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Also In Global Health News: Noncommunicable Disease Network; Tropical Disease Treatments; Maternal Health In Peru; South Asia MDG

WHO Launches International Network To Take On Noncommunicable Disease The WHO on Wednesday launched an international network of leading health organizations and experts from around the world in an effort to "unite" and "scal[e] up world action to combat noncommunicable diseases, which cause some 38 million deaths annually, " Xinhua/People's Daily Online reports (7/9). "Noncommunicable diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, cancers, diabetes, respiratory diseases and common injuries account for the vast majority of all global deaths, but because they are not yet included as priorities in the global development agenda, donors and international organizations have yet to pledge support to help developing countries address these leading health problems, " according to a WHO release (7/8).

Need For At-Home Blood Pressure Monitoring Underscored By High-Profile Cardiac Deaths

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in men in the United States(1). Yet it's often not until the untimely passing of a celebrity from a cardiac event - such as Billy Mays or Tim Russert - that the issue is brought to the forefront of Americans' health and wellness routine. And even then, when there's a heightened focus on heart health, a recent survey(2) uncovered that only 14 percent of people would be inclined to start regularly monitoring their blood pressure at home - a preventive measure highly recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA)(3) since it can help signal impending cardiac distress caused by high blood pressure.

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New 3-D Scaffold Of Living, Beating Heart Cells

It is an amazing sight: What looks like a tiny beating heart is actually a piece of synthetic, gauze-like mesh, barely the size of a fingernail, floating in a Petri dish. And yet it keeps squeezing away, nice and rhythmically. Researchers at The University of Arizona's Sarver Heart Center and the Southern Arizona Veterans Administration Health Care System (SAVAHCS) have come a step closer to repairing hearts damaged by a heart attack or weakened by chronic heart failure. "We have developed a delivery system that allows us to introduce living, healthy heart muscle cells into damaged areas of the heart in a way that is much more efficient than the conventionally practiced method of injecting cells into heart tissue, " says study leader Steven Goldman, MD.

FDA Approves Boston Scientific's TAXUS R Liberte R Long Stent

Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE: BSX) announced it has received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market its TAXUS((R)) Liberte((R)) Long Paclitaxel-Eluting Coronary Stent System, a next-generation drug-eluting stent (DES) designed for long lesions. At 38 mm, it is the longest available DES, providing doctors an option that can potentially reduce the number of stents used in more complex cases, simplifying procedures and reducing costs. It affords a more efficient treatment option for the estimated 8 to 10 percent(1) of patients with long lesions. The Company plans to launch the product in the U.S. next month.

Risk Factors For Cardiovascular Disease Increasing In Younger Canadians Raise Concern About Future Rise In Heart Disease

The prevalence of heart disease and certain key risk factors - hypertension, diabetes, and obesity - are increasing in all age groups and most income groups in Canada found a new study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/press/cmaj081629.pdf. This study, which looked at national data from 1994 to 2005, encompassed people aged 12 years and older sampling from Canadians of all socioeconomic and ethnic groups. Risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity increased most rapidly among younger people between 12 to 50 years of age. The increasing prevalence of heart disease in Canada is likely related to both earlier detection and better survival among those with cardiovascular disease.

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Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Repair Heart

In a proof-of-concept study, Mayo Clinic investigators have demonstrated that induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells can be used to treat heart disease. iPS cells are stem cells converted from adult cells. In this study, the researchers reprogrammed ordinary fibroblasts, cells that contribute to scars such as those resulting from a heart attack, converting them into stem cells that fix heart damage caused by infarction. The findings appear in the current online issue of the journal Circulation. "This study establishes the real potential for using iPS cells in cardiac treatment, " says Timothy Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., first author on the Mayo Clinic study.

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