AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Technology / 23.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ricardo A Hanel, MD PhD Endovascular and Skull Base Neurosurgery Director, Baptist Neurological Institute Endowed Chair, Stroke and Cerebrovascular Surgery Jacksonville, FL MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Medtronic Pipeline Embolization Device has been approved for carotid artery aneurysms over 10mm in size, from the petrous to clinoid segment but given the efficacy of results on these larger lesions, it has been widely utilized for treatment of smaller lesions. PREMIER came from the need of assessing the results , safety and efficacy, of pipeline for use of aneurysms under 12mm, located on the carotid artery, all segments, and V3 segment of the vertebral artery. PREMIER enrolled 141 patients treated at 22 centers (21 US, 1 Canada). Primary Safety effectiveness defined as total aneurysm occlusion, core lab adjudicated , at 1 year was 83.5%; with safety endpoint of major stroke/death at 30 days of 1.4% (2 patients), with 1-year major stroke and death rate of 2.1%. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Geriatrics, Heart Disease / 15.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Olga Khavjou RTI International MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the United States and is one of the costliest chronic diseases. As the population ages, CVD costs are expected to increase substantially. To improve cardiovascular health and control health care costs, we must understand future prevalence and costs of CVD. In 2015, 41.5% (more than 100 million people) of the U.S population was estimated to have some form of CVD. By 2035, the number of people with CVD is projected to increase to over 130 million people, representing a 30% increase in the number of people with CVD over the next 20 years. Between 2015 and 2035, real total direct medical costs of CVD are projected to more than double from $318 billion to $749 billion and real indirect costs (due to productivity losses) are projected to increase from $237 billion to $368 billion. Total costs (medical and indirect) are projected to more than double from $555 billion in 2015 to $1.1 trillion in 2035. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Columbia, Heart Disease, Immunotherapy, Lipids / 13.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Henry N. Ginsberg, MD Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research Columbia University Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons New York, NY MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies in mice and cells have identified increased hepatic low density lipoprotein (LDL) receptors as the basis for LDL lowering by PCSK9 inhibitors, but there have been no human studies characterizing the effects of PCSK9 inhibitors on lipoprotein metabolism, particularly effects on very low density lipoproteins (VLDL), intermediate density lipoproteins (IDL) or LDL metabolism. This study in 18 healthy subjects, found that alirocumab decreased the number of IDL and LDL particles in the circulation, and their associated cholesterol and apoB levels by increasing efficiency of the clearance of IDL and LDL. There were not effects on VLDL metabolism. The increased clearance of IDL meant that less LDL was produced from IDL, which is the precursor of LDL. Thus, the dramatic reductions in LDL cholesterol resulted from both less LDL being produced and more efficient clearance of LDL. These results are consistent with increases in LDL receptors available to clear IDL and LDL from blood during PCSK9 inhibition. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension / 22.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: High blood pressure is the worldwide leading cause of cardiovascular disease. It has been estimated that more than 50%, maybe as much as 70%, of cardiovascular diseases are due to hypertension. Approximately 30% among the Brazilian adult population has hypertension and can reach 70% of individuals over 60 years of age. Prehypertension (systolic BP 120–139 or diastolic BP 80–89 mm Hg) conveys three potentially deleterious consequences.
  • First, it substantially increases the risk of developing hypertension.
  • Second, patients with prehypertension have evidence of end-organ damage, such as left ventricular geometric and functional abnormalities.
  • Third, there are evidence that adults with prehypertension are at a substantially higher risk of cardiovascular mortality.
