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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