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New 20-Minute Test Can Diagnose Hidden Heart Condition That Other Existing Tests Can Not
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

|| October 05: 2018: University of Glasgow News || ά. New tests can diagnose ‘hidden’ heart diseases, caused by problems with the small blood vessels supplying the heart, according to research funded by the British Heart Foundation:BHF and presented at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics Conference last week in San Diego. The new tests are not yet standard in the NHS because, before now, there has not been enough evidence gathered about whether they would benefit patients.

Now, researchers say that these tests should be routinely available to pinpoint the cause of chest pain. Researchers from the University of Glasgow and the Golden Jubilee National Hospital performed the new ‘small vessel’ test, which involves passing a thin, flexible wire into the heart and measuring how well a blood vessel relaxes. The research team performed the new test on 151 patients with chest pain, who could not be diagnosed using currently available tests.

The small vessel test results for half of the patients were made available to doctors to further guide the diagnosis and treatment, whereas, in the other half of the patients, the results were not disclosed. These patients followed standard care. The researchers  found that the new tests were able to correctly diagnose four times as many patients as standard tests.

Even, more importantly, six months later, symptoms of angina were less and quality of life was better in the patients, whose care was guided by the new tests. Chest pain originating from the heart is, often, a symptom of a condition, called, Angina. Angina is triggered, when the heart does not receive enough oxygen rich blood, often, due to narrowed coronary arteries, which supply the heart itself. It, often, happens during exercise, cold weather and emotional stress and points to an underlying problem in the heart.

Doctors commonly recommend an angiogram, an invasive procedure which looks for narrowing of the heart’s main arteries. However, in around one half of patients with Angina, this angiogram reveals no significant problems. Despite this, patients can experience severe chest pain and have a significantly higher risk of having a heart attack in the future.

In many people with angina, the pain, may b,  caused by problems with the tiniest blood vessels in the heart, the micro vessels, which are too small to see with traditional tests. The conditions are called Microvascular Angina and Vasospastic Angina, which are commonly misdiagnosed. Because diagnosis is so difficult, patients are, often, left without firm answers about the cause of their chest pain.

Lead Researcher Professor Colin Berry, Chair in Cardiology and Imaging at the University of Glasgow, said, ‘’Microvascular Angina and Vasospastic Angina are under-recognised problems. As the angiogram in these patients looks ‘clear’ they are commonly falsely reassured. Our study’s results indicate this to be the case.

However, leaving Microvascular Angina and Vasospastic Angina undiagnosed and untreated presents a risk to patient wellbeing; these problems can be a precursor to a hospitalisation for chest pain and a heart attack and symptoms persist in the longer term. We now hope to see this test rolled out across the country.”

Ms Philippa Hobson, the Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said, “People living with Microvascular Angina suffer from crippling and frightening episodes of chest pain, that dramatically affects their day to day life. They are unable to treat their symptoms effectively as their angiogram is essentially normal.

Medication currently prescribed to people with diagnosed coronary heart disease does little to resolve their pain or reduce risk of heart attack, so they are left in limbo. This study is very reassuring news for sufferers. who live in the fear of having a heart attack as for many, there is currently no conclusive proof they have heart disease.”:::ω.

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The Office for National Statistics: The Life and Death in the Mirror of Data: The Picture Should Wake Up the Nation

 

 

|| August 07: 2018 || ά. Today, the Office for National Statistics:ONS has published data on mortality trends. For decades there had been steady increases in life expectancy, however, from around 2011 those increases have slowed. ONS has released two reports looking at how England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland each experienced this slowdown and how the slowdown within the UK compared to changes in mortality across 19 other countries.

The UK-based report, changing trends in mortality: a cross-UK comparison, 1981-2016, also, looks at patterns in mortality by cause of death within each of the four UK countries between 2001 and 2016. Some of the key findings include i: The rise in mortality rates for people aged 90 years and over reflects increases in mortality rates for mental and behavioural disorders, such as, dementia; ii: A slowdown in the decline in mortality rates for circulatory diseases from 2011 has been a major factor, that has driven the slowdown in mortality improvements for people aged 55 and over.

Mr Jeremy Pearson, the Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said, “Heart and circulatory diseases are still responsible for one in four deaths in the UK and there are more than seven million people living with the daily burden of these conditions.

These figures confirm that death rates from heart and circulatory diseases are falling but the progress we’ve made is now at risk of stalling. We must not get complacent. The need to fund research into the prevention, treatment and cures for heart and circulatory diseases is now more urgent than ever.

People now have an increased chance of surviving a heart attack as treatments have improved over the years. However, the likelihood of dying later in life from subsequent heart failure has increased. Almost, a million people in the UK are now living with heart failure, for which these people urgently need better treatments.

The rising number of deaths from dementia is a growing concern, with a substantial number being the result of the damage caused by a stroke. With so many of these life-threatening conditions being connected and a growing number of people living with more than one long-term condition, we all need to maintain better heart and circulatory health throughout our lives.”

About the British Heart Foundation:BHF: Heart and circulatory disease causes more than a quarter of all deaths in the UK. For over 50 years we’ve pioneered research, that’s transformed the lives of people living with heart and circulatory conditions. Our work has been central to the discoveries of vital treatments that are changing the fight against heart disease. But so many people still need our help. From babies born with life-threatening heart problems to the many parents and grandparents, who survive a heart attack and endure the daily battles of heart failure. Every pound raised, minute of your time and donation to our shops will help make a difference to people’s lives.:::ω.

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New Research Links Even Low Levels of Air Pollution with Serious Changes in the Heart

 

 

 

|| August 03: 2018 || ά. Researchers have found that people exposed to air pollution levels well within UK guidelines have changes in the structure of the heart, similar to those seen in the early stages of heart failure. The research was part-funded by the British Heart Foundation:BHF and is published in the journal Circulation. A team of scientists, led from Queen Mary University of London by Professor Steffen Petersen, studied data from around 4,000 participants in the UK Biobank study. Volunteers provided a range of personal information, including, their lifestyles, health record and details on where they have lived, so the research team was able to remove patients with underlying heart problems or those, who had moved house during the study.

Participants, also, had blood tests and health scans. Heart magnetic resonance imaging:MRI was used to measure the size, weight and function of the participants’ hearts at fixed times. Even, though, most participants lived outside major UK cities, there was a clear association between those , who lived near loud, busy roads and were exposed to nitrogen dioxide:NO2 or PM2.5, small particles of air pollution and the development of larger right and left ventricles in the heart. The ventricles are important pumping chambers in the heart and, although these participants were healthy and had no symptoms, similar heart remodelling is seen in the early stages of heart failure. 

Higher exposures to the pollutants were linked to more significant changes in the structure of the heart. For every one extra µg per cubic metre of PM2.5 and for every 10 extra µg per cubic metre of NO2, the heart enlarges by, approximately, 01% .

Air pollution is now the largest environmental risk factor linked to deaths in England. Globally, coronary heart disease and stroke account for, approximately, six in ten, 58%, deaths related to outdoor air pollution. This research could help explain exactly how and why air pollution affects the heart.

In the study, average annual exposures to PM2.5, 08-12µg per cubic metre, were well within UK guidelines, 25µg per cubic metre, although, they were approaching or past World Health Organisation:WHO guidelines, 10µg per cubic metre. The WHO has said that there is no safe limit of PM2.5. The participants’ average exposure to NO2, 10-50µg per cubic metre, was approaching and above the equal WHO and UK annual average guidelines, 40µg per cubic metre.

Ahead of the Government’s consultation on their draft Clean Air Strategy closing on August 14, the British Heart Foundation want to ensure the public’s heart and circulatory health is at the centre of discussions. 

The Strategy commits to halving the number of people in the UK living in areas where PM2.5 levels exceed WHO guidelines, 10 µg per cubic metre, by 2025, but ultimately the charity would like to see this action go further to reduce the health impacts of toxic air as quickly as possible. 

Dr Nay Aung, who led the data analysis from Queen Mary University of London, said, “Although, our study was observational and hasn’t, yet, shown a causal link, we saw significant changes in the heart, even, at relatively low levels of air pollution exposure. Our future studies will include data from those living in inner cities like Central Manchester and London, using more in-depth measurements of heart function and we would expect the findings to be even more pronounced and clinically important.

Air pollution should be seen as a modifiable risk factor. Doctors and the general public all need to be aware of their exposure when they think about their heart health, just like they think about their blood pressure, their cholesterol and their weight.”

Ms Mya Steer, 19, lives just outside Bristol, she was diagnosed with an inherited heart condition, arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy:ARVC just after her 18th birthday. “My heart condition means that I, often, struggle to breathe anyway and air pollution makes me feel much worse; it’s pretty instant.

This research just goes to show that pollution is affecting us all, whether we live in busy cities or more rural areas where we might feel ‘protected’ from pollution. There is no safe limit for air pollution for me or for anyone, who is concerned about their heart health. We all need the Government to do more.”

Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said, “We can’t expect people to move home to avoid air pollution, Government and public bodies must be acting right now to make all areas safe and protect the population from these harms. 

