Guest Post: Retraction Reveals Downfall of Company Where Ron Waksman Consulted

Editor’s Note: CardioBrief is pleased to publish this guest post by Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky. A different version of this story appeared on their blog, Retraction Watch, which has been called “required reading for anyone interested in scientific journalism or the issue of accuracy” by the Columbia Journalism Review. Spirocor is an Israeli company that…

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ACC Late-Breakers To Include PARTNER A, EVEREST II, STICH & MAGELLAN

The ACC has posted the list of Late-Breaking Clinical Trials to be presented in New Orleans in  April at the ACC.11 and i2 Summit. Here is the list, or you can click here to download a PDF of the schedule….

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Biomarker Levels Post-CABG Strongly Linked to Mortality

Creatine kinase (CK-MB) and troponin levels obtained in the first day after CABG are a strong predictor of long-term mortality, according to a new report appearing in JAMA. Michael Domanski and colleagues analyzed data from 7 studies that included 18,908 patients who underwent CABG and for whom data on biomarkers and mortality were available. Mortality was…

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FDA Approves First Pacemaker Designed For Use with MRI

The FDA has approved Medtronic’s Revo MRI SureScan Pacing System, the first pacemaker designed for safe use during MRI exams. Here is Medtronic’s description of how the pacemaker differs from traditional pacemakers: The pacemaker system includes hardware modifications to the device and leads that are designed to reduce or eliminate several hazards produced by the…

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WebMD: the 800 Pound Gorilla in the Room

There’s been a lot of discussion in the blogosphere and twittersphere about Virginia Heffernan’s column in the New York Times magazine on Sunday comparing WebMD very unfavorably to MayoClinic.Com. Heffernan makes a fairly simple point: because of WebMD’s “(admitted) connections to pharmaceutical and other companies,” the site is “permeated with pseudomedicine and subtle misinformation.” Because…

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FDA Sets July Deadline for Decision on Ticagrelor (Brilinta)

AstraZeneca said today that the FDA had accepted its resubmission of the ticagrelor (Brilinta) NDA and had set a deadline of July 20, 2011 to reach a decision. As previously reported, on December 16 the FDA issued a Complete Response Letter to the initial ticagrelor NDA. Although ticagrelor received a favorable response from the FDA…

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Some Things Don’t Go Better With Coke

Here are some things that don’t go better with Coke: science, medicine, and education. A few weeks ago I received the following email from an administrator at my son’s New York City public middle school:…

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Lancet Papers Outline Worldwide Trends in Obesity, Hypertension, and Cholesterol

Three papers published in the Lancet provide the most detailed view yet of worldwide trends over the last 3 decades in body-mass index, blood pressure, and cholesterol, and also include numerous details about different regions and countries. Here are a few highlights of the reports from the Global Burden of Metabolic Risk Factors of Chronic Diseases…

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Guest Post: How to Question the Research Question

Editor’s note: This post by Harlan Krumholz is republished with permission from CardioExchange, a new website for cardiovascular healthcare professionals from the New England Journal of Medicine. CardioBrief readers who are healthcare professionals are invited to join the site. How to Question the Research Question by Harlan Krumholz Another good paper for a journal club recently appeared…

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Heart Failure Can Be Fixed Just Like a Broken Leg… for £50 Million

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) can fix heart failure by studying zebrafish, but only if it raises £50 million first. Yesterday the BHF hosted a press event and issued a press release announcing a “major new research programme to halt” the “relentless rise” of heart failure in the UK: The Mending Broken Hearts project will involve stem cell…

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CDC Details the Persistent Problem of Hypertension and Elevated LDL in the US

New data from the CDC show that in the years 2005-2008 31% of adults in the US had hypertension and 33.5% had high LDL cholesterol. The two reports are based on statistics gathered from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and have been published online by Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)….

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New Guidelines Lend More Support for Carotid Stenting

Newly issued guidelines provide increased support for carotid stenting as an alternative to carotid endarterectomy, but don’t favor widespread screening or the routine use of ultrasound to assess the risk for stroke. The Guideline on the Management of Patients With Extracranial Carotid and Vertebral Artery Disease, developed by the AHA, the ACC, and multiple other organizations,…

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Women and Younger Patients May Be At Higher Risk For Sprint Fidelis Failure

Women, younger patients, those with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and those with arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia or channelopathies may be more likely to develop Sprint Fidelis lead failure. Robert Hauser and colleagues at the Minneapolis Heart Institute, the Mayo Clinic, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center analyzed data from 1023 patients who received Fidelis leads and 1668…

