Health and Fitness

Two Deaths In One Week: It's Not Good To Play Sports With A Big Heart

The tragic news of Chicago Bears defensive end Gaines Adams, 26, and Southern Indiana center Jeron Lewis, 21, whose sudden deaths are both suspected to be from Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), are vital reminders that this deadly disease often goes undetected. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), a genetic disease which results in a thickening of the heart muscle, is the leading cause of sudden death in children and young adults. It accounts for 40 percent of all deaths on athletic playing fields across the country. Marcia Kelley-Clark, chief deputy coroner for Greenwood County, S.C., said Gaines Adams' relatives were not aware of any kind of medical condition. University of Southern Indiana spokesman Dan McDonnell said he wasn't aware of any preexisting medical conditions that could have contributed to Jeron's death. Estimated to affect one in 500 Americans, HCM can be detected and treated allowing patients to live long lives. College and professional athletes should all have comprehensive cardiac exams to ensure they have healthy hearts free from HCM.

Study Shows GHRH-Agonists Can Activate Cardiac Repair After Myocardial Infarction

Despite major therapeutic advances, congestive heart failure remains a leading cause of death and disability. There is currently no therapy that fully reverses heart failure and/or left ventricular (LV) dysfunction, leaving physicians with a great need for viable treatments. A team of physician-scientists from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, including a Nobel Laureate, have demonstrated that growth hormone-releasing hormone agonists (GHRH-A) can stimulate major recovery of the heart injured by a heart attack. GHRH is a master regulator of growth hormone that is produced by the brain. Joshua M. Hare, M.D., Louis Lemberg Professor of Medicine in the Cardiovascular Division, was the principal investigator of the study that included fifteen researchers, among them co-senior author Andrew V. Schally, Ph.D., M.D.h.c., D.Sc.h.c., the 1977 Nobel Prize winner for Physiology or Medicine, Distinguished Medical Research Scientist of the Department of Veterans Affairs, distinguished professor in the Department of Pathology at the Miller School of Medicine.

AMA Welcomes New Body To Combat Rheumatic Heart Disease, Australia

AMA Vice President and Chair of the AMA Taskforce on Indigenous Health, Dr Steve Hambleton, said today that RHDAustralia is an important first step towards eradicating rheumatic heart disease among Indigenous people. The Government has provided RHDAustralia with $2.5 million over four years to combat rheumatic heart disease, which is a major killer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. "For several years, the AMA has been calling for a coordinated national effort to eradicate rheumatic heart disease among Indigenous people, " Dr Hambleton said. "Acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease can be prevented if the right screening, management and notification processes - and follow up - are put in place. "Now that this initiative has commenced with RHDAustralia, we would like the Government to continue to build on the momentum by implementing the $11.2 million Rheumatic Fever Strategy that was promised prior to the 2007 election. "The AMA believes it is essential that RHDAustralia keeps all the relevant stakeholders involved and informed, especially when it comes to the development of a national register and refinement of best practice guidelines.

BG Medicine Announces Receipt Of CE Mark For Its Galectin-3 Blood Test

BG Medicine, Inc., a privately-held developer of biomarker-based in vitro diagnostics, announced the commercial launch in the European Union of a new, CE-marked test for the measurement of galectin-3 in human plasma or serum. Galectin-3 was first shown by researchers at the University of Maastricht, The Netherlands, to play an integral role in the development and progression of heart failure. "This is an important point in our development of galectin-3 testing and a milestone for the company, " noted Pieter Muntendam, MD, President and CEO of BG Medicine. "Heart failure is a complex and heterogeneous condition, and the objective of our BGM Galectin-3™ test is to redefine heart failure on the basis of underlying disease processes, not as it is currently addressed based solely on the nature and severity of signs or symptoms." Galectin-3 is a protein that is involved in the biological processes leading to cardiac fibrosis and scarring, which play an important role in heart failure development and progression.

SNM Applauds US Department Of Energy's Move To Develop Domestic Radioisotope Supply

SNM applauds a move by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to help fund the development of a domestic supply of radioisotopes, which are used to help millions of patients each year through the diagnosis and staging of cancer, thyroid and heart disease. Earlier this week, GE-Hitachi announced their selection by the NNSA to help develop a U.S. supply of Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99). Babcock & Wilcox (B&W) Technical Services Group also announced this week that it has been awarded approximately $9 million from the NNSA for the company's medical isotope production program. The company previously announced a partnership with Covidien to develop medical isotope production. "We are pleased by this development, " said Michael M. Graham, Ph.D., M.D., president of SNM. "The ongoing worldwide isotope shortage has long been a critical problem affecting the U.S. We are encouraged by the progress that has been made to date by the NNSA on this issue." There are currently only five major producers of Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) in the world, with none in the United States.