What is particularly worrying is that the levels of air pollution, particularly, PM2.5, at which this study saw people with heart remodelling are not even deemed, particularly, high by the UK Government; this is why we are calling for the WHO guidelines to be adopted. They are less than half of UK legal limits and while we know there are no safe limits for some forms of air pollution, we believe this is a crucial step in protecting the nation’s heart health.

Having these targets in law will, also, help to improve the lives of those currently living with heart and circulatory diseases, as we know they are, particularly, affected by air pollution.”

If, you have a heart or circulatory condition or a long-term lung condition, you should avoid spending long periods of time in places where there are high levels of air pollution. This includes roads with busy traffic or places where air pollution is generated by industry, such as, near factories.

If, you do need to go to these places, try to avoid times of day when pollution might be higher. This includes going out during ‘rush’ hour, when people are travelling to and from work or taking children to and from school.

Being physically active is very good for your heart and for most people the benefits of doing exercise outweigh the risks of breathing in polluted air.

But, if, you have a heart or circulatory problem or long-term lung disease, you should reduce the amount of exercise you do outdoors, if, the air pollution level is moderate, high or very high.

This is because your body needs to take in more air when you are physically active and your heart is working harder, so you’re likely to breathe in more polluted air. There is little evidence to say that using facemasks helps to keep out the harmful air pollution particles. It is still a good idea to be as active as you can indoors on days when it’s not possible to exercise outside.

Walking or cycling short distances instead of driving can help to decrease air pollution. If, you need to drive somewhere, think about sharing a lift with colleagues or a friend. You can, also, avoid using diesel motor vehicles, because these cause, especially, high levels of pollution. If, you need to buy or switch your vehicle, you could choose a petrol vehicle or ultra-low emission vehicle:ULEV.

If, you own a diesel vehicle, do not remove the diesel particulate filter:DPF on your exhaust, because it is illegal to modify a vehicle in this way. Make sure the DPF is maintained and regularly emptied, as it helps to protect you and others around you from potentially harmful emissions.

About the British Heart Foundation:BHF: For over 50 years we’ve pioneered research that’s transformed the lives of people living with heart and circulatory conditions. Our work has been central to the discoveries of vital treatments that are changing the fight against heart disease. But so many people still need our help. From babies born with life-threatening heart problems to the many parents and grandparents, who survive a heart attack and endure the daily battles of heart failure. Every pound raised, minute of your time and donation to our shops will help make a difference to people’s lives. :::ω.

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Researchers Finally Crack the Code of the Final Blood Group System
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

|| July 22: 2018: Lund University News || ά. Ever since the blood type was discovered in 1962, no one has been able to explain why some people become Xga positive while others are Xga negative. But now, researchers at Lund University in Sweden have finally solved the mystery and their study is being published in the scientific journal Blood. In case of a blood transfusion, it is important to know the blood type of both the donor and the patient. The reason is that you want them to match in order to reduce the risk of side effects.

The well-known blood group systems ABO and Rh are prioritised as they are clinically the most important. However, other blood types can, also, cause problems. Over the past ten years, researchers have developed methods to determine many of our blood types using DNA technology rather than by red blood cells. Modern technology is, particularly, important for patients, who have received large amounts of blood or those, who need blood, often, as their blood becomes a mixture consisting of several different donors. This makes it difficult to determine the patient’s own blood type.

However, for the DNA tests to work, the genetic cause of each blood type system must be known. This is the case for the majority of our 36 systems, including, ABO and Rh. In practice, it’s actually only one system, the Xg system, that has continued to elude physicians and researchers over the years.

A third of all men and a tenth of all women lack the Xg protein, that carries the mysterious blood type Xga on their red blood cells, i.e, they are Xga negative. Furthermore, the protein’s function is still unknown. The Xga blood type was discovered in New York back in 1962 but it wasn’t until now that researchers at Lund managed to figure out why a large part of the population lacks Xga.

“We enjoy solving old mysteries, where others have failed, so we combined computer-based analyses with laboratory experiments.” explains Professor Martin L Olsson at the University and a Medical consultant at the Nordic Reference Laboratory for Blood Group Analysis, who conducted the study.

Although, this blood type was the first to be linked to a specific chromosome in humans, sex chromosome X, Xg is the last blood type system to surrender its secret and, thus, be included in modern genetic testing. “We used a bio-informatic strategy to find the underlying genetic cause.” says doctoral student Mr Mattias Möller, who used to work in the tech industry before making a switch to become a physician and blood researcher. 

“I sat down at my computer and analysed and compared results from previous major studies, partly, using my own tools, to solve the problem. Then, my colleagues took over to confirm my findings through experiments in a lab environment.”, says Mr Mattias Möller.

The lab experiments showed that a small variation close to the XG gene prevents the transcription factor GATA1 from binding to the DNA, which is why the Xg protein can not be expressed in the red blood cells in some people. The finding makes it possible, finally, to determine, also, the Xga blood type using genetic typing:methods.

“Now we are in the process of introducing it in the clinic and aim to find out what this exciting protein does and the consequences of the fact that so many of us don’t have it.” Professor Martin L Olsson.

The Paper: Disruption of a GATA-1 Binding Motif Upstream of XG/PBDX Abolishes Xga Expression and Resolves the Xg Blood Group System:::ω.

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We Need to Focus on Our Whole Diet Rather Than the Use of Supplements of Individual Nutrients to Ward Off Heart Disease: The British Heart Foundation

 

 

|| July 18: 2018 || ά. The British Heart Foundation:BHF has responded to the New Cochrane health evidence challenging the belief that Omega Three supplements reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke or death. New evidence published today shows there is little or no effect of Omega Three supplements on people’s risk of experiencing heart disease, stroke or death.

Ms Victoria Taylor, Senior Dietician at the British Heart Foundation, said, “Supplements are no replacement for a healthy diet. Guidance, which was updated a few years ago, is consistent with this study in that Omega Three  supplements are not recommended to prevent heart and circulatory diseases. However, this doesn’t mean that oily fish or vegetarian sources of Omega Three, such as, walnuts or rapeseed oil should be taken off the menu.’’

Ms Taylor went onto say, “Our message is clear: rather than taking supplements to reduce your risk of having another heart attack or stroke, you should focus on eating a healthy, balanced, Mediterranean style diet.

This includes white and oily fish along with plenty of fruit, vegetables and pulses, lentils, nuts, seeds, unsaturated oils and wholegrains. We need to focus on our whole diet rather than the use of supplements of individual nutrients to ward off heart disease.” 

British Heart Foundation: Heart and circulatory disease causes more than a quarter of all deaths in the UK. For over 50 years we’ve pioneered research, that’s transformed the lives of people living with heart and circulatory conditions. Our work has been central to the discoveries of vital treatments, that are changing the fight against heart disease. But so many people still need our help. From babies born with life-threatening heart problems to the many mothers, fathers and Grandparents, who survive a heart attack and endure the daily battles of heart failure. Every pound raised, minute of your time and donation to our shops will help make a difference to people’s lives. Find out more at bhf.org.uk:::ω.

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Nine in Ten Heart Patients Live with Other Long-Term Conditions That Increase Their Risk of Early Death

 

 

 

|| July 17: 2018 || ά. Nine in ten people with coronary heart disease in the UK are living with at least one other long-term condition, such as, stroke, dementia and high blood pressure, according to figures released by the British Heart Foundation:BHF. The charity warns that a growing number of people living with inter-related health conditions or multi-morbidities, represents a grave challenge for a health system focused on treating individual illnesses.

An analysis commissioned by the BHF, using the THINTM dataset from IQVIA, showed that 90% of people living with coronary heart disease have, at least, one other long-term condition, while six in ten have, at least, three, 57%. Numerous studies have shown that living with multiple conditions significantly increases the risk of early death. There are 02.3 million people with coronary heart disease in the UK.

The analysis shows that the most common co-morbidity for people living with coronary heart disease is high blood pressure, which affects over half, 56%, of patients. This is followed by 26% of heart patients have diabetes, 14% of heart patients have had a stroke, 13% of heart patients are living with heart failure, 05% of heart patients have dementia.

Figures have, also, shown that people with coronary heart disease, including, those, who have suffered a heart attack, are more than twice as likely to suffer a stroke or develop vascular dementia.

The findings come as new research shows there was a fourfold increase, from 06.3% to 24.3%, in the number of patients with heart and circulatory diseases living with five or more additional illnesses from 2,000 to 2014. The reasons for this are poorly understood and not fully accounted for by an aging population.

The BHF stresses that more research is urgently needed to improve understanding of how conditions like stroke and vascular dementia are connected and to develop new treatments for people living with multiple conditions.

Mr Simon Gillespie, the Chief Executive at the British Heart Foundation, said, “Over the years we’ve made huge progress in improving survival rates for single conditions like heart attacks with BHF-funded research leading the way. However, today’s figures point towards an emerging and very urgent challenge.

