AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, University of Pennsylvania / 09.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jordana Cohen, MD, MSCE Assistant Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology Renal-Electrolyte and Hypertension Division Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In the June 18, 2019 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, we published a systematic review and meta-analysis evaluating the cardiovascular risks of white coat hypertension (WCH; i.e. elevated office blood pressure and normal out-of-office blood pressure). The goal of the meta-analysis was to clarify previous mixed results regarding the risks of untreated WCH and treated WCH. The meta-analysis examined 27 studies – including 64,273 patients – and demonstrated that untreated WCH is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events (36%), all-cause mortality (33%), and cardiovascular mortality (109%) compared to normotension. This risk was strongest in studies with a mean age ≥55 years or that included participants with cardiac risk factors, such as diabetes and chronic kidney disease. We found no increased cardiovascular risk associated with treated white coat hypertension. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, Nutrition, Vegetarians / 22.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Megu Baden, MD, PhD Department of Nutrition Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA02115  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you give an example of healthful vs non-healthful plantbased diet? Response: Plant-based diets are recommended for health and recently also for their environmental benefits. However, most previous studies defined it as either vegetarian or non-vegetarian, and importantly, without differentiation for the quality of plant foods. As you know, not all plant foods are equally good to our health. Therefore, to capture the quality of plant-based diets, we established overall, healthful and unhealthful plant-based diet indices. A higher score on the overall plant based diet index indicates greater intake of all types of plant foods and less of animal foods. A higher score on the healthful plant based diet index indicates greater intake of only healthy plant foods (whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, vegetable oils, tea/coffee), and less of less healthy plant foods (fruit juices, refined grains, potatoes, sugar-sweetened beverages, sweets/desserts) and animal foods. A higher score on the unhealthful plant based diet index indicates greater intake of only less healthy plant foods, and less of healthy plant foods and animal foods. In this study, we used these plant-based diet indices and investigated the associations between 12-year changes in plant-based diet quality and subsequent total and cause-specific mortality in two large US cohorts. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Lipids, Omega-3 Fatty Acids / 22.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ann Skulas-Ray, PhD. Assistant Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences University of Arizona MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The prior guidance from the AHA regarding omega-3 fatty acids and high triglycerides was published in 2002, prior to the availability of prescription omega-3 concentrates and results from many of the clinical studies we were able to review. Our advisory was able to address questions such as dose and concomitant use of statin therapy. Another unique feature of our advisory is that we evaluated studies of the effects of omega-3 fatty acids in people with triglycerides (TG)  > or = 500 mg/dL and 200-499 mg/dL separately, so we were able to see patterns relating to dose of omega-3 fatty acids and baseline triglyceride values. We came to separate conclusions for populations above and below TG of 500 mg/dL and concluded that 4 g/d was most effective. In contrast, the 2002 guidance recommended 2-4 g/d EPA + DHA under a physician's care for high triglycerides.  (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Technology / 07.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kang Lee, PhD Dr Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study University of Toronto Toronto, Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We use a technology called transdermal optical imaging I and my postdoc invented to record facial blood flow using a regular video camera on the smartphone. This technology capitalizes on the fact that light travels beneath the facial skin and reflect off the hemoglobin under the skin. Our technology captures the minute reflected photons to decode facial blood changes due to our pulses and other physiological activities. Using machine learning, a neural network model learns to use the facial blood flow to predict blood pressures taken with a FDA approved scientific blood pressure measurement instrument. We then use the final model to predict the blood pressures of a new group of participants whose data had never been used in the model training. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Cleveland Clinic, Exercise - Fitness, Heart Disease / 26.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dermot Phelan, MD, PhD Director of the Sports Cardiology Center Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: It is well recognized that long-term elite endurance athletes are at higher risk of atrial fibrillation.  We wished to evaluate whether this held true for primarily strength-type athletes. We had the opportunity to screen almost 500 former NFL athletes.  It became clear that we were seeing more atrial fibrillation than one would expect during the screenings. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Clots - Coagulation, Heart Disease, Stroke / 19.