tests of heart tissue samples revealed that the hearts of Alzheimer's patients had increased levels of amyloid beta, the study showed. Sticky amyloid beta chunks create plaques between neurons that are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. Similar deposits can be found in the heart, said senior researcher Dr. Federica del Monte. She's an associate professor with Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center's Cardiovascular Institute, both in Boston. "We found that some forms of heart failure are basically an Alzheimer's disease in the heart," del Monte said. "They basically have the same biological defect. In one case, it ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Alzheimer's Disease, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Diagnosis and Investigation

3 Keys to Cutting Your Risk of Heart Failure

Posted 29 Nov 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Nov. 28, 2016 – Middle-aged adults who've avoided obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes are far less likely than others to experience heart failure in their later years, new research reports. Investigators found that a 45-year-old without those three key risk factors has as much as an 86 percent lower risk for heart failure compared with someone with poor control of weight, blood pressure and blood sugar. "This paper provides more evidence to demonstrate the importance of a heart-healthy lifestyle," said study co-author Dr. John Wilkins. He's a cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine and preventive medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. Good lifestyle habits can help prevent obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes in many people, "which will substantially reduce their chances of developing cardiovascular disease later in ... Read more

Related support groups: High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Type 2, Obesity, Hypertension, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Diabetes Mellitus, Hypertensive Heart Disease

Device Shows Promise Against Tough-to-Treat Heart Failure

Posted 16 Nov 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 16, 2016 – A hard-to-treat form of heart failure may be relieved by an experimental device that creates a hole inside the heart muscle, according to new clinical trial results. The InterAtrial Shunt Device opens up and maintains an 8-millimeter (mm) hole in the wall of tissue separating the two upper chambers of the heart (the atria), said lead researcher Dr. David Kaye. He's a senior cardiologist at Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. The technique appears to work, Kaye's team reported Wednesday at the American Heart Association annual meeting, in New Orleans. A group of 64 people who received the implant experienced better pumping output from their heart a year after the procedure, Kaye said. Their hearts were able to take on more workload, and they could exercise for longer periods of time. "The device is safe, with an acceptable complication rate," Kaye said. A ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Left Ventriculography

Prices of Generic Heart Failure Drugs Vary Widely

Posted 15 Nov 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Nov. 15, 2016 – Cash prices of generic medicines to treat heart failure vary so widely that some patients may not be able to afford to fill all of their prescriptions, a new study suggests. In the greater St. Louis area, the cost of filling prescriptions for three common drugs – digoxin, lisinopril and carvedilol – ranged from as little as $12 to as much as $400 a month, the researchers found. Cardiologist Dr. Paul Hauptman, the study's lead author, said retail pricing is confusing and inconsistent. Patients "can encounter some major sticker shock," he said. The wide range of prices was unrelated to the drug dose or duration of therapy, the area where the pharmacy does business, whether it was a chain or independent pharmacy, or median income in pharmacy ZIP codes, the researchers noted. "There may be different reasons for different pricing practices, but this clearly needs ... Read more

Related support groups: Lisinopril, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Carvedilol, Digoxin, Coreg, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Hydrochlorothiazide/Lisinopril, Zestril, Coreg CR, Zestoretic, Lanoxin, Prinivil, Digitek, Prinzide, Qbrelis, Digox, Left Ventriculography, Cardoxin, Lanoxicaps

Heart Failure Hospitalizations on the Rise in U.S.

Posted 15 Nov 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Nov. 15, 2016 – More Americans are going to the hospital due to heart failure, a new study finds. The good news is that the hospital stays are getting shorter and survival rates for those hospitalized with heart failure are higher than in the past, researchers said. The study included data from more than 15 million congestive heart failure-related hospital admissions in the United States between 1996 and 2009. The number of hospitalizations for heart failure rose from just over 1 million in 1996 to almost 1.2 million in 2009. But the average length of stay fell from about six days to five days over that same period. In addition, the in-hospital death rate declined from almost 5 percent to just over 3 percent, the study found. Shorter hospital stays and lower death rates are due to advances in care, such as new drugs and medical devices, according to the University of ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction

Meat-Heavy Diets May Raise Older Women's Heart Risks

Posted 14 Nov 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Nov. 14, 2016 – Women over 50 who follow a high-protein diet could have a higher risk for heart failure, especially if most of their protein comes from meat, researchers report. The study couldn't prove cause-and-effect. However, postmenopausal women with the most protein in their diet had a 60 percent increased risk of heart failure, compared with women who ate little protein, the study found. The findings were presented Monday at the American Heart Association annual meeting in New Orleans. Most of the risk appears to come from animal protein, said study author Dr. Mohamad Firas Barbour. He's an internist at Brown University's Alpert Medical School and Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island in Pawtucket. Women who got most of their protein from vegetable sources appeared to have a nearly 20 percent reduced risk of heart failure, Barbour said. "The higher total dietary protein ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Dietary Supplementation, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction, Left Ventriculography

Device Plus 'Aggressive' Drug Strategy May Curb Severe Heart Failure

Posted 13 Nov 2016 by Drugs.com

SUNDAY, Nov. 13, 2016 – A combination of an implanted heart device and intensive drug therapy may help boost heart function in end-stage heart failure patients, preliminary results of an ongoing study suggest. The research focused on 36 patients who were implanted with what's known as a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), a kind of heart pump. "Patients who receive this assist device generally are in line to receive a heart transplant," explained cardiologist Dr. Michael Kim, who reviewed the new findings. "Because there are not nearly enough hearts available for transplantation relative to the need for heart transplantation, these newer assist devices can keep these sick patients alive until a heart does become available, sometimes for years," said Kim. He directs interventional cardiology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. The new study was led by Dr. Emma Birks, professor ... Read more

Related support groups: Lisinopril, Losartan, Heart Failure, Spironolactone, Congestive Heart Failure, Carvedilol, Digoxin, Cozaar, Coreg, Hyzaar, Aldactone, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Hydrochlorothiazide/Lisinopril, Zestril, Coreg CR, Zestoretic, Lanoxin, Prinivil, Hydrochlorothiazide/Losartan, Digitek

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