For example, increasing numbers of people are surviving heart attacks but are going on to suffer strokes or live with additional conditions like vascular dementia. These conditions limit people’s quality of life, increase their risk of dying and will place increasing pressure on the health and care system across the UK.

We can only reverse this trend by funding more research into all conditions of the heart and circulatory system, with a focus on how they can be treated together. This type of research is currently chronically under-funded but, with more support, we can fund innovative approaches to tackle these conditions head on. This could ensure millions of people don’t have to spend years of their life suffering from several long-term debilitating conditions or worse, dying from them.”

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, the Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said, “More research is needed to understand the underlying reasons for the connections between different conditions and why the number of people living with multiple diseases is rising at such speed.

While factors like an ageing population and the increasing number of people with conditions like diabetes is contributing, they don’t fully explain the trends we’re seeing. It is critically important that we find innovative ways to tackle multi-morbidity and not just focus on individual illnesses. Research in this area is vital, if, we are to improve lives and create a more sustainable future for the NHS.”

Ms Jill Wakeford, 59, from Chichester, had a heart attack eight years ago. She has, also, got Type One Diabetes and is being treated for High Blood Pressure. “My heart attack came completely out of the blue. I’ve always been an active person and never thought I would be at risk of having a Heart Attack. I am on treatment for High Blood Pressure, and I’ve got Type One Diabetes, but I had no idea that they could have caused my Heart Attack until after it happened.

Thankfully the damage to my heart is minimal. But since it happened, I, also, found out that my High Blood Pressure and Diabetes could, also, increase my risk of having a Stroke. It’s scary knowing that these conditions are all connected but really reassuring to know that researchers are working hard to improve the diagnosis and treatment.”

The BHF funds research into a range of interconnected conditions, including, Heart Attack, Stroke, Vascular Dementia and Diabetes. :::ω.

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New Study Finds LDL Quality is a Modifiable Cardiovascular Risk Marker

 

 

|| July 15: 2018: University of Helsinki News: Päivi Lehtinen Writing || ά. A recent study, conducted at the Wihuri Research Institute and University of Helsinki, shows that the presence of sticky, aggregation-prone LDL in circulation is an independent predictor of cardiovascular death. This finding indicates that in addition to LDL-cholesterol levels, the quality of the cholesterol-carrying LDL particles, also, needs to be considered when estimating the cardiovascular risk of a person.

Scientists at the Wihuri Research Institute and the University of Helsinki, Finland, developed a method, that can be used to monitor the quality of circulating LDL particles by measuring the susceptibility of the LDL particles to aggregate. The LDL aggregates have a tendency to accumulate in the arterial wall, where they induce the formation of cholesterol-rich plaques. LDL aggregates can, also, induce local inflammation in the plaques. An inflamed plaque can, then, rupture and cause myocardial infarction.

The scientists found that LDL isolated from patients with known cardiovascular disease was more aggregation-prone than LDL isolated from healthy individuals. The most aggregation-prone LDL was found in those patients, who later died from cardiovascular disease.

“This is the first study to show that there are measurable inter-individual differences in the aggregation susceptibility of LDL particles and that aggregation-prone LDL is predictive of cardiovascular death.” says Dr Katariina Öörni, who led the research team.

There is, also, good news: the study showed that the quality of LDL particles can be improved by cholesterol-lowering medication or by healthy diet. "Increase in consumption of vegetable oils and decrease in consumption of sugar decreased LDL aggregation." says Ms Maija Ruuth, the First Author of the research article.

In the future, the new measurement of LDL aggregation, may, help to improve cardiovascular risk. “This new biomarker, may, also, facilitate identification of patients with currently unrecognised risk for cardiovascular events.” says Professor Petri Kovanen, a member of the research team.

For more information contact: Katariina Öörni, Adjunct Professor: Wihuri Research Institute and University of Helsinki: email:kati.oorni at wri.fi: Tele: +358 40 702 3711:::ω.

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In a Mouse Model Researchers Discover New Way to Regenerate Hearts After a Heart Attack

 

 

 

 

|| July 09: 2018 || ά. Researchers, funded by the British Heart Foundation, have identified how a new treatment in mice can regenerate the heart after a heart attack, preventing the onset of heart failure. During a heart attack, the heart is starved of oxygen and heart muscle is damaged. The body responds by sending in immune cells to clear up dead and dying cells but these cells themselves cause further inflammation in the already damaged heart and this can lead to heart failure. Heart failure is a debilitating condition, that affects half a million people in the UK alone. The research team from the University of Oxford found that injecting a protein, called, VEGF-C, after heart attacks in mice significantly reduced the amount of damaged heart muscle and allowed the heart to recover almost all of its pumping function.

In comparison, untreated mice lost almost half of their heart function after a heart attack. The VEGF-C treatment promoted growth of a network of vessels, which are part of the lymphatic system. The research team from the University of Oxford, led by BHF Professor Paul Riley, have now discovered that the extra lymphatic vessels allow the immune cells to be quickly cleared after helping to repair and clear dying and dead cells but before they can cause significant damage from inflammation. This treatment led to better healing in the heart and better recovery of the heart’s pumping function after a heart attack. When the heart’s ability to use the lymphatic system to clear away the immune cells was hampered, more scarring developed, the muscle could not pump as well and the whole heart started to change shape in response to the damage.

The researchers think that by clearing away macrophages, the first line of immune cells, that start the healing process, other immune cells, called, Tregs, could, then, be allowed into the injured muscle, to further help the heart to repair and recover.

Future research and treatments will focus on achieving the best balance of immune cells after a heart attack to ensure initial heart repair doesn’t escalate to inflammation, scarring and heart failure.

The findings were published today in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. BHF Professor of Regenerative Medicine Paul Riley, who leads the BHF Centre of Regenerative Medicine in Oxford and Cambridge and led the research. He said, “We started looking at the lymphatic system in the heart a few years ago; we could never have known how pivotal it, might, turn out to be for heart repair.

We now know that it’s not enough to just get healing immune cells into the heart. We need to boost the routes, that remove these immune cells once they’ve done their job, so that they don’t start causing more harm and, ultimately, contribute to the long-term damage, that leads to heart failure.

This research has allowed us to start a drug discovery programme to develop drugs to promote the growth of lymphatic vessels and quickly clear immune cells. We hope to get a treatment we could give to people after a heart attack within five to 10 years.”

Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said, “Someone goes to hospital with a heart attack every three minutes in the UK. Their hearts will have been starved of oxygen, which is why we urgently need to better understand the damage caused when this happens and how we can repair it.

Heart regeneration is the ‘holy grail’ of heart research. By building on their previous work, the team’s new findings bring us one step closer to understanding how to turn this into a reality. Exploiting the lymphatic system opens up new opportunities to find treatments that will limit the damage caused by a heart attack and promote regeneration. It’s only by funding important research, such as, this, that we can hope to, one day, end heart failure.”

British Heart Foundation: Heart and circulatory disease causes more than a quarter of all deaths in the UK. For over 50 years we’ve pioneered research, that’s transformed the lives of people living with heart and circulatory conditions. Our work has been central to the discoveries of vital treatments, that are changing the fight against heart disease. But so many people still need our help. From babies born with life-threatening heart problems to the many mothers, fathers and Grandparents, who survive a heart attack and endure the daily battles of heart failure. Every pound raised, minute of your time and donation to our shops will help make a difference to people’s lives. Find out more at bhf.org.uk :::ω.

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Dr Sarah Clarke Appointed to the Board of Trustees of the British Heart Foundation

 

 

 

|| July 05: 2018 || ά. Dr Sarah Clarke is to join the Board of Trustees of the British Heart Foundation:BHF. Dr Clarke will take up her role on October 16. Dr Clarke is a clinician working as a Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at Royal Papworth Hospital, Cambridge. She has recently finished her tenure as the President of the British Cardiovascular Society, 2015-18. People, may not, be aware of the fact as to why an agency, such as, the British Heart Foundation, is such a great force for greater good to public life of this country and why it should receive our support to keep on doing the great work.vThink of how much astonishing work of research is possible and being done now simply because this great organisation has worked heard tirelessly to raise £18.9 million, which it has invested in new research projects in the last three months.

Or, consider this: The British Heart Foundation is the UK’s largest funder of cardiovascular research, because of the donations and custom of its many supporters. Between 2015 and 2020 the charity aims to fund more than £500 million of research, that could save and improve the lives of millions of people living with heart and circulatory disease in the UK and worldwide. That’s a staggering amount of investment into research and innovation in cardiovascular medicine and the development of drugs and therapeutics and that’s why organisation like the BHF must be cherished and supported.And Dr Clarke’s expertise and insight in the field of Cardiology will be an added resource to this organisation. Her previous roles mean she will bring a breadth of managerial, cardiology and NHS experience to the BHF, having held strategic leadership positions on a regional, national and international level.

Dr Clarke is, also, an elected member of the European Society of Cardiology:ESC and holds several leadership roles at the American College of Cardiology:ACC. In March 2018, she was awarded the prestigious ACC International Service Award for her dedication and passion to the college.

