Health and Fitness

In Light Of Research About Teens' Heart Disease Risk, Lifestyle Changes Critical

Pamphlets detailing the warning signs associated with heart disease may soon end up in an unexpected location: your child's pediatrician's office. According to new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five American teens has at least one risk factor for developing heart disease in adulthood. With heart health front-and-center this month in honor of American Heart Month, most media coverage will focus on at-risk adults. But that's a mistake according to Sarah Wally, a dietitian with the National Association for Margarine Manufacturers. "Although heart disease is typically diagnosed in adulthood, its roots often begin in childhood, " says Wally. "Heart disease is the result of a lifelong process and intervention strategies to reduce risk should begin as early as possible." The new CDC report, released earlier this year, highlights the need to intervene early. The report reveals that twenty percent of children and teens in the U.S. have an abnormal lipid profile - a sign of high triglycerides, low levels of good cholesterol or high levels of bad cholesterol - and a strong marker for future heart disease risk.

Even Younger People Should Consider Cholesterol Screening

If you think heart disease is a disease of the middle aged, think again. Experts recommend that cholesterol screening should begin as early as 20 years of age because it is a key indicator of heart-attack risk, and should be rechecked at least once every five years. Atherosclerosis begins early, says Dr. Anand Rohatgi, cardiologist with UT Southwestern Medical Center's program in preventive cardiology. Even young adults and teens can show evidence of atherosclrosis, or hardening of the arteries. If early screening reveals low levels of good cholesterol (HDL) or moderately high levels of the bad cholesterol (LDL), counseling is provided to help modify lifestyles. Those who fall into this category should be reevaluated every one or two years. "Simple measures that can reduce cholesterol levels include decreasing the amount of saturated fat to less than 7 percent of total calories consumed each day, " Dr. Rohatgi says. "Also, increasing the amount of soluble fiber by just 5 to 10 grams daily and limiting cholesterol intake to less than 200 milligrams per day are helpful.

Cholesterol's Link To Heart Disease Gets Clearer - And More Complicated

By considering molecular-level events on a broader scale, researchers now have a clearer, if more complicated, picture of how one class of immune cells goes wrong when loaded with cholesterol. The findings reported in the February 3rd issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication, show that, when it comes to the development of atherosclerosis and heart disease, it's not about any one bad actor - it's about a network gone awry. The new findings also highlight a pretty remarkable thing, Heinecke says: "Despite 30 years of study, we still don't know how cholesterol causes heart disease." But, with the new findings, scientists are getting closer. Earlier studies had shown that heart disease is about more than just high LDL ("bad") cholesterol. Cells known as macrophages also play a critical role. Macrophages are part of the innate immune system that typically gobble up pathogens and clear away dead cells. But they also take up and degrade cholesterol derivatives. When they get overloaded with those lipoproteins, they take on a foamy appearance under the microscope to become what scientists aptly refer to as foam cells.

Pomegranate Extract Stimulates Uterine Contractions

The team identified beta-sitosterol - a steroid that can inhibit the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine - as the main constituent of pomegranate seed extract. The research suggests that pomegranate extract could be used as a natural stimulant to encourage the uterus to contract during labour. Pomegranate juice is thought to have a number of health benefits, from lowering cholesterol and blood pressure to protecting against some cancers, but until now there has been no evidence to demonstrate its effects on the uterus. Researchers investigated pomegranate seed extract - more highly concentrated than pomegranate juice - and its effect on uterine smooth muscle samples. Professor Sue Wray, from the University's Department of Physiology, said: "Previous study has suggested that the pomegranate's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties have a positive impact on health. We wanted to understand its effect on uterine contractions to help us explore new ways of treating women who may experience difficult labours.

Siemens Introduces Cholesterol To The ADVIA Chemistry Concentrated Reagents Portfolio

Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics has introduced concentrated Cholesterol, the 15th ADVIA® Chemistry reagent in concentrated format. ADVIA Chemistry concentrated reagents offer up to 3060 tests per wedge, whilst still giving identical results to the conventional ADVIA non-concentrated reagents. This increased capacity is of particular benefit to high throughput laboratories, extending processing time and increasing laboratory productivity. Concentrated reagent wedges liberate space on the reagent carousel, allowing laboratories to extend testing repertoire. This consolidation of tests onto high throughput routine ADVIA Chemistry reduces turnaround times and increases the laboratory's processing efficiency. "Fast and predictable turnaround times are both essential requirements of pathology services in the UK, " said Ibti Rashid, Product Manager for Clinical Chemistry at Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics. "Concentrated ADVIA Chemistry reagents offer increased capacity and consolidation power for high throughput laboratories.