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Martine Jandrot-Perrus MD, PhD. Emeritus Research Professor Inserm University Paris Diderot Acticor Biotech Hôpital Bichat France  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Blood platelets are key actors in thrombosis a leading cause of global mortality estimated to account for 1 in 4 death worldwide in 2010. Thrombosis is associated with cardiovascular diseases (myocardial infarction, stroke, lower limb ischemia, venous thromboembolism), and with numerous pathologies such as cancer, infections or inflammatory diseases. Currently available antiplatelet drugs are the cornerstone of therapy for patients with acute coronary syndromes. However, these drugs all carry an inherent risk of bleeding that restricts their use in sensitive populations and when arterial thrombosis occurs in the cerebral territory. At present the only acute treatment option available for ischemic stroke consists in revascularization by thrombolysis, and/or mechanical thrombectomy. But the number of patients eligible to these treatments is low (» 15% of all patients) and the success rate does not exceed 50%. The responsibility of platelets in the failure for thrombolysis / thrombectomy to restore vascular patency is strongly suspected. There is thus a clear medical need for new antiplatelet drugs with an improved safety profile. We set out to develop ACT017, a novel, first in class, therapeutic antibody to platelet glycoprotein VI with potent and selective antiplatelet effects. The interest of GPVI resides in the fact that it's a receptor involved in the development of occlusive thrombi but that it is not strictly required for physiological hemostasis. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Karolinski Institute / 02.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gabriel Riva, Graduate Student Department of Medicine, Solna (MedS), Karolinka Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: During the last decade there has been a gradual adoption of compression-only CPR, as an option to conventional CPR with chest compressions and rescue breaths, in international CPR guidelines. The simplified technique is recommended for bystanders who are untrained and in "telephone assisted CPR". One of the reasons was the assumption that more people would actually do CPR with the simplified technique.  We could in this nationwide study running over 3 guideline periods demonstrate a 6-fold higher proportion of patients receiving compression-only CPR and a concomitant almost doubled rate of CPR before emergency medical services arrival over time. This very large increase in simplified CPR was surprising to us, especially considering there has never been any public campaigns promoting compression-only CPR in Sweden and training still include compressions and ventilations.  (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Exercise - Fitness / 22.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael J. Wheeler Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute Melbourne, Victoria, Australia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We conducted this study because separate lines of inquiry have determined that a bout of exercise can acutely lower blood pressure, and more recently that prolonged sitting can increase blood pressure over the space of a day. We wanted to know whether the blood pressure lowering effects of an exercise bout would be diminished by a subsequent period of prolonged sitting or enhanced by a subsequent period of sitting that is regularly interrupted with short walking breaks. We found an additive blood pressure lowering effect when exercise was combined with breaks in sitting as opposed to exercise plus prolonged sitting. However, this was only true for women. Men had equal blood pressure lowering effects following exercise regardless of whether-or-not subsequent sitting was interrupted (more…)
AHA Journals, Artificial Sweeteners, Author Interviews, Stroke / 21.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, Ph.D., RD Associate Professor Division of Health Promotion & Nutrition Research Dept. of Epidemiology & Population Health Albert Einstein College of Medicine Bronx, NY 10461 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This is the largest study of the effects of artificially sweetened beverages (ASB) in older women from the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study which started in 1993 and still continues to follow the women. A prior paper indicated excess risk of cardiovascular disease with high consumption of ASBs, but cardiovascular disease was a composite endpoint combining stroke, coronary heart disease, heart failure, revascularization and peripheral arterial disease.  Our study focusses on stroke by itself and with different subtypes of stroke. We define high consumption as two or more 12 fl oz. of diet drinks (diet soda or fruit drinks) per day and low consumption as no or less than one drink per week. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Diabetes, Stroke / 08.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Karen C. Johnston MD Professor and Chair, Neurology School of Medicine University of Virginia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We know that acute ischemic stroke patient with hyperglycemia at presentation have worse outcomes. We also know if we lower the glucose too low that this is bad for ischemic brain also. T he SHINE trial addressed a world wide debate about whether intensive treatment of hyperglycemia is beneficial. We assessed the efficacy and safety of an intensive glucose control protocol with a target glucose of 80-130 mg/dL compared to a more standard protocol with a target of less than 180 mg/dL. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 16.