Dr Doug Gurr, the BHF’s Chairman, said, “We’re excited to welcome Dr Sarah Clarke to the Board. Her vast experience in both cardiology and senior leadership roles mean she will be invaluable in helping the BHF build on its position as the UK’s leading funder of cardiovascular research. She will, also, play a valuable role in helping the charity turn these research breakthroughs into improvements in care for patients.” 

Sir Kent Woods, BHF Deputy Chair and Senior Medical Trustee, said, “Despite huge progress over the last 30 years, heart and circulatory diseases are still responsible for around a quarter of all deaths in the UK. Dr Clarke’s experience as a Cardiologist and from the frontline of the NHS will be vital for the BHF to continue to expand its world-leading research programme and build stronger relationships with the health service. This will help ensure the benefits of our research reach patients in the shortest possible time.”

Dr Sarah Clarke said, “I am delighted to be joining the BHF’s Board at this exciting time in the charity’s journey. From my experience as a Cardiologist, I’ve seen, first-hand, the huge impact BHF research has had in improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all heart and circulatory diseases.

However, with seven million people still living with these conditions, I, also, know how big a challenge we face in turning promising research into new treatments, that could help save more lives. I hope, my experience within the NHS and at the forefront of UK cardiology can help the BHF achieve this.”

About the British Heart Foundation: For over 50 years we’ve pioneered research, that’s transformed the lives of people living with heart and circulatory conditions. Our work has been central to the discoveries of vital treatments that are changing the fight against heart disease. But so many people still need our help. From babies born with life-threatening heart problems to the many Mums, Dads and Grandparents, who survive a heart attack and endure the daily battles of heart failure. Join our fight for every heartbeat in the UK. Every pound raised, minute of your time and donation to our shops will help make a difference to people’s lives. For more information on the BHF, visit bhf.org.uk. :::ω.

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New Research Finds Strong Association That Increased Anti-Coagulant Uptake by the Sufferers of Atrial Fibrillation Prevent Thousands of Strokes Every Year

 

|| July 06: 2018 || ά. Four thousand strokes were prevented in England between 2015 and 2016 due to the increased use of anti-coagulant drugs amongst patients with a common heart rhythm disorder, according to new analysis part-funded by British Heart Foundation:BHF and published in the European Heart Journal:EHJ. Atrial fibrillation:AF has been diagnosed in around 01.3 million people in the UK, with a further 500,000 believed to be living undiagnosed and unaware that they are at a five-fold higher risk of stroke compared to those unaffected.

According to the BHF, the findings highlight the urgent need for better screening and diagnosis of AF to ensure patients receive the treatment for clots, which could prevent a devastating stroke. A research team from the University of Leeds used national data and insight provided from the Imperial College Health Partners:ICHP to analyse the known patients with AF, episodes of stroke, new AF diagnoses and the use of anticoagulants amongst high risk patients between 2006 and 2016.

They found that, since 2009, the number of people with AF, who are being treated with anticoagulants, has more than doubled. The researchers estimate that, had the uptake of anticoagulants stayed at 2009 levels, there would have been around 4,000 more strokes in patients with AF in England in the 2015:16 financial year.

Stroke is the fourth biggest killer in the UK and the leading cause of disability and in 2016, killed, almost, twice as many women as breast cancer. Atrial Fibrillation is the most common type of irregular heartbeat; it causes the heart’s chambers to beat in an unco-ordinated, irregular manner. AF can cause blood to pool in the heart, which can form into a blood clot. If, this clot travels to the brain it can block the blood supply, leading to a stroke.

AF contributes to between 20-30 per cent of all strokes and treating these patients with anticoagulants, drugs, which slow the formation of blood clots, can cut patients’ risk of stroke by two thirds.

The researchers suggest that the increase in uptake is likely due to efforts across the health service to educate patients and doctors about the benefits of anti-coagulation, changes to guidelines in the UK and Europe and new types of anti-coagulants, which provide a safer and more convenient alternative to Warfarin, which requires consistent monitoring and an added risk of major bleeds.

One in five diagnosed high risk AF patients are not currently taking anti-coagulants. The researchers note limitations, including, the fact that the data came from a number of sources and they were unable to track individual patients and include all possible confounders. They, also, point out that the study shows an association and can not prove causation.

Professor Chris Gale, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Honorary Consultant Cardiologist at the University of Leeds, who co-authored the study, said, “Sudden strokes in people, who have AF are unnecessarily common. Treatments, which prevent AF-related strokes are saving lives but there are still many thousands of people in the UK living with undiagnosed AF, who are missing out.

The risk of AF rises dramatically with age. Our ageing population makes it clear that without intervention, cases of AF and associated strokes are only going to increase. It’s a truly preventable public health crisis.”

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said, “This study demonstrates the real benefits to patients, when research evidence is put into practice. The increased use of anti-coagulants in patients with AF and the fall in the expected number of strokes is a major success story but much more needs to be done. There are still half a million people in the UK with ‘silent’ AF, who have no idea they’re at risk of having a stroke.

Spotting AF can be surprisingly easy; often, all it takes is a simple pulse check. A normal heart beat will feel regular but, if, you find yours is irregular or random, go and see your GP. It could save your life.”

The BHF has funded specialist nurse posts, called, Arrhythmia Care Co-ordinators to improve the outcomes of people, who have Arrhythmias. The programme has prevented thousands of hospital admissions and was adopted as a NICE Quality Innovation and Productivity case study.

The BHF is now supporting services across all four nations to understand and adopt innovative practices to improve the detection and management of atrial fibrillation.

About Imperial College Health Partners: Imperial College Health Partners:ICHP innovates and collaborates for a healthier population. We turn the potential of innovation into reality to help solve pressing challenges by collaborating across the health sector. By connecting a unique network of health experts we can accelerate the adoption and spread of innovation amongst our member organisations. Imperial College Health Partners is a partnership organisation bringing together NHS providers of healthcare services, clinical commissioning groups and leading universities across North West London. We are, also, the designated Academic Health Science Network:AHSN for North West London and a member of The AHSN Network.:::ω.

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New Funding for New Research Into Peripartum Cardiomyopathy A Potentially Fatal Heart Condition in New Mothers




|| June 24: 2018: University of Glasgow News || ά. Mothers, who develop a serious form of heart failure during late pregnancy or just after having their baby, could receive better treatment and advice following research funded by the British Heart Foundation:BHF. A team of researchers at the BHF Centre of Research Excellence at the University of Glasgow has been awarded a grant to investigate the incidence and factors associated with the potentially devastating heart condition Peripartum Cardiomyopathy:PPCM, in the first such research to be carried out in the UK.

PPCM is a poorly understood and a rare form of heart failure, where the heart becomes enlarged and weakened. In the most serious cases, it can lead to the need for a heart transplant,or can, even, be fatal. Dr Pardeep Jhund and Professor Mark Petrie at the University of Glasgow have received £186,000 from the BHF to fund a three-year clinical research training fellowship, which will be taken up by Trainee Cardiologist Dr Alice Jackson.

Dr Jhund said, “PPCM affects women towards the end of their pregnancy or in the first few months after childbirth. While some women make a full recovery, in others their heart function worsens and this can be fatal. Women, who develop PPCM are at risk of life threatening complications like severe heart rhythm disturbances, even, causing cardiac arrest or blood clots in the brain, causing a stroke or the lung.

And it is not just the mother, who is affected as babies born to mothers with PPCM are more likely to be born prematurely. There are currently no studies of PPCM in the UK and very few in Europe. To better treat women we must first understand the condition and its impact not only on women but also their babies.”

Dr Jackson will use existing data held by NHS Scotland Information Services Division to build up a picture of PPCM. During her research, she’ll collaborate with world experts on PPCM.

“Every hospital admission in Scotland, for the past 30 years, has been recorded and we can use this unique resource to obtain information about the mother’s background, past medical conditions, subsequent illnesses, the baby’s birth and further pregnancies.

We will investigate how many women have been admitted to hospital with PPCM, what factors are associated with it and what the outcomes were for the women and their children.

Better understanding of the factors associated with a greater chance of developing PPCM will allow us to better treat mothers with the condition. We can talk to them about their condition, help them make informed choices about their care and we may also identify new areas for research into treatments.”said Dr Jhund.

Dr Shannon Amoils, Senior Research Advisor at the BHF, said, “While PPCM is rare it can have devastating consequences. The BHF is proud to be funding the first UK study into the epidemiology of this important, but under researched, condition. By comprehensively cataloguing the factors associated with developing PPCM and its prognosis for mum and baby, we will gain a much better understanding of the condition and may identify future directions for new treatments.”

Mr James Cant, Director at BHF Scotland, said, “Once again, our funded scientists at the BHF’s Centre of Research Excellence in Glasgow are being bold in their quest to beat heartbreak for Scotland’s families. Scientific exploration like this is only possible thanks to the Scottish public’s generous fundraising, donations and legacies." :::ω.

