Johns Hopkins Medicine Center has conducted a ground-breaking surgical procedure that involves implanting a pacemaker-like device in the brain of patients who suffer from early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The first procedure took place in November of last year and was part of a federally funded, multicenter clinical trial attempting to slow or halt the disease. The device has possibilities to boost memory and reverse cognitive decline. More here
A new procedure is being tested in the United States to help people with resistant hypertension. Resistant hypertension is a condition where high blood pressure fails to normalize even after taking prescribed medication. Resistant hypertension affects approximately 1 in 11 people who suffer from high blood pressure. It can cause serious health risks such as heart attacks, kidney disease, strokes and heart failure. The procedure consists of a medical machine that sends short bursts of radio waves to kill the sympathetic nerves. Murray Esler, MD, PhD, professor and senior director of the Baker IDI Heart and diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia said “the sympathetic nerves are the stimulant nerves of the kidneys. They are commonly activated in high blood pressure”. More here
Symptoms of cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks can be brought upon when blockage occurs in the arteries. Every year approximately 610,000 American endure their first heart attack, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A study from the University of Missouri discovered a defense to fight arterial blockage. Bilirubin, a drug usually used to treat newborns that have been diagnosed with jaundice may now bring hope for many people who suffer from cardiovascular disease. More here
Danish researchers have found four signs of aging that may signal poor heart health and a higher risk of heart attack and cardiovascular disease. The research followed 11,000 men and women over the age of 40 for 35 years and discovered that those who had a receding hairline at the temples, baldness at the crown of their head, earlobe crease, or fatty deposits around their eyelid were 57 percent more likely to have a heart attack. Fatty deposits around the eyelid were the strongest predictor of heart trouble. Anne Tybjaerg-Hansen, MD, of the University of Copenhagen, said looking old for your age is a marker of poor health. Individuals in their 70s were at highest risk. Participants over the age of 70 who exhibited three of the four signs of aging had a 40 percent increased risk of heart disease over the next 10 years. More here.
A new study from Northwestern Medicine finds that maintaining optimal heart health in middle age may add up to 14 years to your lifespan. The study looked at data collected for the Cardiovascular Lifetime Risk Pooling Project and tracked risk factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and smoking status. The results found that individuals with none of those common risk factors lived free of cardiovascular disease longer than their peers with two or more of those risk factors. John T. Wilkins, M.D., author of the study, said many people develop cardiovascular disease as they live into old age but those with optimal risk factor levels increase their chances that they’ll live longer and healthier lives. More here.
Cold winter weather was long thought to be the primary cause of seasonal increases in heart-related deaths. But, according to new research, circulatory deaths, including heart attack, heart failure, cardiovascular disease, and stroke, rose up to 36 percent during the winter months regardless of climate. The study, presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2012, analyzed four years worth of death certificate data from seven locations across the country. The results found that, despite covering seven very different climate patterns, the trend in cardiac deaths was very similar. The research wasn’t designed to identify a cause for the increases but Bryan Schwartz, M.D., of the University of New Mexico, said people generally don’t live as healthy in winter as they do in the summer. Schwartz, who was lead author of the study, theorized that the spike in heart-related events may be due to the fact that people don’t eat as well or exercise as much during the winter. More here.
Among people over the age of 65, more than half have at least three chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, or Alzheimer’s disease. But, according to a new report from the American Geriatrics Society, healthcare providers often follow standard clinical guidelines for an individual disease when they may not be the safest or most effective treatment for a patient with multiple conditions. Cynthia M. Boyd, MD, MPH, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said a clinician prescribing medications according to standard guidelines for an individual disease may end up with a patient who is taking too many medications and running a risk for drug interactions and harmful side effects. The report recommends a number of guiding principles for caring for seniors with multiple health problems, such as considering patient preferences, weighing risks, benefits, and burdens, interpreting research, and accounting for the complexity and feasibility of treatment options. More here.
A recent study from the American Heart Association has discovered a possible link between blood type and the risk of developing heart disease. The study, which tracked 89,500 adults for 20 years or more, found people with blood type A, B, or AB had a higher risk for coronary heart disease compared to people with blood type O. Blood type AB, which is only found in 7.0 percent of Americans, had the highest risk at 23 percent. Type B was associated with an 11 percent increased risk and participants with type A blood had an elevated risk of 5.0 percent. Type O blood, which is found in about 43 percent of Americans, had the lowest risk. Lu Qi, M.D., Ph.D., the study’s senior author and an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, said it’s good to know your blood type the way you know your cholesterol or blood pressure numbers. More here and here.
According to a recent study from the University of Iowa, the ursolic acid found in apple peels may help fight obesity and the health problems associated with it, such as diabetes. The study found ursolic acid increased muscle mass, strength, and brown-fat levels in mice. Muscle and brown fat are both known for their role in calorie burning. Christopher Adams, M.D., Ph.D., said the research tested ursolic acid on mice eating a high-fat diet and found that the acid increased skeletal muscle and reduced obesity, pre-diabetes, and fatty liver disease. Researchers theorized that the increased muscle and brown-fat levels helped build strength and burn calories in the mice receiving the supplement. More here.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention release their life expectancy tables every 10 years. The data reveals which state’s residents live the longest and whether or not the average has improved or decreased over the past decade. According to the CDC’s most recent results, all 50 states and the District of Columbia saw life expectancy at birth improve from 1989-1991 to 1999-2001. But despite the gains, there is still a nearly seven year difference between the state with the longest living residents and those at the bottom of the list. For example, Hawaii was the state whose residents enjoyed the longest life expectancy. Hawaiians live to an average of 80.2 years old. On the other hand, Mississippi’s life expectancy was just 73.9. The District of Columbia had the worst life expectancy at 73.1 years, though it also experienced the largest improvement since the last report. More here.