Health and Fitness

Reducing Salt Intake -- Even In Small Amounts -- Could Mean Fewer Heart Attacks, Strokes And Deaths

Reducing salt in the American diet by as little as one-half teaspoon (or three grams) per day could prevent nearly 100, 000 heart attacks and 92, 000 deaths each year, according to a new study. Such benefits are on par with the benefits from reductions in smoking and could save the United States about $24 billion in healthcare costs, the researchers add. A team from the University of California, San Francisco, Stanford University Medical Center and Columbia University Medical Center conducted the study. The findings appear January 20 in online publication by the New England Journal of Medicine and also will be reported in the February 18 print issue of the journal. The team's results were derived from the Coronary Heart Disease Policy Model, a computer simulation of heart disease among U.S. adults that has been used by researchers to project benefits from public health interventions. "A very modest decrease in the amount of salt, hardly detectable in the taste of food, can have dramatic health benefits for the U.

A Little Less Salt Would Save Many Lives, US

Even a small reduction in daily salt intake could mean fewer heart attacks, strokes and deaths said US researchers who estimated cutting back by as little as half a teaspoon a day could prevent 92, 000 deaths and nearly 100, 000 heart attacks in the US every year. The researchers, from the University of California, San Francisco, Stanford University Medical Center and Columbia University Medical Center, suggest the benefits of cutting salt intake are on a par with reducing smoking and could save the US about 24 billion dollars in healthcare costs. They wrote a paper on their findings that was published online in the New England Journal of Medicine on 20 January. Figures from the American Heart Association (AHA) suggest that salt consumption in the US population has risen by 50 per cent and blood pressure by nearly the same amount since the 1970s; despite the fact evidence linking salt to high blood pressure and heart disease has been around for at least that long. Lead author Dr Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, UCSF associate professor of medicine and epidemiology and the co-director of the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations at San Francisco General Hospital, told the media that: "A very modest decrease in the amount of salt, hardly detectable in the taste of food, can have dramatic health benefits for the US.

FDA Approves For Permanent Treatment Of Advanced Heart Failure Assist Device Pioneered By Texas Heart Institute At St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital

The federal Food and Drug Administration today approved a continuous-flow heart-assist device pioneered at the Texas Heart Institute (THI) at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital (SLEH) for use as a permanent treatment for advanced heart failure. The approval of the pump device, the HeartMate II, follows several years of clinical trials and is seen as a major milestone for patients in the United States. In any given year there are some 250, 000 people who suffer from advanced heart failure, while only about 2, 000 heart transplants are performed annually in the U.S. In addition to the need far outpacing the supply of donor hearts, many patients, due to a variety of circumstances such as age and medical complications, are simply not candidates for heart transplants. The device was previously approved as a way to "bridge" patients until a donor heart could be found. Today's approval of the device as a destination (meaning permanent) therapy means those patients awaiting transplants, or those ineligible for transplants, have a badly needed new treatment option.

Post-Katrina Stress, Heart Problems Linked

Chronic stress following Hurricane Katrina contributed to a three-fold increase in heart attacks in New Orleans more than two years after levee breaches flooded most of the city, according to researchers at Tulane University School of Medicine. Those suffering heart attacks post-Katrina also were significantly more likely to receive coronary interventions, particularly angioplasty to reopen clogged coronary arteries, which suggests these patients may have more severe disease, according to new data presented on Sunday (March 29, 2009) at the American College of Cardiology's 58th Annual Scientific Session in Orlando, Fla. The analysis is one of the first to look at the long-term impact on public health resulting from major disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. Previous studies have found short-term increases in heart attacks and other cardiac events occurring in the immediate hours to weeks after major disasters such as earthquakes or volcano eruptions. "Our data show that the effects of an acute major disaster are not limited to its immediate aftermath, but can linger on for a prolonged duration, " said lead researcher Dr.

Heart Murmurs In Children: Not Always A Serious Problem

Your 3-year-old's doctor discovers a heart murmur during a visit for a mild cold with fever and recommends referral to a pediatric cardiologist. You worry and wonder how your healthy, active child could possibly have a heart problem. "Finding out that your child has a heart murmur causes a great deal of anxiety, " said Dr. Louis Bezold, associate professor of pediatrics and chief of the division of pediatric cardiology, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, and co-director of the Kentucky Children's Heart Center. "It is a common misconception that all murmurs are serious, but this is not the case. Murmurs are actually extremely common findings in infants and children. In fact, most children will have a murmur at some point during childhood. According to Bezold, a murmur is simply an extra noise in addition to the normal heart sounds (so-called "lub-dub") heard using a stethoscope. When your doctor listens to your child's heart they will note the location, intensity and other characteristics of the extra sound.