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High-Sensitivity Troponin Test Reduces the Risk of Future Heart Attack




|| June 10: 2018: Karolinska Institutet News: Inna Sevelius Writing || ά. The newer high-sensitivity troponin test discovers smaller amounts of heart-specific proteins, troponins, than the older troponin test and, thus, identifies more myocardial infarction patients than before. A new study from Karolinska Institutet, published in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology, reports that the risk of a future heart attack is lower in patients diagnosed with the new test.

A blood test, that measures the presence of heart-specific proteins, troponins, is used by emergency clinics to diagnose myocardial infarction in patients with chest pain. For the past few years a newer laboratory method has been used at most hospitals in Sweden, that is ten times more sensitive than the conventional troponin test. The high-sensitivity troponin test can discover heart attacks earlier so that treatment can commence, which is thought to improve the patients’ prognosis.

“But there is a lack of larger studies examining whether the high-sensitivity troponin test is of any significance for patients with newly diagnosed myocardial infarction in terms of survival or the risk of another heart attack.” says Study Leader Dr Martin Holzmann, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Medicine in Solna and Physician at Karolinska University Hospital.

The study included all patients in Sweden, who had had their first heart attack between 2009 and 2013. This gave a study population of almost 88,000 patients, 40,000 of whom had been diagnosed using the high-sensitivity troponin test and just over 47,000 using the conventional troponin test.

The researchers found that five per cent more myocardial infarctions were being diagnosed in hospitals, that used the high-sensitivity troponin test. A year after the heart attack was registered there was no difference in mortality between the two groups, although, the number of new heart attacks was lower in the group, that had been diagnosed using the high-sensitivity troponin test.

“This surprised us. We didn’t think that the more sensitive test would affect the risk of future heart attacks.” says Dr Holzmann

The use of coronary angiography and balloon angioplasty was 16 and 13 per cent more common respectively in the patients diagnosed with the high-sensitivity troponin test. In the USA, where the new test was not approved until 2017, there are fears that the more sensitive methods can entail a large increase in the number of examinations with no benefit to the patients.

“The increase we observed in our study was less than expected, which means that the high-sensitivity troponin test has enabled doctors to single out the patients, who benefit from such intervention. We found no differences in medication between the two groups, so the differences in prognosis with fewer new heart attacks could be attributed to the fact that more coronary angiography and balloon dilation procedures have been performed on the right patients.,” says Dr Holzmann, who believes that the study supports the idea that the handful of hospitals in Sweden, that still do not use the high-sensitivity troponin test should start to do so.

The study was conducted in association with the Sahlgrenska Academy and Uppsala University. Dr Martin Holzmann receives a grant from the Swedish Heart and Lung Foundation. Per-Ola Andersson has received a lecture fee from pharmaceutical companies Roche, Gilead and Janssen and a consultancy fee from AbbVie, CTI Bipharma and Glaxo-Smith-Kline. Kai M.

Eggers has received a consultancy fee from pharmaceutical company Abbott Laboratories, AstraZeneca and Fiomi Diagnostics. Dr Martin Holzmann has received a consultancy fee from pharmaceutical companies Actelion and Pfizer. No other potential conflicts of interest have been reported.

The Paper: High-Sensitivity Troponins and Outcomes After Myocardial Infarction: Maria Odqvist, Per-Ola Andersson, Hans Tygesen, Kai M. Eggers, Martin J. Holzmann: Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Online: June 04: 2018

Caption: Dr Martin Holzmann: Associate Professor: Karolinska Institutet: Image: Photo: Stefan Zimmerman::: ω.

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Heart Attacks Heart Attacks Stay Away: If Must You Call Do So in Warmer Times: For You are More Deadly During Colder Months



|| June 07: 2018 || ά. Heart attacks are more likely to kill someone in the winter than in the summer, according to new research presented at the British Cardiovascular Society Conference in Manchester today. Cardiologists at Leeds General Infirmary compared information from 4,056 people, who received treatment for a heart attack in four separate years and found the most severe heart attacks were more deadly in the coldest six months, compared to the warmest.

The overall number of heart attacks was roughly the same in the coldest half of the year, compared to the warmer months, 52% between November and April, with the most serious heart attacks leading to cardiac arrest and cardiogenic shock.  The risk of dying within 30 days of a severe heart attack was nearly 50% higher in the six coldest months, compared to the six warmest months, 28% vs 20%.

Cardiac arrest is when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body, while cardiogenic shock is when the heart can't pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. Both conditions are, often, caused by a severe heart attack but not everyone, who has a heart attack has a cardiac arrest or cardiogenic shock.

Ms Jayne Reynolds, 45 from York, was cared for in Leeds General Infirmary after her second heart attack in July 2015. She said, “A lot of gratitude has to go to Leeds, their cardiac department. I couldn’t fault any of them in there at all. They were absolutely fantastic.

I received great care from the team there and, after having a quadruple coronary bypass, I feel lucky to be here. However, not everyone is that lucky. No-one thinks they will have a heart attack, certainly no-one plans when to have one. Research like this brings home just how important it is for scientists to understand more about heart conditions like mine so they can send more people home, safe and well.”

In the UK, someone goes to hospital with a heart attack every three minutes and only seven in 10 people survive. Dr Arvin Krishnamurthy, who led the research from Leeds, said, “There is no physical reason why a heart attack, even, the most severe, should be more deadly in winter than in summer so we must do further research to find the cause of this difference and remedy it. The next step is to find out, if, this trend is seen nationwide.

Potential explanations could include longer time to treatment, prolonged hospitalisation and delays to discharge and increased prevalence of winter-associated infections, which in the sickest patients, could be, potentially, lethal.

Further studies interrogating the association between time of admission and outcomes, especially, in the sickest and most vulnerable patients, are certainly warranted.”

Professor Metin Avkiran, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said, “You obviously can’t choose when you have a major heart attack, but it shouldn’t have such an impact on your chances of surviving. It’s vital we carry out more research to find out why there are these differences, as well as, continuing to do all we can to stop people having heart attacks in the first place.

 Although, we’ve made huge strides in the last 50 years, we, must, urgently, fund more research to continue to drive down the number of heart attacks and ensure more people can live full lives even after a heart attack.”

The British Cardiovascular Society Conference at bcs.com/conference.::: ω.

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Metformin Could Help Millions with Heart and Circulatory Disease

 

|| June 04: 2018 || ά. New research has found that metformin, a cheap drug routinely used for the treatment of type two diabetes, could help millions of people living with heart and circulatory disease in the UK. Two studies involving the drug, led by researchers at the University of Dundee and presented today at the British Cardiovascular Society:BCS Conference 2017 in Manchester, have provided promising results for patients with high blood pressure-induced heart damage and a condition, called, aortic stenosis, which causes heart failure.

The MET-REMODEL trial, which was funded by the British Heart Foundation, found that metformin could reverse harmful thickening of the left ventricle, the heart's main pumping chamber. It, also, helped to bring down high blood pressure and reduce bodyweight in patients, who had a heart attack. The study involved treating people with coronary heart disease with metformin or placebo over a period of 12 months to see how the drug affected the heart and circulatory system.

The dangerous thickening of the left ventricle was reduced by twice as much in those taking metformin compared to the placebo. Patients, who took metformin, also, had reduced blood pressure and lost an average of three kilograms, compared to no weight loss in the placebo group.

Thickening of the heart’s main pumping chamber or left ventricular hypertrophy:LVH, is a serious risk factor for heart attack and heart failure. It is, often, silent and so most people don’t know they have it until they have a heart attack or stroke.

Major causes of LVH are high blood pressure, inflammation and insulin resistance, which are, also, thought to be key drivers of coronary heart disease.

In another study, funded by Scotland’s Chief Scientist Office, the researchers looked at the records of diabetic patients with a condition, called, aortic stenosis:AS. In people with AS, the main artery, which supplies blood to the body is narrowed. It affects around 40% people over the age of 60 in the UK and can lead to LVH and, subsequently, heart failure.

The research team found that diabetic patients with AS, who were treated with metformin were less likely to die from heart attack, stroke or heart failure than those on other diabetes treatment.

Using a variety of research approaches, including, data analytics and genomics, the researchers have identified some of the mechanisms through which metformin, might be, exerting its beneficial effects. They now believe the drug is helping AS and LVH patients by tackling insulin resistance and inflammation, which, then, leads to a reduction in the size of the left ventricle.

Dr Ify Mordi, a Clinical Lecturer in Cardiology at the University of Dundee, who co-led the research and is presenting the results as a finalist in the Young Investigator Prize competition today, said, “Metformin is emerging as a serious prospect for the treatment of some forms of heart and circulatory disease. We know from our previous research that it can reduce inflammation, which is understood to be a major player in the development of heart disease.

This new research shows that metformin could, potentially, become a new treatment option for patients with aortic stenosis and thickening of the left ventricle. We need to undertake bigger studies to confirm our findings but, if, successful, this could offer hope for thousands, if, not millions of patients across the UK.”

