No, Too Much Jogging Probably Won’t Kill You

One again lazy health journalists have fallen down on the job and performed a disservice to the public. The new outrage: a multitude of media reports about a small study on the effect of jogging on mortality. Here are just a few headlines, published minutes after the study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology:…

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Study Tests High Blood Pressure Control During Pregnancy

High blood pressure during pregnancy is increasingly common, largely due to older age and obesity. Although there is widespread agreement that hypertension in these women should be treated when it is high enough to raise the risk of stroke, there is little agreement about whether or how to treat mild hypertension. In a study reported in…

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FDA Approves New Heart Pump From Abiomed

Abiomed has announced that it received FDA approval for its Impella RP System, the first percutaneous single access heart pump that provides support to the right side of the heart. The approval, under a Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE), is based on results of the single arm Recover Right study, in which 30 patients were enrolled. The overall survival…

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Can Precision Medicine Do Better Than Precision Weather?

Looking out of my New York City window this morning at the meager 6 inches of snow on the ground I can’t help wondering if precision medicine in the foreseeable future will be able to do a better job than precision weather forecasting today. … Click here to read the full post on Forbes.    …

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Califf To Leave Duke To Become FDA Deputy Commissioner

The FDA announced today that Duke University cardiologist Robert Califf will be the next FDA Deputy Commissioner for Medical Products and Tobacco. The agency said that Califf will be responsible for the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, the Center for Devices and Radiological Health and the Center for Tobacco…

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Sanofi And Regeneron Leapfrog Amgen In New Cholesterol Drug Race

Early on Monday Sanofi and Regeneron leapfrogged their rival Amgen to gain leadership in the race to bring a new class of cholesterol drugs to market. The new development could potentially give Sanofi and Regeneron a month on the market by itself before facing competition from Amgen. Sanofi and Regeneron announced early on Monday that the FDA had accepted for priority review the Biologics…

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Salt, Science, And The American Heart Association’s Double Standard

Once again the American Heart Association is sticking by its recommendation that pretty much everyone should consume no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium each day. This is dramatically lower than the 3,500 mg/d the average American now consumes. In a blog post reprinted on MedPage Today the president of the American Heart Association,  Elliott Antman, assails a study published earlier this week which found no…

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New Device to Lower Resistant High Blood Pressure Shows Early Promise

A novel implantable device appears to show early promise in the treatment of resistant hypertension. The “Coupler” device from privatelyheld ROX Medical is about the size of a paper clip and is delivered via a catheter to the upper thigh, where it creates a connection between the vein and the artery, which lowers blood pressure in the arteries by…

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Why Doctors, Like Airline Pilots, Should Not Be Completely Trusted. 

I would never get on an airplane if I didn’t feel highly confident that the pilot was fully competent. In order to fly a commercial airplane a pilot has to  undergo rigorous and continuous training and testing. I’d walk before flying with a pilot whose only credential was his assurance that he’d been diligently “keeping up…

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Intense Exercise Doesn’t Eliminate the Hazard of Intense Sitting

James Brown had it right. There may be no better medical advice these days than to “Get Up Offa That Thing. A large new analysis published in Annals of Internal Medicine supports earlier observations that the health hazards of sedentary behavior aren’t completely neutralized by exercise. Researchers in Toronto scoured the literature to find studies that assessed…

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How Much Salt Should Old People Consume?

A new study offers fresh evidence that current salt recommendations should be taken with, well, a grain of salt. Current guidelines now recommend that everyone should have sodium intake levels below 2300 mg per day. For many people at higher risk, including everyone over 50 years of age, sodium intake should be below 1500 mg/d….

