Meta-Analysis Adds New Evidence For Cancer Benefits Of Daily Aspirin

Although daily aspirin was originally proposed to reduce cardiovascular events, the effects on cancer of daily aspirin have become increasingly apparent while the vascular benefits, especially in primary prevention, have become less clear. Now a new meta-analysis in the Lancet adds significantly new details to our understanding about the effects of aspirin and increases the…

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Studies Provide Strongest Evidence To Date For Causative Role of Inflammation in Heart Disease

Two large new meta-analyses published in the Lancet provide the first strong evidence demonstrating a cause-and-effect relationship between a specific inflammatory protein and the development of coronary heart disease (CHD). Both studies illuminate the role of interleukin-6 receptor (IL6R) by focusing on the common Asp 358Ala variant of the IL6R gene. The variant is known to dampen the…

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Bad News for Red Meat Lovers

Results from studies following more than 120,000 health care professionals link red meat consumption to higher mortality, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. In a paper published in Archives of Internal Medicine, An Pan and colleagues report findings from observations over 22 years of 37,698 men enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and over 28 years of 83,644…

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Guest Post: Another Round in the Debate on Diabetes and Statins

Another Round in the Debate on Diabetes and Statins by Roger Blumenthal Let me start by saying that I am proud to have Eric Topol as a friend and a trusted advisor over the past 20 years. His work has been an inspiration to cardiovascular health professionals for several decades. His new book, The Creative Destruction…

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Eric Topol, Megamind

Ralph Waldo Emerson famously wrote that “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” If this is true then Eric Topol, who earlier today wrote a New York Times editorial highly critical of statins, is Megamind. Here’s what he wrote in a 2004 editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine: Even today, only a…

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Statins and Diabetes: Real Concern or Much Ado About Nothing?

Updated at 7 PM with a detailed comment at the bottom from C. Michael Minder of Johns Hopkins– In a New York Times Op-Ed piece on Monday, Eric Topol comments on last week’s announcement by the FDA that it was changing the label for statins. Topol focuses on the new warning that statins raise the risk…

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FDA Revises the Safety Labeling of Statins

The FDA today announced important new changes to the safety language on the labels of statins: Routine periodic monitoring of liver enzymes is no longer recommended. Serious liver injury associated with statins is “rare and unpredictable in individual patients” and “routine periodic monitoring of liver enzymes does not appear to be effective in detecting or…

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Meta-Analysis Finds No Advantages for PCI Over Medical Therapy in Stable Patients

Patients with stable coronary artery disease (CAD) today do no better with stents than with medical therapy, according to a new meta-analysis published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Kathleen Stergiopoulos and David Brown identified 8 trials with 7,229 patients comparing stents to medical therapy in which stents were used in the majority of PCI cases. ”By limiting…

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More Rigorous Family History Improves CV Risk Assessment

Although family history has long been recognized as an important cardiovascular risk factor, usual methods to assess risk have not incorporated the family history in a rigorous manner. A new study published in Annals of Internal Medicine finds that systematically collecting family history in a primary practice setting significantly increases the identification of high risk people. Nadeem Quereshi…

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AHA Scientific Statement Spotlights Peripheral Artery Disease in Women

Although peripheral artery disease (PAD) raises the risk of heart disease and stroke, it often goes undiagnosed and untreated, especially in women, according to a scientific statement issued by the American Heart Association and published in Circulation. Here are a few highlights of the statement: Although women develop PAD later than men, the total number…

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Metaanalysis: Air Pollutants Raise Short Term Risk of MI

Air pollution significantly raises the short-term seven-day risk of myocardial infarction (MI), according to a new metaanalysis published in JAMA. Hazrije Mustafic and colleagues analyzed data from 34 studies and found a significant increase in the relative risk (RR) of MI for all the main air pollutants except ozone: carbon monoxide: RR 1.048, CI 1.026-1.070 nitrogen…

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Metaanalysis Raises More Questions About Routine Use of Aspirin for Primary Prevention

Although aspirin can reduce the risk of cardiovascular (CV) events, the associated increase in bleeding suggests that it should not be used routinely in  people without prior CV disease, say the authors of a new meta-analysis published in Archives of Internal Medicine. Sreenivasa Rao Kondapally Seshasai and colleagues combined data from 9 clinical studies including…

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The Y Chromosome May Explain Why Men Have Earlier Coronary Disease

The earlier onset of coronary artery disease in men has long provoked speculation and research. Now a new study in the Lancet suggests that common variations in the Y chromosome (which is transmitted directly from father to son and does not undergo recombination) may play an important role in the increased risk seen in men. Using…

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Prominent Interventionalists Attack Appropriate Use Criteria For PCI

A group of leading interventional cardiologists has launched an attack on the growing role of appropriate use criteria (AUC) for PCI in the US. They argue that severe flaws in current guidelines render unreliable current attempts to assess the rate of appropriate procedures. In a paper published in  JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions, Steven Marso and colleagues (Paul…

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Bleeding Problems Continue To Bedevil Merck’s Novel Antiplatelet Agent Vorapaxar

In the large TRA-2P  study of more than 26,000 patients with  MI, ischemic stroke, or documented peripheral vascular disease, the novel antiplatelet agent vorapaxar significantly reduced the primary endpoint of CV death, MI, stroke or urgent coronary revascularization. But vorapaxar treatment resulted in a significant increase in bleeding, including intracranial hemorrhage. The fate of vorapaxar now appears to…

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Women and ICDs: More Complications and Fewer Benefits

After consulting an electrophysiologist, women are just as likely as men to receive an ICD but they suffer more complications and are less likely to benefit from the device, according to a new study from Canada published in Annals of Internal Medicine. Derek MacFadden and colleagues analyzed data from 6,021 patients treated at 18 ICD…

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Very Large Observational Study Finds Significant Mortality Advantage for CABG Over PCI in High Risk Patients

Although PCI has a small, early mortality benefit compared to CABG in high risk patients, after the first year a striking survival advantage for CABG develops, according to results of the ASCERT study, presented on Monday at the annual meeting of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) meeting. Fred Edwards presented the high-risk subset of…

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Part 1: The National Lipid Association and the FH Guidelines

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a three-part series on the National Lipid Association. This first part focuses on the NLA’s publication of a series of papers offering expert guidance on familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) and raises serious questions about the role of industry in the documents. The second part explores additional questions about the…

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Statins may have caused the financial breakdown, according to (completely unreliable) experts

In addition to all the good press, statins have also taken a number of hits, but a recent article may have reached a new low by blaming statins for the financial breakdown. Here is how the article, Cholesterol Contrarians Question Cult of Statins, begins: The near-breakdown of the international financial system and the deep recession…

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After a year-long review FDA finds nothing new about vytorin

The FDA has finally completed its review of ENHANCE that it started in January 2008. It’s finding: there was no difference in clinical outcome between the vytorin-treated and the simvastatin-treated patients in clinical outcomes, though vytorin, as expected, had greater efficacy in lowering cholesterol. The FDA advises patients that, pending the results of IMPROVE-IT, “patients…

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