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: JAY H. Traverse, MD, FACC, FAHA Director of Research Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation Associate Professor of Medicine Cardiovascular Division University of Minnesota School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Reperfusion injury may contribute a significant amount to final infarct size in setting of ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). Several studies from Europe and Asia have suggested that modifying reperfusion with an angioplasty balloon of an occluded artery called postconditioning can reduce infarct size. However, not all studies show a benefit. We hypothesized that patient selection of STEMI patients could contribute to these inconsistent findings so we performed the first postconditioning study in the US sponsored by the NIH using the strictest enrollment criteria of any study to minimize factors that influence infarct size (ischemic time, collaterals, pre-infarction angina, TIMI 0 flow) designed to maximize the benefit of postconditioning to see if it can actually reduce infarct size. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Emory, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Sleep Disorders / 26.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dayna A. Johnson PhD Department of Epidemiology Emory University Atlanta, GA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There are several studies that have determined that African Americans have the highest prevalence of hypertension and are the most likely to have uncontrolled hypertension compared to other racial/ethnic groups. We were interested in studying whether sleep apnea contributed to hypertension control among African Americans. We found that participants with sleep apnea were more likely to have resistant hypertension than those without sleep apnea. In particular, individuals with severe sleep apnea had the highest risk of resistant hypertension. Most of the participants with measured sleep apnea were undiagnosed (96%).  (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension / 20.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Adam Bress, Pharm.D Department of Population Health Sciences School of Medicine University of Utah MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? o   The background here is that the new 2017 ACC/AHA BP guidelines lowered the threshold for antihypertensive medication initiation and intensification from <140 mmHg in most patients to <130 mm Hg. o   We used contemporary, population-based studies of US adults to estimate the potential population health impact of achieving and maintaining the lower treatment targets recommended in the 2017 ACC/AHA BP guidelines compared to previous guidelines. o   We found that achieving and maintain the lower thresholds recommended in the 2017 ACC/AHA BP guidelines over 10 years would:
  • Prevent 3.0 million CVD events compared to currently blood pressure and treatment levels
  • Prevent 0.5 million more events compared to achieving and maintain JNC7 goals
  • Prevent 1.4 million more events compared to achieving and maintain JNC7 goals
o   We estimated the size of the population health impact of achieving and maintaining the lower blood pressure treatment targets in the 2017 ACC/AHA BP guidelines compared to previous guidelines.
  • Achieving and maintaining the lower blood pressure thresholds for antihypertensive medication initiation and titration by the 2017 guidelines, are projected to prevent ~20% and ~90% more CVD events over ten years compared to achieving and maintaining JNC7 or JNC8 goals respectively.
o   Although we estimated more adverse events with the lower treatment goal, what our analysis found is that the benefits of achieving and maintaining the 2017 high blood pressure treatment recommendations far outweighs the risks. Many adverse events from high blood pressure treatment can be managed medically – and the lower threshold for treatment could potentially help millions of Americans lower their chances of developing heart disease or dying from heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular events, (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Surgical Research / 13.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Srikanth Yandrapalli New York Medical College NYMC · Cardiology MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Selection of coronary artery bypass grafting over percutaneous coronary intervention during an acute myocardial infarction is influenced by the extent of coronary artery disease and patient comorbidities. Prior studies have shown sex and racial differences in coronary artery diseaseburden. We sought to identify if there are any sex and racial differences in the utilization of  coronary artery bypass grafting over percutaneous coronary intervention during a revascularized first  acute myocardial infarction in the US. We found that males had a higher coronary artery bypass grafting rate than women, and compared to Whites, Blacks had lower coronary artery bypass grafting rate and Asians had higher coronary artery bypass grafting at the time of a first myocardial infarction. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Heart Disease, UT Southwestern / 31.