Repurposing of cheap and readily available drugs for use in other diseases is an important route to explore. On average it costs £02 billion and can take up to 12 years to develop a new drug from discovery to approval for use in people.

The success rate is low, <05% and new drugs come at a significant cost to the health service. Because of this, repurposing of drugs for the treatment of heart and circulatory disease could, potentially, save the NHS billions of pounds every year.

Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said, “These studies provide real hope that metformin might help to reduce deaths from heart and circulatory diseases, which currently claim thousands of lives every year. Repurposing of drugs like metformin is a great example of how scientists can harness the power of medications which have more than one target in the body.”

This research work was led by Dr Ify Mordi, Mr Pradeep Mohan and Professor Chim Lang. ::: ω.

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Now What Is Inside Your Little Mouse-Heart Little Mouse: I May Be Wee But In My First Week I Can Regenerate My Tissue Damage



|| June 02: 2018: University of Helsinki News: Päivi Lehtinen Writing || ά. The heart of a neonatal mouse is capable of self-repair after tissue damage. However, this ability disappears during the first week of life. Research collaboration at the Meilahti Campus investigates the molecular mechanisms underlying myocardial regenerative ability. Advantages within the field could be of benefit, for example, in the development of new treatments for patients to regain heart function after myocardial infarction.

During the first days of life, the heart of a newborn mouse adapts to entirely new physiological conditions, larger volume loads and an increased energy demand. As a result, fundamental changes occur in the heart. Studies have shown that the heart of neonate mouse retains its ability to effectively repair tissue damage. This ability of the cardiac muscle to regenerate, however, gradually disappears during the first week of life. One major problem in the treatment of heart disease is the inability of adult myocardial cells to regenerate.

Thus, tissue damaged by, for example, myocardial infarction is not revived. New approaches for developing novel treatments are being sought to help patients regain heart function after myocardial infarction. Research groups from the Medical Faculty at the University of Helsinki, the Institute of Molecular Medicine Finland:FIMM and the Minerva Foundation Institute for Medical Research have recently published an analysis that combined three different systems-level methods on mechanisms associated with the loss of regenerative ability of the heart soon after birth.

The researchers used a large scale analytical platform approach combining RNA sequencing, quantitative proteomics and metabolomics, as well as, bioinformatics to characterise the events initiated in the hearts of newborn mice during the first week after birth.

“We used a combination of different systems-level techniques and utilised the tools of transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics and bioinformatics. Co-operating with the top experts from different groups at the Meilahti campus, we were able to get a very comprehensive view of how the heart’s metabolism is re-programmed within the first postnatal week.” says Docent Mr Esko Kankuri. 

“Utilising a 'multiomics' approach, we identified several cellular message pathways and processes, that affect the re-programming of heart metabolism after birth. We discovered core molecular level events behind the regenerative capacity of the heart. Through our research, 1,937 proteins, 612 metabolites and 2,586 gene loci were associated with these processes.”

Fructose-induced glycolysis was a key factor for myocardial regenerative ability, an activity associated with an increased proliferation of cardiac muscle cells during the first days after birth.

"These results, also, help us to understand the mechanisms of the human heart disease and what molecular factors affect myocardial regeneration. Understanding these mechanisms can open up possibilities for developing new types of treatments." says Docent Mr Maciej Lalowski.

The research collaboration included researchers Professor Eero Mervaala, Docent Mr Esko Kankuri, Docent Mr Marc Baumann and Docent Mr Maciej Lalowski, Mr Matti and Docent Ms Päivi Lakkisto and Docent Ms Ilkka Tikkanen.

The study, funded by the Academy of Finland, was published in Frontiers in Physiology.

For more information contact Docent Maciej Lalowski: Tel. +358 50 448 218: email: maciej.lalowski at helsinki.fi

Docent Esko Kankuri: Tel. +358 40 703 7338: email: esko.kankuri at helsinki.fi

Professor Eero Mervaala: Tel. +358 40 5533418: email: eero.mervaala at helsinki.fi

The Paper: Maciej M. Lalowski, Susann Björk, Piet Finckenberg, Rabah Soliymani, Miikka Tarkia, Giulio Calza, Daria Blokhina, Sari Tulokas, Matti Kankainen, Päivi Lakkisto, Marc Baumann, Esko Kankuri and Eero Mervaala. Characterizing the Key Metabolic Pathways of the Neonatal Mouse Heart Using a Quantitative Combinatorial Omics Approach. Frontiers in Physiology, 2018 https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2018.00365

Caption: Researchers Daria Blokhina, Esko Kankuri, Päivi Lakkisto, Maciej Lalowski, Rabah Soliymani, and Eero Mervaala: Image: Lahja Eurajoki ::: ω.

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The British Heart Foundation and Alzheimer's Society Launch New Trial for Stroke That Can Cause Dementia

 

 

|| May 23: 2018 News || ά. The British Heart Foundation:BHF is today announcing the start of a clinical trial to see, if, cheap, existing drugs could be used to prevent cognitive decline and dementia after stroke. The BHF and Alzheimer’s Society are working together to test two existing treatments for heart and circulatory diseases in people, who have suffered a type of stroke, that occurs in the smallest blood vessels in the brain, lacunar stroke affects around 35,000 people in the UK each year. The first stage results are presented at the Alzheimer’s Society Annual Conference today. A lacunar stroke is caused by damage to one of the small vessels deep within the brain, that affects the flow of blood. It accounts for around one in four ischaemic strokes, where blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted, which can cause long-term disability.

Researchers believe that small vessel damage, including lacunar stroke, could contribute to at least 40 per cent of dementias, even, where the main cause is Alzheimer’s Disease. There are currently no proven treatments to prevent a lacunar stroke and existing anti-clotting treatments for stroke, including, aspirin, may, even, be harmful. Positive results from stage one of the Lacunar Intervention trial:LACI-1, funded by Alzheimer’s Society have allowed the second stage LACI-2, funded by the British Heart Foundation, to be rolled out during Dementia Awareness Week. LACI-1 found that it was safe for people, who have had a lacunar stroke to take Cilostazol and Isosorbide Mononitrate and at what dose, worked out the best questions to ask participants in the trial and allowed the research team to develop a useful database for all the trial records.

Cilostazol costs around 63 pence per tablet and is currently used to treat people with peripheral arterial disease. Isosorbide Mononitrate costs around seven pence per tablet and is currently used to treat people with conditions like angina. Due to this essential groundwork, LACI-2 can now be more quickly rolled out to include 400 people, who have had lacunar strokes. Over three years, the research team, led by Professor Joanna Wardlaw at the University of Edinburgh, will establish what effect these drugs have on reducing the risk of more lacunar strokes and the risk of developing cognitive decline.

Mr Gary Whiting, 65, who had three strokes and, also, developed vascular dementia, said, “I wouldn’t wish this diagnosis on anyone. I’ve lost my independence, I feel powerless, when faced with everyday tasks and my condition has put a strain on the relationships with the people I love the most. It’s tough for me and my family knowing there’s no cure. I’d be over the moon, if, someone told me tomorrow they’d found a drug that would stop other people going through what I’ve been through, I’ve got all my fingers crossed.”

In LACI-2 patients will take Cilostazol, Isosorbide Mononitrate or both. The researchers think that these drugs, may, help reduce the damage to the arteries in the brain, that cause the stroke and lead to cognitive decline. They will perform MRI scans on people taking part in the trial to see what effects these drugs have on the small blood vessels within the brain. If, successful, this research could lead to new ways to treat lacunar strokes and prevent some cases of dementia.

Professor Joanna Wardlaw, said, ‘’Research into lacunar strokes has, often, fallen in to the ‘gap’ between stroke research and dementia research so it hasn’t, always, been easy to find funding. I’m thrilled to see two charities working together to fund our research so that we can bring benefits to people, who have had a lacunar stroke and are at risk of developing cognitive decline, as soon as possible.”

Approximately 38,000 people die from a stroke every year in the UK and the condition is a major cause of disability with over a million stroke survivors in the country. The BHF currently funds around £21 million of research into preventing and treating stroke and £04.5 million of dementia research. Dr Shannon Amoils, Senior Research Advisor at the British Heart Foundation, said, “Heart and circulatory diseases dramatically increase your risk of having a heart attack, a stroke and, even, some types of dementia. That’s why we fund over £22 million of research into stroke and vascular dementia because we know these conditions blight the lives of thousands of people living in the UK.

We know that lacunar strokes can cause brain damage, affecting the way people walk and think, so there is a strong link to dementia. With no treatments for lacunar stroke, this important trial will establish if two drugs, already, available in the UK for other conditions, are safe to use in people with this type of stroke. The LACI trial shows how we can work with other medical research charities to get the most value from the generous donations we receive and the life-saving research we fund.”

Dr Doug Brown, Chief Policy and Research Officer at Alzheimer’s Society, said, “With no new dementia drug in 15 years but one person every three minutes developing the condition, the race is on to find desperately needed drugs that can prevent people getting dementia. Finding an existing drug which can prevent dementia would be a huge breakthrough, so it’s really promising to see from the trial we funded that two drugs with this potential were safe to use for people with stroke.