The PREVER-Prevention study aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of a low-dose diuretic versus placebo for the prevention of hypertension and end-organ damage. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Duke, Social Issues, Stroke / 19.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Matthew E. Dupre, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Community and Family Medicine & Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) Duke University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There have been a handful of recent studies showing how divorce and widowhood increase one’s risk of suffering a serious health event such as a heart attack or stroke. Our research is the first to show that an individual’s marital history can have significant consequences for their prognosis after having a stroke. We found that people who never married and those with a history of marital loss were significantly more likely to die after suffering a stroke than those who were stably married. We also found that adults who experienced more than one divorce or widowhood in their lifetime were about 50% more likely to die after having a stroke than those in a long-term stable marriage. We were also somewhat surprised to find that remarriage did not seem to reduce the risks from past marital losses. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Lipids, Pharmacology / 16.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Eli M. Roth MD, FACC President, Medical Director Sterling Research Group Cincinnati, OH MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: At this year’s AHA 2016, we presented a pharmacodynamics analysis of ODYSSEY CHOICE I, which evaluated the effects of Praluent 300 mg administered every four weeks (Q4W) for 24 weeks in hypercholesterolemia patients at moderate to very high cardiovascular risk who were on maximally tolerated statin or no statin and/or other lipid-lowering therapies. The pharmacodynamic analysis of CHOICE I in patients on statins supports the use of Praluent 300 mg Q4W as an alternative starting dose for patients who prefer a Q4W dosing regimen and demonstrates the value of LDL-C based dosing interval adjustment. The findings from this analysis were consistent with prior ODYSSEY Phase 3 studies, showing that Praluent substantially reduced circulating free PCSK9 concentration, resulting in significant LDL-C reductions. Additionally, Praluent was generally well tolerated. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Outcomes & Safety, UT Southwestern / 04.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rohan Khera, MD Cardiology Fellow, T32 Clinical-Investigator Pathway UT Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, TX MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Nearly 200 thousand people have an in-hospital cardiac arrest in the US each year. Of these, the vast majority have a non-shockable initial rhythm – either pulseless electric activity (PEA) or asystole. The survival of this type of arrest remains poor at around 12-14%. Moreover, even after accounting for differences in case mix, there is a wide variation in survival across hospitals – and this serves as a potential avenue for targeting quality improvement strategies at poor performing hospitals. Recent data suggest that a shorter time from the onset of cardiac arrest to the first dose of epinephrine is independently associated with higher survival. Against this background of wide hospital variation in cardiac arrest survival, and patient-level data suggesting an association between time to epinephrine and patient survival, we wanted to assess (A) if there were differences in time to epinephrine administration across hospitals, and (B) if a hospital’s rate of timely epinephrine use was associated with its cardiac arrest survival rate. Within Get With The Guidelines-Resuscitation, we identified nearly 104-thousand adult patients at 548 hospitals with an in-hospital cardiac arrest attributable to a non-shockable rhythms. delays to epinephrine, We found that (a) proportion of cardiac arrests with delayed epinephrine markedly across hospitals, ranging from no arrests with delay (or 0%) to more than half of arrests at a hospital (54%). There was an inverse correlation between a hospital’s rate of delayed epinephrine administration and its risk-standardized rate of survival to discharge and survival with functional recovery - compared to a low-performing hospitals, survival and recovery was 20% higher at hospitals that performed best on timely epinephrine use. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Heart Disease, Surgical Research / 27.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Stefano Savonitto  Director, Division of Cardiology Manzoni Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Over the last 15 years, there has been a shift from fibrinolytic therapy for STEMI to primary angioplasty, which required a re-organization of the whole STEMI treatment network. Besides the higher reperfusion efficiency of primary angioplasty, as compared to lytic therapy, it has been a global upgrade of the STEMI care system that has reduced the rate of no reperfusion. Elderly patients and women (who are, on average, also older than men) had theoretically the most to gain from this shift, but little data were available to assess this benefit. In the present paper, we have shown that “lack of reperfusion” was reduced dramatically across all age groups and in both sexes, with a progressive and uniform increase in primary angioplasty, and a significant reduction in mortality. Almost as expected, elderly women were the category with the most relevant mortality benefit. Nevertheless, after adjustment for age and other confounders, women continue to experience a higher mortality as compared to men. In the discussion of the paper, we propose some hypotheses for this persistently higher mortality in women. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 20.