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Wanpen Vongpatanasin, M.D. Professor of Medicine Norman & Audrey Kaplan Chair in Hypertension Fredric L. Coe Professorship in Nephrolithiasis and Mineral Metabolism Research Director, Hypertension Section, Cardiology Division, UT Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, TX 75390-8586 Dr. Wanpen Vongpatanasin, M.D. Professor of Medicine Program Director, Hypertension Fellowship Program UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The new US hypertension guideline places a greater emphasis on out-of-office blood pressure measurement, and maintains that a clinic BP of 130/80 mm Hg is equivalent to the same reading for home BP monitoring or daytime ambulatory BP monitoring. That is based, however, on data from non-US cohorts, primarily from Japanese cohorts and some European populations. None has been studied in the US population until now. To find out, we analyzed large multi-ethnic studies of primarily young and middle-aged adults in Dallas, Texas, and Durham, N.C., that compared home blood pressure to clinic measurements, using the regression correlation (i.e. regression approach). To confirm the findings, we use another approach called “outcome approach” by determining risks of stroke, MI, and death associated with a clinic systolic blood pressure reading of 130 mmHg from the 3,132 participants in the Dallas study during an 11-year follow up. Then, we determined the home blood pressure levels that carried the same heart disease risk and stroke risk as the clinic systolic 130 mm Hg reading. We found that the level of home blood pressure of 130/80 mm Hg actually best correlates with blood pressure taken at the doctor’s office of 130/80 mmHg. This is true for whites, blacks and Hispanic patients in both treated and untreated population.  (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Imperial College, Mineral Metabolism, Stroke / 27.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dipender Gill Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust London, United Kingdon  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Iron status has previously been associated with risk of various types of cardiovascular disease, including stroke. However, the observational research methodologies that identified these associations can be affected by confounding from environmental factors and reverse causation. We used randomly allocated genetic variants that affect iron status to investigate its effect on risk of different types of ischemic stroke, and found evidence to support that higher iron status increases risk of cardioembolic stroke. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Toxin Research, University of Michigan / 26.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sung Kyun Park Sc.D. M.P.H. Associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health sciences University of Michigan School of Public Health Ann Arbor, Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: It is poorly understood that why some patients need more drugs to control high blood pressure than others. Resistant hypertension is that blood pressure is not controlled with 3 medications of different classes including diuretics or is required 4 or more medications of different classes for blood pressure controls. Genes, obesity, physical inactivity, high salt diet, pain medications may do something. Lead is a widespread environmental toxin that can influence high blood pressure. In this study, we examined whether long-term exposure to lead, measured as bone lead, is associated with the risk of resistant hypertension. Bone lead offers a better method over blood lead measurement to discern long-term lead exposure and accumulation. The main finding of our study is that low-level lead exposure, measured in the tibia (hard bone), is associated with higher risk of development of resistant hypertension in a cohort of patients diagnosed with hypertension.  (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Dental Research / 24.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "Still from "My Dental Hell(th)"" by littledropofpoison is licensed under CC BY 2.0Rita Del Pinto, MD University of L'Aquila Department of Life, Health and Environmental Sciences, L'Aquila - Italy  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There is a wealth of literature in support of a role for inflammation behind cardiovascular risk factors and diseases. One relatively poorly explored field is that of oral diseases, namely periodontitis, as a potential source of low-grade, chronic inflammation. Previous studies had described a beneficial effect of periodontal treatment on blood pressure; we extended current knowledge with our findings on over 3600 treated hypertensive adults with and without periodontitis, showing a significant benefit over systolic blood pressure behavior and control in the presence of a good periodontal health.  (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Mediterranean Diet, Stroke / 20.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Vegetables” by Wagner T. Cassimiro "Aranha" is licensed under CC BY 2.0Professor Phyo Kyaw Myint MBBS MD FRCP(Edin) FRCP(Lond) Clinical Chair in Medicine of Old Age Academic Lead: Ageing Clinical & Experimental Research & Director of Clinical Academic Training Development The Lead Academic, Aberdeen Clinical Academic Training (ACAT) Programmes School of Medicine, Medical Sciences & Nutrition College of Life Sciences & Medicine, University of Aberdeen MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: While Mediterranean Diet has been linked to reduced stroke risk it remains unclear (1) its impact on populations within non-Mediterranean countries; (2) its specific impact on different gender; (3) the effect observed when using more robust dietary assessments; and (4) which specific components of the diet are most protective. We therefore studied more than 23 thousand men and women (mainly British Caucasian) aged 40 years or older in Norfolk, UK as part of EPIC-Norfolk study and we found that the greater adherence to Mediterranean dietary pattern is linked to a significant reduction in stroke risk in women but not in men. This benefit was seen across the whole middle and older age population (particularly for women) regardless of their existing risk factors such as high blood pressure. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Geriatrics, Heart Disease / 25.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Quoc Dinh Nguyen, MD MA MPH Interniste-gériatre – Service de gériatrie Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal – CHUM MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Randomized trials are the best evidence basis we have to treat patients. It is known for more than 20 years that older adults and women are disproportionately excluded from randomized trials in cardiology diseases. As the current US population is fast aging, we examined whether this underrepresentation improved or worsened in the last 20 years in the most influential studies published between 1996 and 2015. The main finding is that the women and older adults continue to be underrepresented in cardiology trials. Overall, the mean age was 63 years and the percentage of women was 29%. For coronary heart disease, women comprise 54% of the US population in need of treatment, yet are only 27% of the trial population. For heart failure, the median age of older adults in the US population is 70 years whereas it is only 64 years in the trial population. Our results indicate that the gap has very slowly narrowed in the last 2 decades. However, based on current trends, reaching proportionate enrollment would require between 3 and 9 decades. This persistent lack of representation has significant impacts on the ability of clinicians to provide evidenced based care for these segments of the population. Physicians and other health care professionals are forced to extrapolate study results from younger and male-predominant populations. This is problematic since we know that older adults and women may react differently to medications and to interventions.  (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Lipids, Menopause, University of Pennsylvania, Women's Heart Health / 19.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Samar R. El Khoudary, Ph.D., M.P.H. BPharm, FAHA Associate Professor Department of Epidemiology University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The background for this study is based on the current measurements used to determine cardiovascular disease risk in postmenopausal women. Higher levels of HDL “good cholesterol” as measured by the widely available clinical test, HDL-Cholesterol, may not always be indicative of a lower risk of cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women. HDL is a family of particles found in the blood that vary in sizes, cholesterol contents and function. HDL particles can become dysfunctional under certain conditions such as chronic inflammation. HDL has traditionally been measured as the total cholesterol carried by the HDL particles, known as HDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol, however, does not necessarily reflect the overall concentration, the uneven distribution, or the content and function of HDL particles. We looked at 1,138 women aged 45 through 84 enrolled across the U.S. in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), a medical research study sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). MESA began in 1999 and is still following participants today. We assessed two specific measurements of HDL: the number and size of the HDL particles and total cholesterol carried by HDL particles. Our study also looked at how age when women transitioned into post menopause, and the amount of time since transitioning, may impact the expected cardio-protective associations of HDL measures. Our study points out that the traditional measure of the good cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, fails to portray an accurate depiction of heart disease risk for postmenopausal women. We reported a harmful association between higher HDL cholesterol and atherosclerosis risk that was most evident in women with older age at menopause and who were greater than, or equal to, 10 years into post menopause. In contrast to HDL cholesterol, a higher concentration of total HDL particles was associated with lower risk of atherosclerosis. Additionally, having a high number of small HDL particles was found beneficial for postmenopausal women. These findings persist irrespective of age and how long it has been since women became postmenopausal. On the other hand, large HDL particles are linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease close to menopause. Women are subject to a variety of physiological changes in their sex hormones, lipids, body fat deposition and vascular health as they transition through menopause. We are hypothesizing that the decrease of estrogen, a cardio-protective sex hormone, along with other metabolic changes, can trigger chronic inflammation over time, which may alter the quality of HDL particles. Future studies should test this hypothesis. The study findings indicate that measuring size and number of HDL particles can better reflect the well-known cardio-protective features of the good cholesterol in postmenopausal women. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 21.