UT-Battelle Licenses Tissue Regeneration Technologies To NellOne Therapeutics, Inc.

In a major step toward commercialization of a promising therapeutic treatment, Oak Ridge National Laboratory contractor UT-Battelle has exclusively licensed patents on inventions based on the Nell-1 gene to NellOne Therapeutics, Inc. (NellOne), a company spun out of the Department of Energy laboratory. The protein therapy treatment under development takes advantage of the Nell-1 gene's cell-signaling pathway that controls tissue growth and maturation in mammalian organs. The foundation for this therapy is research performed by Cymbeline Culiat, who as an ORNL systems genetics researcher identified the role that the Nell-1 pathway plays in tissue growth and maturation. Today, Culiat is leading the NellOne research effort to translate the Nell-1 pathway discoveries into a therapy that restores both mass and function to damaged human tissues, such as heart and skeletal muscle. If successful, the protein therapy could improve the lives of victims of heart attacks and severe muscle wounds.

St. Jude Medical Achieves Recognition For Security Of Patient Data And Completes Successful Testing To Streamline Connection To Patient Medical Record

St. Jude Medical, Inc. (NYSE:STJ) announced it has successfully completed its second interoperability testing process for the company's Merlin.net™ Patient Care Network, an Internet-based repository of patient and implantable device data. The company also announced today that the Merlin.net PCN is the first medical device network to be awarded ISO 27001 certification, a stringent worldwide information security standard. "Due to recent legislation and the changing health care environment, electronic health records (EHRs) and hospital efficiency are key issues for our customers. As the use of EHRs become central to healthcare delivery and quality, secure data transportability is becoming even more critical and as a result, connectivity is a key priority for our company, " said Eric S. Fain, M.D., president of the St. Jude Medical Cardiac Rhythm Management Division. "Receiving recognition from these two organizations demonstrates to our medical industry stakeholders the high standards St.

FDA Approves Left Ventricular Assist System For Severe Heart Failure Patients

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved the HeartMate II, a continuous-flow, left ventricular assist system as a support for severe heart failure patients who are not acceptable candidates for heart transplantation. The HeartMate II is already FDA-approved for use in patients awaiting further, perhaps more complex treatment, such as transplants. Heart assist devices are surgically implanted mechanical pumps that help the heart's ventricle pump blood to the rest of the body. HeartMate II consists of a small, lightweight blood pump implanted in a patient's chest just below the heart. An electrical cable that powers the blood pump passes through the patient's skin to an external controller worn around the patient's waist. A physician designates the pump's speed based upon clinical need. The device is designed to sound an alarm upon malfunction or other potentially drastic changes that could impact the pump's operation. "The approval of HeartMate II provides an option for heart failure patients who cannot receive a transplant, " said Jeffrey Shuren, M.

Positron Sells Attrius trade; PET Scanner

Positron Corporation (OTCBB:POSC) a molecular imaging solutions company focused on Nuclear Cardiology, announced today the sale of its AttriusTM PET scanner to Manhattan based, Gramercy Cardiac Diagnostic Services, owned by prominent New York City cardiologist, Dr. Peter Rentrop. The Attrius™ is the only PET scanner on the market optimized for myocardial perfusion imaging. The Attrius™ has several specialized features making it the scanner of choice for nuclear cardiologist's who value high quality PET imagery and cardiovascular specific interpretation tools, assisting in accurately assessing the patient's condition. Joseph Oliverio, Chief Technology Officer of Positron states, "We are proud to sell Positron's newly released AttriusTM PET scanner to Dr. Rentrop. We appreciate his confidence in Positron Corporation in purchasing multiple systems to date." Oliverio further stated, "Positron has the ideal solution for thousands of cardiology groups looking to improve their diagnostic accuracy at an affordable price.

National Wear Red Day Promotes Statewide Heart Disease Awareness

The American Heart Association's national Go Red for Women campaign encourages the public to wear red on Friday, Feb. 5, "National Wear Red Day, " and to show support in the fight against heart disease. This year's nationwide theme is "Our Hearts. Our Choice, " and suggests that women improve their heart health to live stronger, longer lives. The Alabama Department of Public Health and the American Heart Association's collaborative Go Red for Women events include outreach to special populations-Women's Health Information For the Incarcerated Initiative (WHI-FI), and faith-based outreach to African American and Hispanic/Latino communities throughout the state. The Office of Minority Health, with the American Heart Association, will hold a Health Disparities Satellite Conference and Webcast, Go Red to Prevent Heart Disease in Women, " on Wednesday, Feb. 17, from 2 - 3 p.m. For more information or to register for this program, go to http://www.adph.org/alphtn. Go Red materials have also been sent to the 67 county health departments and senior centers across the state to support local community awareness for statewide outreach.

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