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Justice Department Files New Suit Against Boston Scientific

The US Department of Justice has filed another suit against Boston Scientific. The government claims that Guidant (bought by Boston Scientific in 2006) sold the Ventak Prizm 2 and the Renewal 1 and 2 devices even after the company knew they were defective. Earlier this month Boston Scientific was convicted and sentenced in a criminal case to…

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HPS Results Suggest Baseline CRP Doesn’t Predict Statin Efficacy

Analysis of data from the Heart Protection Study (HPS) indicates that a CRP measurement obtained at baseline does not predict the effect of statin therapy. In a paper published online in the Lancet,  the HPS Collaborative Group report the results of the more than 20,000 patient HPS study based on CRP category at baseline. As previously…

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End of an Era: Eugene Braunwald Steps Down, Marc Sabatine Assumes Chair of TIMI Group

Marc Sabatine has replaced Eugene Braunwald as the chairman of the TIMI study group, CardioBrief has learned. Braunwald, who has been the dominant figure in cardiology for many decades, is 81. Sabatine was appointed Vice Chairman of the TIMI group last summer and he assumed the chairman’s role on January 1….

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JAMA Study Finds Declining Stroke Rate After CABG

Despite the increasing complexity of cases, the risk of stroke after CABG may be declining, according to a new study published in JAMA. Khaldoun Tarakji and colleagues prospectively studied more than 45,000 patients who underwent CABG at the Cleveland Clinic from 1982 through 2009….

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Inappropriate ICD Shocks Linked to Increased Mortality

A large single-center observational study has found a link between inappropriate ICD shocks and mortality. In a report published in JACC, Johannes van Rees and colleagues from the Netherlands followed 1,544 patients who received an ICD from 1996 to 2006. 13% of patients had at least one inappropriate shock over 41 months of followup. Age below 70…

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New Study Finds Hydrochlorothiazide Inferior To All Other BP Drugs

At the doses most often used, hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ), the most widely used antihypertensive agent in the world, is “consistently inferior” to all other drugs, according to a new meta-analysis published in JACC. Franz Messerli and colleagues performed a systematic review of studies that compared HCTZ to other drugs using 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring and found that…

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AHA Estimates Cost of Heart Disease Will Triple by 2030

The American Heart Association (AHA) is projecting that the cost to treat heart disease in the US will triple by 2030, from $273 billion today to $818 billion. The AHA policy statement is published in Circulation. The AHA estimates that the incidence of stroke and heart failure will each  grow by about 25% by 2030….

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Heart Rhythm Society Advising DOJ in Investigation of ICD Implants

The Heart Rhythm Society has informed its members that it is “aware of an ongoing US Department of Justice (DOJ) civil investigation of Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) implants” and that it has “agreed to assist in an advisory role to lend expertise concerning proper guidelines for clinical decision making.” HRS explained that its role involved “reviewing…

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Guest Post: Prevention Magazine Pushes High-Tech Non-Evidence Based Heart Screening More Than Basic Prevention

Editor’s Note: The following post by Gary Schwitzer is reprinted with permission from his blog at HealthNewsReview.Org. HealthNewsReview has received many praises and awards, including Medgadget’s Best Medical Blog award for 2009, which wrote that “Gary has become renowned for his critique of media’s coverage of health care topics. And that’s what his blog is mostly…

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Braunwald: Vorapaxar Problem Based on Intracranial Bleeding in Patients with History of Stroke

Updated with additional information from TRACER chair Bob Harrington. A key detail has now emerged about the problems encountered with vorapaxar, Merck’s thrombin receptor antagonist that suffered a large setback last week. TIMI investigators in the TRA-2P TIMI 50 trial have been informed by Eugene Braunwald that the reason vorapaxar would be discontinued in patients…

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Guest Post: What PROSPECT Doesn’t Tell Us

Editor’s Note: The following guest post, about the recent publication of PROSPECT in the New England Journal of Medicine, is by Richard Lange and L. David Hillis. This post is reprinted with permission from CardioExchange, where Lange and Hillis write a blog about interventional cardiology. Among their many other titles, Lange is the Executive Vice Chairman of Medicine and…

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Review Raises Questions About Statins for Primary Prevention

A Cochrane Review raises troubling questions about the evidence base supporting the use of statins for primary prevention. The Cochrane reviewers analyzed 14 randomized trials including 34,272 participants and found that statins were associated with significant reductions in overall mortality, fatal and nonfatal CV endpoints, and revascularization procedures. The reviewers found no evidence of harm….

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