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Thomas Hadberg Lynge MD The Department of Cardiology The Heart Centre, Copenhagen University Hospital Rigshospitalet, Denmark MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Congenital heart defects are common and affect ≈0.8% of all live births. Despite substantially improve survival over the past decades, morbidity and mortality remain significant, in particular among patients with complex congenital heart defects. This decreased life expectancy is in part explained by an increased risk of sudden cardiac death among people with congenital heart defects. However, the incidence of sudden cardiac death among people with congenital heart defects is largely unknown in an unselected and nationwide setting. Sudden cardiac death can occur both at rest and during exercise and it is well-known that exercise is associated with an increased risk of sudden cardiac death during activity. Fear of sudden cardiac death has led to restrictions of physical activity among patients with congenital heart defects and these patients have lower levels of physical activity compared with healthy peers. Appropriate counseling of these patients requires estimates on risk of sudden cardiac death in relation to physical activity. Nationwide fetal ultrasound screening was implemented in Denmark in 2005 and this together with improved surgical and medical treatment during the study period, is likely to have changed the epidemiology of sudden cardiac death in people with congenital heart defects. It was therefore also an important aim of the study to examine temporal changes in sudden cardiac death in people with congenital heart defects. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Gout, Heart Disease, Rheumatology / 18.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Gout in my foot” by vagawi  is licensed under CC BY 2.0Seoyoung C. Kim, MD, ScD, MSCE Associate Professor of Medicine Division of Pharmacoepidemiology & Pharmacoeconomics Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Since patients with gout are at an increased risk of cardiovascular events, we wanted to examine comparative cardiovascular safety of the two most commonly used urate-lowering drugs – febuxostat and allopurinol. Using claims data from US Medicare, we conducted a cohort study of 24,936 febuxostat initiators PS-matched to 74,808 allopurinol initiators. We found the risk of the primary cardiovascular endpoint (MI or stroke) was similar between the two groups. Analyses on secondary endpoints as well as all-cause mortality showed similar findings except that febuxostat was associated with a modestly reduced risk of heart failure exacerbation among patients with preexisting heart failure. In our sensitivity analysis, the risk of all-cause mortality associated with long-term use of febuxostat v. allopurinol appears to be increased but statistically not significant. (more…)
AHA Journals, Allergies, Author Interviews, Infections, JAMA / 17.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Lone Star Tick” by Katja Schulz is licensed under CC BY 2.0Jeffrey Wilson, MD, PhD Research Fellow, Allergy & Immunology University of Virginia  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Galactose-α-1,3-galactose (α-Gal) represents an oligosaccharide that is present in mammalian products and is the causal allergen in a syndrome of delayed red meat allergy (commonly called α-Gal syndrome). Sensitization to this allergen has been linked to tick bites, specifically the lone star tick in the United States. Thus, sensitization to α-Gal (and the prevalence of subjects with symptomatic red meat allergy) is relatively common where the lone star tick is common, i.e- the southeast. For a variety of reasons we hypothesized that specific immune sensitization (which relates to IgE antibody production) to α-Gal would be a risk factor for coronary artery disease. To address this possibility we measured IgE specific to α-Gal in 118 adults subjects from central Virginia who had undergone advanced cardiac imaging with a technique called intravascular ultrasound. Out of the cohort 26% of the subjects in the study had the sensitivity to α-Gal. The main finding was that subjects with the IgE sensitization to α-Gal had greater amounts of atherosclerosis, as well as atherosclerotic plaques with more unstable characteristics. This association was significant when controlled for traditional cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes and lipids levels. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Heart Disease, Smoking, Tobacco, Tobacco Research / 14.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “fathers day” by James Simkins is licensed under CC BY 2.0Jessica L. Fetterman, PhD Assistant Professor of Medicine Boston University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: In our study, we studied endothelial cells, the cells that line the inside of the blood vessels. We collected endothelial cells from smokers both who use menthol and non-menthol cigarettes are impaired compared to non-smokers and we could make the non-smoker cells look like the endothelial cells of smokers by treating with menthol or eugenol (provides a clove spice-flavoring). To test a wider variety of commonly used flavoring additives, we treated cultured (outside of the body in a dish) endothelial cells with some of the most commonly used flavoring additives in tobacco products and at different concentrations/doses. We then evaluated the effects of flavoring additives by looking at measures of cell death, oxidative stress, inflammation, and the ability of the cells to produce nitric oxide, a cardio-protective chemical made by endothelial cells that is lost when the cells become damaged. We found that the flavoring additives used in tobacco products like e-cigarettes are toxic to the cells that line the blood vessels (endothelial cells). Our works suggests that the flavoring additives used in tobacco products may be harmful to the cardiovascular system. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Stroke / 10.