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joseph A. Ladapo, MD, PhD Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA Los Angeles, CA 90024 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Four million adults in the U.S. undergo stress testing or coronary computed tomographic angiography (CTA) each year because of suspected coronary disease. These patients are high risk for adverse cardiovascular events, but they are often not treated with the right medications after testing. Little is known about how CTA or stress testing affect physician and patient decisions about cardiovascular medications and preventive lifestyle choices like exercise and weight loss. Using data from patients in the PROMISE trial (PROspective Multicenter Imaging Study for Evaluation of chest pain), we found that patients who underwent CTA for suspected coronary artery disease were more likely to start a statin and aspirin and more likely to eat better and lose weight. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Gender Differences, Heart Disease, Social Issues / 19.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Adam L. Beckman Yale College, New Haven, CT (at the time this work was completed) Erica S Spatz MD MHS Assistant Professor, Section of Cardiovascular Medicine Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation Yale-New Haven Hospital Yale University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Beckman: Despite the expansion of insurance coverage, young adults face major challenges to obtaining affordable healthcare. We suspected women may experience greater challenges than men — they often have lower income and less complete medical coverage than men, and care for multiple generations of family, and that this may in part explain why young women have worse outcomes following a heart attack as compared with similarly-aged men. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Beth Israel Deaconess, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Clots - Coagulation, Heart Disease / 18.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eric A. Secemsky, MD MSc Interventional Cardiology Fellow Massachusetts General Hospital Harvard Medical School Fellow, Smith Center for Outcomes Research in Cardiology Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Use of oral anticoagulant (OAC) therapy prior to coronary stenting is a significant predictor of post-procedural bleeding events. Previous studies have estimated that the frequency of chronic OAC use among patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is between 3% to 7%. Yet many of these analyses examined select patient populations, such as those admitted with acute myocardial infarction or atrial fibrillation, and preceded the market approval of non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs). As such, the contemporary prevalence of OAC use among all-comers undergoing PCI, as well as associated risks of adverse events, are currently unknown. Therefore, we used PCI data from a large, integrated healthcare system to determine current use of  oral anticoagulant use among all-comers undergoing coronary stenting and the related short- and long-term risks of therapy. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Occupational Health / 12.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rasmus Rørth MD From Department of Cardiology Rigshospitalet University of Copenhagen, Denmark MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Heart failure is considered to be one of the most common, costly, disabling and deadly medical conditions and is thus a major health care problem. The ability to maintain a full-time job addresses a vital indirect consequence and cost of heart failure, beyond the usual clinical parameters such as mortality and hospitalization. Ability to work is more than just another measure of performance status. As well as its financial importance, employment is crucial for self-esteem and quality of life in patients with chronic illness. Obtaining information on labour force inclusion should, therefore, shed light on an unstudied consequence of heart failure and provide a novel perspective on the impact of heart failure on the lives of those who, perhaps, have most to lose from this condition. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Pharmacology / 06.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Xiaoxi Yao, PhD, MPH, MS Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia requiring treatment, affecting 3-6 million Americans. AF is associated with a 5 fold risk of stroke, which can be substantially reduced by oral anticoagulants. For over a half century, warfarin was the only option for long-term oral anticoagulation in the U.S., but the use of warfarin can be cumbersome. Warfarin has numerous interactions with food and other drugs, and requires regular lab testing and dose adjustment. Since 2010, four non–vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs) have been approved by the FDA. In comparison to warfarin, the fixed-dosage NOACs provide more convenient therapeutic options and demonstrated at least equivalent efficacy and safety in large phase III clinical trials. However, the outcomes achieved in idealized clinical trial settings may not necessarily translate to routine clinical practice. In this large cohort of patients with nonvalvular AF, we assessed the real-world effectiveness and safety of three NOACs (dabigatran, rivaroxaban, and apixaban), comparing each agent with warfarin. We found apixaban was associated with lower risks of both stroke and major bleeding, dabigatran was associated with similar risk of stroke but lower risk of major bleeding, and rivaroxaban was associated with similar risks of both stroke and major bleeding in comparison to warfarin. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Lipids / 28.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Johan Frostegård MD PhD Professor of medicine Karolinska Institutet's Institute of Environmental Medicine and Consultant at Karolinska University Hospital's Emergency Clinic MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Statins are one of the worlds most sold medications, which has generated large profits, but also, in my opinion, helped many people. Still, side effects are much discussed after more than 2 decades of use, as exemplified by a current debate between Lancet and BMJ (the former has the opinion that side effects are not major issues, but the latter do not agree). Also the exact role of LDL (low density lipoprotein, also known as the ”bad cholesterol”) as a risk factor is discussed, and can vary, according to many researchers. LDL levels are important among middle aged persons, especially men, as a risk markers for cardiovascular disease, especially myocardial infarction. LDL is most likely less important as a risk factor in individuals above 60 years of age, and also among women – as compared to middle aged men. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Heart Disease / 19.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Islam Elgendy, MD Cardiology Fellow University of Florida MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The optimal systolic blood pressure target in adults with coronary artery disease is not well known. The Eighth Joint National Committee Panel recommended a target therapeutic goal <150 mm Hg for adults aged ≥60 years and <140 mm Hg in those aged <60 years. These recommendations are inconsistent with the different society guidelines (such as American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology, European Society of Cardiology, and American Society of Hypertension) which recommended a therapeutic target < 140 mm Hg. Given that the dyad of hypertension and coronary artery disease is the most prevalent chronic disease dyad among adults, we aimed to assess the long term risk of all-cause mortality with the different systolic blood pressure targets. Using the extended follow-up data from the US cohort of the INVEST trial, we demonstrated that achieving a systolic blood pressure of 130 to <140 mm Hg in the initial 2-3 years of treatment is associated with reduced all-cause mortality after ≈11.6 years of follow-up in hypertensive patients with coronary artery disease. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Endocrinology, Heart Disease, Thyroid Disease / 17.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Layal Chaker, MD, MSc PhD candidate Department of Endocrinology and Epidemiology Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam, The Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The association of thyroid function with coronary heart disease is well–established but not much was known about the association of thyroid function with sudden cardiac death. We conducted the study with the hypothesis that thyroid hormone levels affect cardiovascular risk factors and therefore could also affect the risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD). We were surprised to see that when we control our analyses for these cardiovascular risk factors, the association of high and high-normal thyroid function with SCD remained similar, suggesting that other pathways could play a role. Thyroid hormone has different effects on the cardiovascular systems and future studies should identify which pathway could be responsible for the increased risk of sudden cardiac death with higher thyroid hormone levels. This could lead to better assessment of individual risk and identify possible prevention targets. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Heart Disease / 17.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Holly Mattix-Kramer, MD, MPH Public Health Sciences Medicine, Nephrology Associate Professor Loyola Medicine, Illinois MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The background is that the Systolic Blood Pressure Lowering Intervention Trial (SPRINT) showed that intensive systolic blood pressure lowering reduces all-cause mortality by 27% compared to standard blood pressure lowering among adults age 50 years and older without diabetes or stroke but with high cardiovascular disease risk. We applied these findings to the U.S. population and asked "What if intensive systolic blood pressure lowering were applied to the U.S. population who meet SPRINT eligibility criteria? We found that approximately 18.1 million U.S. adults meet SPRINT criteria and that their annual mortality rate is 2.2%. If intensive systolic blood pressure lowering reduces all-cause mortality by 27%, then the annual mortality rate would be reduced to 1.6% and approximately 107,500 deaths would be prevented each year. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Hospital Readmissions, Outcomes & Safety / 09.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sheila Eckenrode, RN, CPHQ Project Manager Medicare Patient Safety Monitoring System (MPSMS) Qualidigm MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We sought to investigate the association at the hospital-level between 21 in-hospital adverse event rates and both mortality and readmission rates for Medicare Fee-For-Service patients with AMI. We used data from the Medicare Patient Safety Monitoring System (MPSMS), the nation's largest randomly selected hospital medical record-abstracted patient safety database, and data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which includes hospital performance on mortality and readmissions for over 4,000 Medicare-certified hospitals, to assess the association between hospital performance on patient safety and hospital performance on 30-day all-cause mortality and readmissions for Medicare fee-for-service patients discharged with AMI. We found that hospital performance on patient safety is associated with hospital performance on mortality and readmission rates for AMI. Hospitals with poorer patient safety performance are likely to have higher 30-day all-cause mortality and readmission rates for these patients. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Hospital Readmissions, Surgical Research / 31.08.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jason H. Wasfy, MD, MPhil Assistant Medical Director, Massachusetts General Physicians Organization Director of Quality and Analytics Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Reducing preventable readmissions after PCI is a way to both improve the quality of care for our patients and improve value for patients with coronary artery disease. Through a variety of tactics, we were able to reduce the 30 day readmission rate for patients after PCI by nearly half. Keep in mind that this is only the readmission rate to our hospital, so we will need to confirm these results with data including patients who may have been readmitted to other hospitals after a PCI at Mass General. (more…)
