Health and Fitness

New American Heart Association Survey Finds Heart Disease And Stroke Patients Face Significant Barriers In Obtaining Quality, Affordable Care

A new American Heart Association survey substantiates that the need for health care reform has not gone away. Many heart disease and stroke patients are faring poorly under the current health care system, with nearly two-thirds citing affordability as the top concern of those suffering from cardiovascular disease. Ensuring the availability of insurance coverage and investing more in prevention ranked second and third, respectively. "The survey should serve as a vivid reminder that too many Americans, including the insured and especially the underinsured, are simply overwhelmed by soaring medical expenses and inadequate coverage, " said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. "Many of these issues and concerns would be addressed through meaningful and comprehensive health care reform - and that's why it is so critically important that Congress act this year." According to the AHA survey, more than half of all cardiovascular disease patients surveyed reported difficulty in paying for prescription drugs or other medical care in the past two years, with stroke patients more likely to report such difficulties.

Pitt County Memorial Hospital Adopts TandemHeart R -versatile Circulatory Support Device From CardiacAssist

CardiacAssist Inc. announced that Pitt County Memorial Hospital has adopted the company's TandemHeart® System. Pitt County Memorial Hospital is in select company: TandemHeart is now being used in nearly 90% of the "Best U.S. Heart & Heart Surgery Hospitals" as ranked by U.S. News & World Report-with more than 1, 900 TandemHeart procedures performed to date at nearly 150 hospitals across the United States. "We pride ourselves in being a state-of-the-art cardiac care facility, " said interventional cardiologist Walter A. Tan, M.D. "Therefore we are very proud to be one of the first cardiac centers in North Carolina to offer this important new life-saving technology to our cardiac patients." FDA-cleared TandemHeart can be placed rapidly by both interventional cardiologists in a cath lab and by cardiac surgeons in an operating room to provide short-term circulatory support to patients requiring additional cardiac assistance. The device provides effective and reliable temporary circulatory support for critically ill patients.

Women's Heart Health Takes Center Stage In February

Despite strides in raising awareness of cardiovascular disease as the leading cause of death and illness among women, heart disease is still under-recognized, under-treated, and under-diagnosed in women. During American Heart Month, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists encourages women to learn how they can protect their heart health. Heart disease killed more than 432, 000 US women in 2006-roughly one woman per minute. Women over age 20 have more than a one in three chance of dying from cardiovascular disease. Long considered a man's disease, awareness efforts have helped many people understand that heart disease is very much a women's disease. It often manifests differently in men and women making the signs harder to recognize and delaying diagnosis in women. And while heart disease kills more women than men in the US, vast disparities still exist in the care of women with heart disease, their treatment after cardiac events such as heart attack, and their representation in clinical trials.

German Appeals Court Says CoreValve Devices From Medtronic Do Not Infringe Edwards Lifesciences' Andersen Patent

Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE: MDT), announced that an appeals court in Germany has found that the CoreValve® transcatheter aortic valve system does not infringe Edwards Lifesciences' German Andersen patent, which is set to expire in May 2011. The appellate court's decision upholds a lower court's ruling and enables uninterrupted access to the leading transcatheter heart valve in Germany. "We are gratified but not surprised by today's ruling, " said Scott Ward, president of the CardioVascular business and senior vice president at Medtronic. "We look forward to similar outcomes in the U.K. and the United States." Court proceedings in the U.K. involving the U.K. counterpart to the German Andersen patent are scheduled to resume May 14 in London with an appeal from the trial court. As in Germany, the U.K. trial court found in January 2009 that CoreValve devices do not infringe the Edwards' U.K. Andersen patent. In the United States, the U.S. District Court of Delaware is scheduled to begin a trial on March 23 involving related U.

C-reactive Protein: Not A Routine Test For Heart Disease

For women concerned about heart disease, routine testing of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) is controversial, says Thomas Behrenbeck, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, in an interview in the February issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource. CRP is a marker for inflammation within the body and has been promoted as a screening test for coronary artery disease. Inflammation can play an important role in atherosclerosis, the process in which fatty deposits build up in coronary arteries. Interest in hs-CRP originated when studies found that patients with unstable angina or chest pain had high levels of this marker. Researchers found that hs-CRP could be used to predict who would go on to have a heart attack. But other studies have shown that hs-CRP isn't a predictor of heart attack risk in people without symptoms of heart disease. "If hs-CRP is elevated, it is worrisome because it tells you there is inflammation in the body, " says Dr. Behrenbeck. "But it doesn't mean the inflammation is related to coronary artery disease.

Migraine May Be Linked To Heart Disease

People with migraine may be at an increased risk of heart attack and other risk factors for heart disease, according to a study published in the February 10, 2010, online issue of Neurology® , the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. "While the overall risk of heart problems in people with migraine is small, these findings are consistent with other studies showing people with migraine are more likely to suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which are risk factors for heart disease, " said study author Marcelo E. Bigal, MD, PhD, with Merck Research Laboratories and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York. Bigal is also a member of the American Academy of Neurology. The study involved 6, 102 people with migraine and 5, 243 people without migraine. Participants answered questions about headaches, treatment, general health and any diagnosed heart problems. The study found that people who had migraines were about twice as likely to have a heart attack compared to people without migraines, or 4.

Heart Disease: IQ Among Strongest Predictors, Second Only To Cigarette Smoking In Large Population Study

While lower intelligence scores - as reflected by low results on written or oral tests of IQ - have been associated with a raised risk of cardiovascular disease, no study has so far compared the relative strength of this association with other established risk factors such as obesity, smoking and high blood pressure. Now, a large study funded by Britain's Medical Research Council, which set out to gauge the relative importance of IQ alongside other risk factors, has found that lower intelligence scores were associated with higher rates of cardiovascular disease and total mortality at a greater level of magnitude than found with any other risk factor except smoking.(1) The findings, published in the February issue of the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation, are derived from the West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study, a population study designed to investigate the influence of social factors on health. The present analysis was based on data collected in 1987 in a cohort of 1145 men and women aged around 55 and followed up for 20 years.

Publication Of New Research Report Of The Max-Delbr ck Center

The Max Delbr ck Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch has published its new research report. In the 284-page book, 54 research groups at the MDC give an overview of their work in 2008 and 2009. Research at the MDC focuses on cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders, cancer, and neurosciences. However, as MDC Director, Professor Walter Rosenthal clearly pointed out in his introduction: "Research at MDC is not limited to individual organs or diseases. Molecular research almost always transcends disciplinary barriers. This state-of-affairs has become particularly clear through the new research approaches such as systems biology, a discipline that investigates biological processes in a holistic context in cells, tissues, and whole organisms". Prof. Rosenthal pointed out that science is presently experiencing a rapid development of new technologies and methods. For instance, new high-throughput methods can produce amazing amounts of data in very short time periods that were not even conceivable 10 years ago.

Half Of Women Would Not Call 911 If Having Heart Attack, Many Unaware Of Symptoms

A new US study found women's knowledge of the warning signs of heart attack is as poor as it was a decade ago, with half saying they would not call 9-1-1 if they were having heart attack symptoms; they also found that although getting narrower, there are still racial gaps in women's awareness of heart disease, with white women still more aware than other races. You can read about the study, by lead author Lori Mosca, Director of Preventive Cardiology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, and colleagues, in an online before print 10 February issue of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, a journal of the American Heart Association. For the study, Mosca and colleagues surveyed 2, 300 women aged 25 and older (about half on the phone and half online) living in the US in 2009 and measured their current awareness of cardiovascular disease risk and barriers to prevention. They used a cross-sectional sample with an oversampling of racial and ethnic minorities.

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 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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