The question now is ‘can these drugs stop people, who’ve had a stroke from getting vascular dementia?’ With British Heart Foundation uniting with us against dementia and funding the next stage, we could have an answer in a matter of years. We’re keeping up our focus on funding studies examining a whole range of common drugs, in the hope we’ll find new dementia treatments in half the time it would take to develop a new drug from scratch.”

The Edinburgh research team is collaborating with the University of Nottingham to deliver the trial and a number of other research groups, including, those from hospitals in Derby, Fife, Glasgow, Leeds and London amongst others.

About the British Heart Foundation: Heart and circulatory disease causes more than a quarter of all deaths in the UK. For over 50 years we’ve pioneered research that’s transformed the lives of people living with heart and circulatory conditions. Our work has been central to the discoveries of vital treatments, that are changing the fight against heart disease. But so many people still need our help. From babies born with life-threatening heart problems to the many Mums, Dads and Grandparents, who survive a heart attack and endure the daily battles of heart failure. Every pound raised, minute of your time and donation to our shops will help make a difference to people’s lives.

Alzheimer’s Society: Alzheimer's Society is the UK's leading dementia charity. We provide information and support, fund research, campaign to improve care and create lasting change for people affected by dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. ::: ω.

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The Sanctum Mayakardium New Research Provides Evidence for Change in the Way Atrial Fibrillation Patients are Treated Since No Patient Can Ever Be Safely Considered Having the Condition Resolved

 

 

|| May 10: 2018: University of Birmingham News || ά. Patients with an abnormal heart rhythm, that can leave them at a higher risk of suffering from stroke still need treatment, even, after their heart rhythm seems to have returned to normal, according to researchers at the University of Birmingham. Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disturbance, affecting around 01.6 million people in the UK. Those with atrial fibrillation, may be, aware of noticeable heart palpitations, where their heart feels like it's pounding, fluttering or beating irregularly. Sometimes atrial fibrillation does not cause any symptoms and a person, who has it, is completely unaware that their heart rate is irregular.

People with atrial fibrillation are much more likely to develop blood clots and suffer from strokes. To avoid strokes it is important for them to take drugs to prevent blood clotting. Sometimes atrial fibrillation seems to go away and the heart goes back to its normal rhythm; the condition, may, then, be deemed to have ‘resolved’. Up until now it has been unclear as to whether the clot-prevention drugs can be safely stopped, when the condition is ‘resolved’. Now, this study, published in the BMJ, has found that people whose heart rhythm returns to normal continue to be at high risk of stroke and should continue to be treated. Researchers looked at patient records from 640 general practices throughout the UK and compared the frequency of strokes in three groups of people: those with ongoing atrial fibrillation, those, whose records said that atrial fibrillation had resolved and those, who never had atrial fibrillation.

Dr Nicola Adderley, of the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Applied Health Research, said, “What we found was that strokes were, least common, in people, who never had atrial fibrillation and much more common in people whose records said their atrial fibrillation had been resolved. Significantly, in recent years we found that strokes were, nearly, as common in people whose atrial fibrillation had resolved as in those with ongoing atrial fibrillation.

Therefore, we can conclude that people with resolved atrial fibrillation continue to be at high risk of stroke.” The researchers, also, looked at patient treatment. What they found was that, while most people deemed to have atrial fibrillation as an ongoing condition continue to get the clot-prevention drugs they need, the vast majority of those, whose atrial fibrillation had ‘resolved’ do not.

Dr Krish Nirantharakumar, of the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Applied Health Research, said, “Our research demonstrates that, although, people with resolved atrial fibrillation continue to be at high risk of stroke, they are not getting their prevention drugs. Worryingly, we found that the problem seems to be becoming more common, with our research showing an increasing number of people are recorded as having atrial fibrillation as resolved and are highly unlikely to be given medication to prevent stroke.”

The researchers suggested that in 2016 one in 10 people with atrial fibrillation, around 160,000 people in the UK, were classed to have had their condition resolved. Professor Tom Marshall, of the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Applied Health Research, said, ''One possibility as to why people whose atrial fibrillation has resolved continue to be at high risk of stroke is that it had not really resolved in the first instance.

Atrial fibrillation can be present one day and absent the next, so giving someone the all-clear, may be, a mistake. Another possibility is that it can come back. Many people don’t know when they have this condition and it can come back without them or their doctor realising. GPs keep a register of people with atrial fibrillation, this means they are reviewed regularly and are prescribed clot-preventing drugs.

But, if, the atrial fibrillation seems to have resolved they are taken off the register and, rarely, continue their treatment. It is, as, if, they fall off the radar. We have shown they are still at high risk of stroke and should still be treated. We can not ever safely consider atrial fibrillation to have resolved.”
::: ω.

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Alcohol: Even Moderate Drinking is Linked to Heart and Circulatory Diseases
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 


|| April 12: 2018 || ά. Regularly drinking more than the recommended UK guidelines for alcohol could take years off one's life, according to new research published today in the Lancet. Part-funded by the British Heart Foundation, the study shows that drinking more alcohol is associated with a higher risk of stroke, fatal aneurysm, heart failure and death. The authors of the research say that their findings challenge the widely held belief that moderate drinking is beneficial to cardiovascular health and support the UK’s recent guidelines, that lowered the recommended level of drinking alcohol.

The study compared the health and drinking habits of around 600,000 current drinkers in 19 countries worldwide and controlled for age, smoking, history of diabetes, level of education and occupation.  The upper safe limit of drinking was about fivedrinks per week, 100g of pure alcohol, 12.5 units or just over five pints of 04% ABV2 beer or five 175ml glasses of 13% ABV wine. However, drinking above this limit was linked with lower life expectancy. For example, having 10 or more drinks per week was linked with one to two years shorter life expectancy. Having 18 drinks or more per week was linked with four to five years shorter life expectancy. 

The research supports the UK’s recent guidelines, which, since 2016, recommend both men and women should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol each week. This equates to around six pints of beer or six glasses of wine a week. However, the worldwide study carries implications for countries across the world, where alcohol guidelines vary substantially.

The researchers, also, looked at the association between alcohol consumption and different types of cardiovascular disease. Alcohol consumption was associated with a higher risk of stroke, heart failure, fatal aortic aneurysms, fatal hypertensive disease and heart failure and there were no clear thresholds, where drinking less did not have a benefit. 

By contrast, alcohol consumption was associated with a slightly lower risk of non-fatal heart attacks. The authors note that the different relationships between alcohol intake and various types of cardiovascular disease, may, relate to alcohol’s elevating effects on blood pressure and on factors related to elevated high-density lipoprotein cholesterol:HDL-C, otherwise known as, good cholesterol. They stress that the lower risk of non-fatal heart attack must be considered in the context of the increased risk of several other serious and often fatal cardiovascular diseases.

The study focused on current drinkers to reduce the risk of bias caused by those, who abstain from alcohol due to poor health. However, the study used self-reported alcohol consumption and relied on observational data, so no firm conclusions can me made about cause and effect. The study did not look at the effect of alcohol consumption over the life-course or account for people, who, may, have reduced their consumption due to health complications. 

Dr Angela Wood, from the University of Cambridge, Lead Author of the study, said:, “The key message of this research is that, if, you, already, drink alcohol, drinking less, may, help you live longer and lower your risk of several cardiovascular conditions.

Alcohol consumption is associated with a slightly lower risk of non-fatal heart attacks but this, must be, balanced against the higher risk associated with other serious and, potentially, fatal cardiovascular diseases,” 

Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said, “This is a serious wakeup call for many countries.”

Ms Victoria Taylor, Senior Dietician at the British Heart Foundation, said, “This powerful study, may, make sobering reading for countries, that have set their recommendations at higher levels than the UK, but this does seem to, broadly, reinforce government guidelines for the UK. 

This doesn’t mean we should rest on our laurels, many people in the UK regularly drink over what’s recommended. We should, always, remember that alcohol guidelines should act as a limit, not a target and try to drink well below this threshold.”

BHF Advice: If, you think you are drinking too much, you can try having days, where you don’t drink any alcohol, volunteering to be the designated driver at parties, having a glass of water with each alcoholic drink or starting with a soft drink to quench your thirst and taking care to measure out spirits and use smaller wine glasses at home. ::: ω.
 

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Pro-protein Convertase Subtilisin Kexin Nine Or PCSK9 Inhibitors Have Unexpected Anti-Inflammatory Effects

 
 


|| April 08: 2018: Karolinska Institutet News || ά. PCSK9 inhibition is a new therapeutic strategy for atherosclerosis, which is known to lower LDL cholesterol. Research from Karolinska Institutet, presented at the ESC Congress last year and now published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, shows that PCSK9 inhibitors could ameliorate cardiovascular disease by immune mechanisms, that are independent of LDL lowering. Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory process involving cells of the immune system, such as, t-cells and dendritic cells.

