Global Cardiovascular Deaths Continue To Rise Despite Gains In Prevention And Treatment

Improvements in the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease haven’t been able to prevent a worldwide rise in cardiovascular deaths in a growing and aging population, according to the authors of a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Using mortality data from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 the authors set out to “disentangle” the…

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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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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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Air Pollution and Cardiovascular Disease: It’s Complicated

Epidemiology studies have provided powerful evidence linking air pollution to cardiovascular disease, especially heart attacks (MI) and stroke. By some estimates, air pollution may be responsible for 3.2 million deaths each year, most from cardiovascular causes. At first glance, a new study published in Heart appears to cast doubt on this association. … Click here to read the…

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Large Study Uncovers New Details About the Role of Hypertension in CVD

Although high blood pressure has long been recognized and studied as a cardiovascular risk factor, a large new study published in the Lancet provides a more detailed, granular view of the specific role of different forms of hypertension. Eleni Rapsomaniki and colleagues in the U.K. analyzed data from 1.25 million people without existing cardiovascular disease age 30 and older. An…

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Studies Suggest You Can Help Your Heart By Walking More And Eating More Fiber

It probably won’t come as a surprise, but walking more and eating more fiber are probably good for your heart. That’s the conclusion of two new studies, but because the studies relied on observational data it should be emphasized that they are incapable of demonstrating cause and effect. And it’s by no means clear that most…

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New Guideline Recommends Conservative Treatment for Heart Patients with Anemia

The American College of Physicians (ACP) is recommending more conservative use of transfusions and erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) in anemia patients with heart disease. But the authors of the new clinical practice guidelines, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, acknowledge that the evidence base is too flimsy to support firm conclusions. “Overall,” wrote the authors, “despite the epidemiologic and…

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FDA Removes Restrictions On Avandia

In a remarkable climax to a long-running drama, the FDA today lifted major restrictions on rosiglitazone (Avandia, GlaxoSmithKline). The drug has been the subject of  intense criticism and controversy since the 2007 publication of the famous Nissen meta-analsysis that first raised the possibility that the blockbuster diabetes drug might increase the risk of heart attack and cardiovascular death. The FDA said…

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Controversy Erupts Over Accuracy Of Cardiovascular Risk Calculator For Guidelines

In the face of a highly critical story in the New York Times by Gina Kolata about the new cardiovascular guidelines, authors of the guidelines and leaders of the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology defended the value and integrity of the guidelines. The Times story claims that the cardiovascular risk calculator used to assess individual risk in the new guidelines is deeply flawed. “In…

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The Italian Research Scandal Grows: New Questions And More Confusion

New questions are being raised about yet another published study from an embattled Italian research group. It also appears that despite attempts by some of the participants to respond to some of the previous questions and accusationst there is little likelihood that the growing scandal will be resolved anytime soon. The new allegations are the…

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Should You Be Worried About The Treatment For Low-T?

The ubiquitous ads ask: “Should I be worried about Low-T”? But now there’s a good chance there’s a more important question: “Should I be worried about the treatment for low-T?” A new study published in JAMA raises the distinct possibility that testosterone therapy may increase the risk of death, heart attack, and stroke. The findings are hardly definitive, but may raise…

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Flu Vaccine May Help Prevent Cardiovascular Events

A new meta-analysis published in JAMA offers the best evidence yet that the flu vaccine may help prevent cardiovascular events. Jacob  Udell and colleagues analyzed data from 5 published clinical trials in which 6,469 patients were randomized. People who received the flu vaccine had a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular events. The protective effect was largely restricted to…

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People Who Live Near Airports At Increased Risk For Cardiovascular Disease

Most previous research on the health effects of noise has focused on road noise. Now two new observational studies published in BMJ extend the research to noise from airports and provide fresh evidence that people who live near airports are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. In the first paper, Anna Hansell and colleagues in the UK analyzed data from 3.6…

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News From Our ‘Statin Civilization’: High-Dose Statins Found To Reduce Gum Disease Inflammation

In addition to their well-known benefits in heart disease, high-dose statins appear to reduce gum inflammation caused by periodontal disease, a new report published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology shows. The findings offer more evidence that heart disease and gum disease may be linked, and also help support the view that statins achieve at least…

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Studies Suggest Most Widely Used Cardiac Imaging Technique Is Overused

Echocardiography is a safe, noninvasive tool to image the heart without the use of radiation. For this reason it has become the most frequently used method to look at the heart for a wide variety of medical indications. Now two new studies suggest that, despite its popularity, transthoracic echocardiography is often not beneficial. One study…

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Another Disappointing Study For Fish Oil Supplements

Another large study has failed to find any benefits  for  fish oil supplements. The Italian Risk and Prevention Study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, enrolled 12,513 people who had not had a myocardial infarction but had evidence of atherosclerosis or had multiple cardiovascular risk factors. The patients were randomized to either a fish oil supplement…

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Another Cleveland Clinic Study Links TMAO To Atherosclerosis

A new study from the Cleveland Clinic research group headed by Stanley Hazen offers more evidence in support of the hypothesis that TMAO (trimethylamine-N-oxide) may play a role in the development of heart disease. The new research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, follows closely on a related study published recently in Nature…

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Emerging Biomarkers: How Reliable Is The Evidence?

Novel biomarkers are the subject of intense controversy, with a bewildering variety of factions and perspectives seeking to elevate or dismiss any of a large number of proposed new measures. Now a new examination of the literature published online in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that the evidence base used to evaluate novel biomarkers may be seriously compromised by…

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Three Experts Weigh In On The Mediterranean Diet

Over on CardioExchange three world-class experts– Walter Willett, Arthur Agatston, and Alice Lichtenstein– discuss the PREDIMED trial that earlier this week gave a big boost to the Mediterranean diet. I highly recommend you read the entire discussion on CardioExchange. Here are a few excerpts. Walter Willett: Many practitioners have not given enough emphasis to diet for…

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CABG Highly Cost Effective In Diabetics With Multivessel Disease

In November the main results of the FREEDOM trial showed that diabetics with multivessel disease do better with CABG than PCI. Now the findings of the trial’s cost-effectiveness study, published online in Circulation, demonstrate that CABG is also highly cost-effective when compared with PCI. Elizabeth Magnuson and colleagues  found that although CABG initially cost nearly $9,000 more…

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