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Buried Clinical Trial Data: The Dam Is About to Burst

Two important new developments may mean that many more researchers will soon be able to access and analyze data from many more clinical trials. … a preliminary report from the prestigious Institute of Medicine lends strong support to the open data movement. The IOM report states that investigators should be required to establish a data-sharing plan at the…

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AstraZeneca Drug Improves Outcomes After Heart Attacks

For the first time a very large trial has shown that dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT) improves cardiovascular outcomes when given to patients one to three years after a heart attack. Because it has been shown previously to reduce the high risk of recurrent events for up to a year following a heart attack, DAPT is considered to be…

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Success For 40-Year Effort In One Rural County To Curb Cardiovascular Disease

A 40-year program in one poor rural county to combat cardiovascular disease appears to have been successful, resulting in reduced rates of hospitalization and death compared with other counties in the same state over the same time period. The new findings from the study are described in a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. ……

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Millions Of Americans Taking Aspirin When They Shouldn’t

More than a third of US adults– more than 50 million people– now take aspirin for the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. (Primary prevention is the prevention of a first event; secondary prevention is the prevention of a recurrent event.) Although it was once broadly recommended, because of the increased risk of bleeding…

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More Turmoil For Troubled Medical Laboratory Company

Problems continue to accumulate for the deeply troubled medical laboratory company Health Diagnostic Laboratory. Following several years of spectacular growth, in which the company grew to $400 million in annual revenue, the company last year began an equally spectacular implosion when it became known that the federal government was investigating the company for giving kickbacks to physicians to use the company’s tests….

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Three Reasons Why You Don’t Need To Feel Sorry For Doctors

I’m not a doctor and I don’t have strong opinions about how doctors should be certified or, more to the point right now, what they should have to do to maintain their certification over the course of their careers. But recently this last topic– called maintenance of certification, or MOC– has become the subject of a…

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FDA Approves New Oral Anticoagulant From Daiichi Sankyo

And then there were four. Late Thursday the FDA announced that it had approved edoxaban, the new oral anticoagulant manufactured by Daiichi Sankyo. The drug will be marketed under the brand name of Savaysa and joins three other new drugs in the large and important new oral anticoagulant marketplace… … Click here to read the full post on Forbes, including a…

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An Emerging Consensus About Novartis’s New Potential Blockbuster

Last year it became clear that Novartis had a potential blockbuster with its new heart failure drug, LCZ696, which is an angiotensin receptor- neprilysin inhibitor (ARNi) consisting of the company’s own well-known angiotensin receptor blocker valsartan (Diovan) and a novel compound, the neprilysin inhibitor sacubitiril. The results of the PARADIGM trial, which was stopped early because of a large and highly significant reduction in…

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Healthy Habits Of Young Women Lead To Long-Term Health Benefits

It may seem obvious but a new study shows that young women with healthy habits are less likely as they age to get coronary heart disease or go on to develop cardiovascular risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes. Andrea Chomistek and colleagues analyzed data from more than 88,000 women participating in…

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FDA Approves New Medtronic Drug-Coated Balloon To Open Blocked Leg Arteries

Medtronic said today that it had received approval from the FDA to market its In.Pact Admiral drug-coated balloon (DCB) to treat peripheral artery disease (PAD) in the upper leg. The device is the second DCB to gain FDA approval. Last October the FDA approved CR Bard’s Lutonix DCB for a similar indication. … Click here to read the full post on Forbes.  …

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2014 Dubious Innovations In Cardiology

  Dubious Innovative Device: Renal Denervation Dubious Innovative Business Strategy: Health Diagnostics Laboratory Dubious Innovations In Leadership (Tie): The European Society of Cardiology and The Institute of Medicine Dubious Innovative Breakthrough Therapy That Never Actually Breaks Through Anything (repeat winner): Cardiac Stem Cell Therapy   Click here to read the full post on Forbes.    …

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Cardiology Drugs Of The Year: New, Old, And Not-So-Funny

New Drug Of The Year: LCZ696 from Novartis Old Drug of the Year: Ezetimibe Not-So-Funny Drug of the Year: Ivabradine … Click here to read the full post on Forbes.  …

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Embattled Stem Cell Researchers Sue Harvard And Brigham And Women’s Hospital

Two embattled and highly controversial stem cell researchers are suing the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School for an ongoing investigation into their research. The investigation has already resulted in the retraction of one paper in Circulation and an expression of concern about another paper in the Lancet. The suit was filed by Piero Anversa, the highly prominent…

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New Devices May Bring Improved Treatment To Stroke Patients

A large new trial provides the first substantial evidence that new devices can improve the outcome of patients who have acute ischemic stroke. Earlier, less sophisticated versions of the devices had produced disappointing results in clinical trials. The previous trials may also have been hindered by long treatment delays and difficulties in recruiting suitable patients. The new…

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