Lipid-lowering statins are commonly used to treat the condition and, in recent years, a new class of atherosclerosis drugs, which inhibit the enzyme, pro-protein convertase subtilisin kexin 9:PCSK9 has reached the marked. PCSK9 is known to target the LDL receptor, resulting in increased levels of low-density lipoprotein:LDL. Researchers have examined how immune cells from human atherosclerotic plaques are affected by PCSK9. Using a new experimental system, they found that oxidised LDL, a central player in atherosclerosis, induced PCSK9 and promoted the maturation of dendritic cells.

These dendritic cells, then, mediated the activation of t-cells into a pro-inflammatory phenotype. PCSK9 inhibition reversed the effects of oxidised LDL on immune activation.

“This anti-inflammatory effect was unexpected and could, potentially, be anti-atherosclerotic, suggesting that the benefits of PCSK9 inhibition extend beyond lowering LDL cholesterol.” says Lead Author Professor Johan Frostegård, at the Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet.

The study was funded by the Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation, the Swedish Research Council, the Stockholm County Council, the King Gustaf V 80th Birthday Fund, the Swedish Rheumatism Association, Vinnova, AFA Insurance, and Torsten Söderberg Foundation. The authors declare no conflict of interests.

The Paper: PCSK9 plays a novel immunological role in the oxidized LDL-induced dendritic cell maturation and T-cell activation from human blood and atherosclerotic plaque: Anquan Liu, Johan Frostegård: Journal of Internal Medicine, online April 04: 2018

Caption: Johan Frostegård. Image: Bosse Johansson:IMM: Karolinska Institutet ::: ω.

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|| April 06: 2018 || ά. The Humanion was first published on September 24, 2015 and has been run, since that day, on a complete voluntary basis without any 'formal' or 'constituted' manner or form and, it was run on as a Human Enterprise, which is an idea of Humanics, in which, ownership is replaced by belongingship and, thus, in a Humanical Society, no one owns anything but everyone belongs to the whole as the whole belongs to everyone lawfully and equally and, it neither believes in nor makes money but human utilities, needs, aspirations, creativity, imagination and dreams are served without money, where everyone works and creates for all others as all others create and work for all others, thus, bringing in meaning and purpose to life along with it come natural justice, equality and liberty, that establish a true civilisation within the Rule of Law. And in one word, this system of human affairs management is called, Humanics and a society that runs itself in humanics is called a humanical society. Today, we have begun the process of 'constituting' this Human Enterprise, which does not exist in the current system, but the next closest thing to it, that exists in the UK Law is Social Enterprise. Therefore, today, Friday, April 06, 2018, we are beginning Regine Humanics Foundation, that is the 'Agency', that will lead, run, manage and develop everything, that The Humanion has been trying to do.

Regine Humanics Foundation is established by the Thinker, Author, Poet, Novelist, Playwright, Editor of The Humanion, Festival Director of London Poetry Festival and a Humanicsxian: hu: maa: neek: tian: One, that believes in, lives and exists by Humanics, Mr Munayem Mayenin, of London, England, United Kingdom. Mr Mayenin says, ''Humanics is a vision; people, may, call it, utopia, we, call it our Humanicsovicsopia; Humanics. Humanics is our philosophy, our faith, our conviction, our resolution, our way of existing, thinking, being and doing: to seek and try to do so in the determination that all we must do and be is to exist to advance the human condition. People, readers and agencies and organisations, from all across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the whole of the United Kingdom and Australasia, Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, from all walks and strata of life, have supported our endeavours, supported The Humanion and The Humanion Team, who volunteered their time to run things, since the beginning of The Humanion and long before that, when other things, that are now part of The Foundation, were developing. Nothing has changed in terms of the nature and value of what we have been seeking to do.''

''But the founding of The Foundation brings it all in a solid foundation so that we can keep on building this 'vision' so that it keeps on going regardless of who come to take the vision-mission of The Foundation forward. The Foundation runs along with time and along with the flowing humanity. This is the dream, this is the vision, this the hope in founding this Foundation. And, in this, we hope and invite all our readers, supporters, well wishers and all agencies and organisations to support our endeavours to build something, a Human Enterprise, which we are in the process of registering as a Social Enterprise, as a Community Interest Company, working for the common good of the one and common humanity. No one makes or takes profit out of The Foundation, which now runs The Humanion and everything else, that is part of it. The Foundation, once registered, will have an Asset Lock, which means that in any event, should The Foundation dissolve itself, all its existing assets shall go to a similar Social Enterprise. Therefore, we invite everyone to support The Foundation, support The Humanion in whatever way they can. And, there are endless number of ways people and organisations can support The Foundation and The Humanion.'' ::: ω.

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Respiratory Infections Could Increase the Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke
 

 

 

 

 
 


|| April 06: 2018: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine News || ά. People, who have had flu or pneumonia, may be, up to six times more likely to suffer from a heart attack or stroke in the days after infection, according to a new study published in the European Respiratory Journal.  The study, led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine:LSHTM and involving more than 2,000 people, aged 40 and over, is the largest to examine the risk of heart attacks and strokes in people, who have, also, had respiratory infections. The study has found that several different organisms, that cause respiratory infections, may, also, increase heart attack and stroke risk, including, S. Pneumoniae bacteria and influenza.

The study showed that those with flu or pneumonia could be at increased risk of heart attack for up to one week after infection and, stroke for up to one month. An estimated 10 in every 10,000 people over the age of 75 experience a heart attack each week after having a respiratory infection, compared with two in every 10,000 in other weeks’. Therefore, researchers stress that for most young, healthy people, the risk is low. Respiratory infections are thought to increase the risk of heart attack and stroke by causing inflammation, which can lead to blood clots developing. The influenza virus and S. Pneumoniae, the most common pneumonia causing bacteria, can , also, have harmful effects on the heart muscle.

Researchers say that the protective effect of vaccination against these infections, may, also, play a role in reducing the possible risk of heart attack and stroke, post infection. Lead Author, Dr Charlotte Warren-Gash, said, “As people age, having more than one medical condition becomes more common, so it is, even, more vital to understand the links between different diseases.

If, we know who, might be, at risk of cardiovascular complications after respiratory infections, we can, potentially, intervene to prevent them, with methods, such as, vaccines.'' Using national infection surveillance data from the Scottish Morbidity Record, researchers identified 1,227 adults with a first heart attack and 762 with a first stroke, who, also, had a respiratory virus or bacteria infection any time between 2004 and 2014.

They, then, investigated the rate of heart attacks and strokes in the periods of time immediately after a respiratory infection, comparing this to the rate of cardiovascular events in other periods of time in the same people. Dr Warren-Gash said, ''For most young, healthy people, the risk of heart attacks and strokes occurring after a respiratory infection is low. This research is, particularly, relevant for those over the age of 65, as well as, people with pre-existing heart diseases, as these groups can be at higher risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Older patients and those with existing health conditions are, already, recommended to have vaccinations against influenza and S. Pneumoniae, the two bugs we found to be linked to the highest cardiovascular risk; but we know that vaccine uptake is not high among younger people with heart problems. Understanding that there could be a link between these infections and heart attacks and strokes is an added incentive for people to get vaccinated.”

In the study the effect of infections on heart attack and stroke risk was greater in people aged less than 65 years compared to those aged 65 and above. The researchers note that vaccine uptake is higher among those aged 65 and over,and say that being vaccinated could help to protect against heart attacks and strokes after respiratory infection.

The authors acknowledge the limitations of their work, including, the fact that the study was not able to look at individual effects of less common respiratory viruses or to examine how respiratory infections affect cardiovascular risk in different age groups in detail.

The study was funded by the Academy of Medical Sciences and was carried out in partnership with University College London.

The Paper: Laboratory-confirmed respiratory infections as triggers for acute myocardial infarction and stroke: a self-controlled case series analysis of national linked datasets from Scotland: Charlotte Warren-Gash, Ruth Blackburn, Heather Whitaker, Jim McMenamin, Andrew C. Hayward: European Respiratory Journal ::: ω.

 
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For Stories Published in This Section in || April  ||  May  ||  June  || The Sanctum Mayakardium Arkive Q-Beta 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sanctum Mayakardium

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This image is the Winner of BHF-Run Reflections of Research Photography Competition 2016: Titled: Go with the Flow Works of Dr Victoria Stoll: June 11, 2016

 

 

 

Life's Laurel Is You In One-Line-Poetry A Heaven-Bound Propagated Ray Of Light Off The Eye Of The Book Of Life: Love For You Are Only Once

 

 

Life: You Are The Law The Flow The Glow: In Joys In Hurts You Are The Vine-Songs On The Light-Trellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

|| All copyrights @ The Humanion: London: England: United Kingdom || Contact: The Humanion: editor at thehumanion.com || Regine Humanics Foundation Ltd: reginehumanics at reginehumanicsfoundation.com || Editor: Munayem Mayenin || First Published: September 24: 2015 ||
|| Regine Humanics Foundation Ltd: A Human Enterprise: Registered as a Not For Profit Social Enterprise in England and Wales: Company No: 11346648 ||