Piedmont Hospital Installs First Toshiba Vascular X-Ray System With 12 X 12 Mid-Sized Flat Panel Detector

Increasing its ability to provide patients with the highest quality of care, Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta has installed the country's first InfinixTM VF-i vascular X-ray system with the 12" x 12" mid-sized flat panel detector (FPD) from Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. The new mid-sized FPD system is equipped with Toshiba's Next Generation Advanced Image Processing (AIP) capabilities and marks the fourth Toshiba Infinix-i system installed by Piedmont Hospital. "Toshiba's Infinix VF-i with the 12" x 12" flat panel detector provides better perspective during electrophysiologic procedures than most traditional flat panel detectors, " said Piedmont Heart Institute physician Harry A. Kopelman, M.D., Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology Laboratories at the Fuqua Heart Center of Atlanta's Piedmont Hospital. "The 12" x 12" panel offers a wider field-of-view, making it easier to image a large cardiac silhouette. It is well-suited for cardiac rhythm device implantation and other electrophysiologic procedures.

Cardiovascular Systems Receives Conditional IDE Approval For ORBIT II Coronary Clinical Trial

Cardiovascular Systems, Inc. (CSI) (Nasdaq:CSII), has received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conditional Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) approval to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of its Diamondback 360® System in the treatment of calcified coronary lesions. With this conditional approval, CSI is authorized to begin its pivotal trial, ORBIT II, in early 2010 and initially enroll up to 100 patients at as many as 50 U.S. sites. Dr. Jeffrey Chambers, an interventional cardiologist with Metropolitan Cardiovascular Consultants, Minneapolis, is the principal investigator for ORBIT II. The Diamondback 360° is a minimally invasive catheter, which received FDA 510(k) marketing clearance in 2007 for the treatment of peripheral arterial disease. "The U.S. market for coronary interventions is currently estimated at more than $4 billion, representing 1.3 million procedures each year, " said David L. Martin, president and CEO of Cardiovascular Systems. "A complementary tool to stents and angioplasty, we expect our Diamondback 360°

St. Jude Medical Showcases Latest Products At Boston Atrial Fibrillation Symposium 2010

St. Jude Medical, Inc. (NYSE:STJ) today announced it will display and demonstrate products and technologies from the company's arrhythmia management portfolio at the 15th annual Boston Atrial Fibrillation (BAF) Symposium. The featured products reflect the company's continued commitment to the treatment of abnormal heart rhythms, including Atrial Fibrillation (AF). St. Jude Medical will feature products and technologies that aid physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiac arrhythmias and cardiovascular disease in the U.S. and around the globe. Physicians can also get hands-on experience with several of the company's latest products by visiting the stations at the company's booths. "St. Jude Medical is committed to developing curative solutions which help treat atrial fibrillation and other debilitating cardiac arrhythmias, " said Jane J. Song, president of the St. Jude Medical Atrial Fibrillation Division. "We are designing innovative products which help physicians to achieve safe, reproducible results and improve patient outcomes for their ablation procedures as well as sponsoring research that addresses important clinical questions facing the medical community.

MAQUET Cardiovascular Announces Long-Term Follow-Up Data From Landmark 'SMART' Study Reinforce Positive Results For Patients Undergoing OPCAB

MAQUET Cardiovascular LLC, a leading provider of cardiovascular technologies, announced that long-term results from the landmark SMART (Surgical Management of Arterial Revascularization) study will be presented tomorrow to attendees of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons's 46th Annual Meeting by John Puskas, M.D., Chief of Cardiac Surgery, Emory Crawford Long Hospital, Associate Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Emory University, and SMART Study lead investigator. The data provide confirmation of the efficacy of performing Coronary Artery Bypass Graft surgery (CABG) while the patient's heart continues to beat a procedure known as Off-Pump Coronary Artery Bypass (OPCAB). Initiated in March 2000, the SMART study was the first randomized U.S. trial to compare OPCAB with conventional on-pump CABG surgery (in which the patient's heart is stopped and a machine takes over the work of the heart and lungs). Long-term follow-up data collected from SMART study patients confirm that outcomes are similar based on an analysis of early- and late-graft patency (freedom from blockage), incidence of recurrent heart attack, need for re-intervention, and long-term survival between the two procedures at a mean of nearly eight years after surgery.

Medtronic Receives FDA Approval For First Replacement Heart Valve Implanted Without Surgery

In a significant development for congenital heart disease patients, Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE: MDT), announced today that its Melody® Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval under a Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE). This innovative medical device is the first transcatheter heart valve to receive FDA approval. Delivered through a catheter requiring only a small incision, the Melody valve will benefit children and adults who are born with a malformation of their pulmonary valve, which is the valve between the heart and lungs. These patients often require open-heart surgery to restore effective blood flow to their lungs. Previously, the only way to repair or replace a failed pulmonary valve conduit was through additional surgeries. To date, more than 1, 100 patients worldwide have received a Melody valve. "The Melody Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve is a significant technological breakthrough and offers a reprieve for many patients with congenital heart disease - many of whom are young and will require several heart surgeries over their lifetime, " said pediatric cardiologist Dr.

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