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Alain Lekoubou Looti, MD Msc Clinical Neurophysiology Department of Neurosciences College of Medicine Medical University of South Carolina MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Hypertension is strongly associated with stroke. Individuals who suffer a stroke are more likely to have another stroke. They also die at a rate twice as high as those who experience a first event. We have evidence that treating hypertension reduces the risk of recurrence stroke among stroke survivors. Prior hypertension guidelines defined hypertension for a systolic blood pressure (top number) equal or greater than 140 and a diastolic blood pressure (lower number) equal or greater than 90. The American college of cardiology/American heart association have published a new guideline to help healthcare providers identify and treat blood pressure including among stroke survivors. The threshold to define blood pressure has been lowered to 130 for the top number and 80 for the lower number for everyone. Unlike the general population, pharmacological treatment for stroke survivors is now recommended for systolic blood pressure greater than or equal than 130 and diastolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 80. In the same line achieving a blood pressure of less than 130/80 mmHg in stroke survivors is now recommended. In the stroke community, there has been mounting evidence to suggest that achieving lower blood pressure goal was desirable. When the new guidelines were published, we could not wait any longer to see the impact of the new guidelines on the proportion of stroke survivors with hypertension, recommended pharmacological treatment, and above blood pressure target. We were also curious to see how the new guidelines would potentially affect mortality among stroke survivors.  We have found that the new guidelines would result in a nearly 67% (from 29.9% to 49.8%) to relative increase in the proportion of U.S. stroke survivors diagnosed with hypertension and 54% (from 36.3% to 56%) relative increase in those not within the recommended BP target.  We have also found that if the new guidelines were applied, this would result in a 33% relative drop in mortality.  (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Red Meat / 31.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “mmmm Meat” by Glen MacLarty is licensed under CC BY 2.0 Jyrki Virtanen, PhD Adjunct professor of nutritional epidemiology Heli Virtanen, MSc University of Eastern Finland Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition Kuopio, Finland  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies have found that animal sources of protein may have an adverse impact on the risk of cardiovascular diseases, like myocardial infarct, whereas plant sources of protein have had an opposite impact. In this study we investigated that how protein intake from different dietary sources is associated with developing heart failure in men during the study’s follow-up. During the mean follow-up time of about 22 years, 334 men developed heart failure. The main finding of the study was that higher protein intake was associated with a moderately higher risk of heart failure and the findings were similar with protein from most dietary sources, although the association was stronger with protein from animal sources. Only protein from fish and eggs were not associated with the risk in our study. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Heart Disease, Lipids, Vanderbilt / 18.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Wei-Qi Wei, MD, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Biomedical Informatics Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN 37203 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The study was motived by the clinical observation that some patients develop coronary heart disease events despite taking statins, one of our most effective drugs to reduce cardiovascular risk. We collected data within the eMERGE network of people taking statins and monitored them for development of coronary heart disease events over time.  We  conducted a genome-wide association study of those with events compared to those without events. Our results showed that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on the LPA gene were associated with a significantly increased risk of coronary heart disease events. Individuals with the variant were 50% more likely to have an event. More importantly, even among patients who achieved ideal on-treatment LDL cholesterol levels (<70 mg/dL), the association remained statistically significant. We then did a phenome-wide association study to see if other diseases or conditions were associated with these LPAvariants. The major associated conditions were all cardiovascular. This sort of study can highlight potential other indications for a drug targeting this pathway and suggest potential adverse events that might be experienced from targeting this pathway. Clearly, more and larger studies will be needed to truly understand the potential risks and benefits of a future drug targeting this pathway.  (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Smoking / 01.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Stop smoking!” by Emil_95 is licensed under CC BY 2.0Janina Markidan MS III, MD Student University of Maryland School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In a study of 1,145 young men, we found a strong dose-response relationship between the number of cigarettes smoked daily and the risk of ischemic stroke. We categorized the participants as never smokers, former smokers and current smokers. Current smokers were divided into groups based on the number of cigarettes smoked daily, 1 to 10, 11 to 20, 21 to 39, or 40 or more. We found that men who smoked were 88 percent more likely to have a stroke than men who never smoked. Among current smokers, men who smoked fewer than 11 cigarettes daily were 46 percent more likely to have a stroke than those who never smoked. But the heavier smokers, smoking at least two packs a day, were nearly 5 times (466%) more likely to have a stroke than those who never smoked.  (more…)