Research Published By Standard Process Inc. Scientists About The Effects Of Dietary Intervention On Cholesterol Levels

In collaboration with the scientists in the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Standard Process scientists have published a study examining the effects of nutritional supplement ingredients on cholesterol levels in Rapacz familial hypercholesterolemic swine or FH swine. Findings of this study were reported in the Journal of Medicinal Food. The scientists designed the study to compare nutritional components found in foods and supplements (pectin, polyphenols, and phytosterols) with a first-generation cholesterol medication (Lovastatin) to examine serum cholesterol levels in swine with a genetically altered tendency toward high cholesterol. Researchers found a statistically significant decrease in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (so-called "bad" cholesterol) in the swine receiving the polyphenol and phytosterol diets alone and in combination with pectin. Pectin alone was not effective, while phytosterols were the most effective dietary intervention.

Higher Statin Doses Not Always Best At Preventing Coronary Artery Disease

Statins have proven highly effective at lowering cholesterol. Typically, a treat-to-target approach, which means treating to a target cholesterol level, is taken with statin therapy. However, some experts believe that a tailored approach that uses different dosages based on pateints' risk for cardiovascular disease may be a better strategy for reducing the risk of coronary artery disease. Researchers developed a computer simulation to compare two treatment approaches at the population level-- giving fixed doses of statins on the basis of a person's five-year coronary artery disease risk (tailored treatment), or increasing statin doses to achieve particular lipid level targets (treat-to-target). Compared with the intensive treat-to-target approach, the tailored fixed-dose strategy saved more quality-adjusted life-years and treated fewer persons with high-dose statin therapy. Researchers conclude that tying statin treatment individual risk for heart disease and potential benefits may be better than approaches that focus primarily on achieving certain lipid level targets.

Treat The Risk, Not The Cholesterol: Study Challenges Current Cholesterol Recommendations

A new study by the University of Michigan Medical School and VA Ann Arbor Health System challenges the medical thinking that the lower the cholesterol, the better. Tailoring treatment to a patient's overall heart attack risk, by considering all their risk factors, such as age, family history, and smoking status, was more effective, and used fewer high-dose statins, than current strategies to drive down cholesterol to a certain target, according to the U-M study. While study authors support the use of cholesterol-lowering statins, they conclude that patients and their doctors should consider all the factors that put them at risk for heart attack and strokes. The findings will be released online Monday ahead of print in the Annals of Internal Medicine. "We've been worrying too much about people's cholesterol level and not enough about their overall risk of heart disease, " says Rodney A. Hayward, M.D., director of the Veterans Affairs Center for Health Services Research and Development and a professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School.

Despite FDA Warnings, The Monitoring Of High-Risk Medications Remains Unchanged

A new study concludes that many doctors appear to have largely ignored a Food and Drug Administration warning to screen users of new antipsychotic drugs for high blood sugar and cholesterol, which poses risks to their health and raises questions about the efficacy of warning protocols in general. The research analyzed about 109, 000 Medicaid patients taking "second generation" antipsychotic drugs, which can cause increases in blood sugar, cholesterol and significant weight gain, as well as other symptoms - significantly raising the risk of diabetes. It was done by health researchers from Oregon, Colorado, Georgia and Missouri, and just published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. It found that most doctors never changed their level of baseline screening for blood sugar and cholesterol, despite a warning in 2003 from the FDA and two other organizations that these antipsychotic drugs could raise the risk of diabetes in a patient population that already was at higher risk for this disease.

Amarin Corporation Announces First Patients Enrolled In Two Phase 3 Clinical Trials Assessing AMR101 For The Treatment Of Cardiovascular Disease

Amarin Corporation plc (Nasdaq: AMRN), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on improving the treatment of cardiovascular disease, announced that first patients were enrolled in the MARINE and ANCHOR Phase 3 clinical trials for AMR101, the Company's lead product candidate. These clinical trials are designed to demonstrate that AMR101 lowers triglyceride levels in patients with very high triglycerides (the MARINE Study) and high triglycerides in patients with mixed dyslipidemia being treated with statins (the ANCHOR Study). It is estimated that over 27 million people in the US have elevated triglyceride levels which are associated with the increased risk of developing coronary artery disease as well as being a component of certain other metabolic disorders, such as diabetes and obesity. AMR101 is an ultra-pure omega-3 form being developed with ethyl ester of eicosapentaenoic acid (ethyl-EPA). Numerous independent studies have demonstrated the safety, tolerability and efficacy of ethyl-EPA in lowering plasma triglycerides in patients with high triglyceride levels of varying degrees of severity.

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