AHA Journals, Anemia, Author Interviews, Hematology, Stroke / 30.08.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Raphae Barlas M.A 3rd year MBChB student The Institute of Applied Health Sciences Aberdeen MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Anemia and stroke are both common conditions. While previous studies have found an association between anemia on admission and increased mortality in stroke patients, this was not consistent throughout the literature. We aimed to comprehensively assess this association by conducting our own observational study, consisting of 8000 patients from UK regional stroke registry data. We then aggregated our findings into a systematic review and meta-analysis of the existing literature for a total study population of approximately 30,000 patients. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Emory, Heart Disease / 25.08.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alvaro Alonso, MD, PhD Associate Professor Department of Epidemiology Rollins School of Public Health Emory University Atlanta, GA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is a major public health problem. Each year, 300,000-400,000 Americans experience SCD and, in more than half of these cases, sudden cardiac death is the first manifestation of heart disease. To date, however, we lack effective strategies to identify those at higher risk of developing sudden cardiac death so targeted preventive strategies can be applied. In this study, we develop and validate the first model for the prediction of SCD in ~18,000 adults without a prior history of cardiovascular disease. We show that information on demographic variables (age, sex, race), some traditional cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, elevated blood pressure, diabetes, HDL cholesterol) as well as some factors more specifically related to SCD causes (electrocardiogram QT interval) and novel biomarkers (albumin, potassium in blood, kidney function) can be leveraged to predict risk of SCD and identify individuals more likely to suffer this event. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 20.08.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lu Qi, MD, PhD HCA Regents Distinguished Chair and Professor Director,Tulane University Obesity Research Center Department of Epidemiology Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine 1440 Canal Street, Suite 1724 New Orleans, LA 70112 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Gallstone disease has been related to various risk factors of cardiovascular disease, and several previous studies suggest potential link between gallstone disease and heart disease. Our study, for the first time, provide consistent evidence for the association between gallstone disease and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, Omega-3 Fatty Acids / 02.08.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Raymond Y. Kwong, MD MPH Director of Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging Associate Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In the past several decades, Omega-3 fatty acids (O3FA) primarily from fish oil have been reported to have many beneficial effects, either directly on the heart or through other effects that indirectly help the heart. However, when it was tested on patients who suffered an acute heart attack by looking at whether patients can live longer by taking omega-3 fatty acids early after the heart attack, there has been some conflicting data in some of the large clinical trials. There are several major factors that inspired the designs of the current OMEGA-REMODEL study: a) Over recent years, many highly effective treatments to improve the survival of heart attack victims have become routine. b) The studies in the past used a relatively lower dose of  Omega-3 fatty acids (1g per day). c) Some have also raised the question whether just patient mortality should be the only/best way we should considered in assessing new treatments for heart attack patients. d) Cardiac remodeling: after a heart attack, heart muscle not damaged by the initial heart attack insult has to overwork to compensate for the damage from the heart attack. Over time scarring may form in the overworked heart muscle, in addition to weakened heart function, may lead to the heart to fail. e)New imaging method: a MRI of the heart, can precisely determine the heart function and the amount of scarring of the overworked heart muscle not damaged from the heart attack. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Cannabis, Pulmonary Disease, UCSF / 27.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Matthew L. Springer, Ph.D. Professor of Medicine Division of Cardiology University of California, San Francisco San Francisco, CA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We've known for many years that secondhand smoke from tobacco cigarettes is harmful, and the vast majority of deaths thought to result from secondhand smoke are from cardiovascular disease. However, very little has been known about cardiovascular consequences of exposure to secondhand smoke from marijuana, and people tend to mistake the lack of evidence that it is harmful, for evidence that is it not harmful. As a result, many people seem relatively unconcerned about smoking marijuana and being exposed (or exposing others) to marijuana secondhand smoke. Politicians and policy makers also seem less willing to limit where people can smoke marijuana (under legal circumstances) than tobacco. What has been lacking is research into how exposure to marijuana smoke affects cardiovascular health. It has been difficult to do such experiments because marijuana is illegal in the eyes of the federal government. However, we have been studying the harmful effects of secondhand tobacco smoke on the function of rat blood vessels, which is similar to its harmful effects on human blood vessels, and we now have studied how the function of rat blood vessels is affected by exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Gender Differences, Heart Disease / 27.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Andrea K. Chomistek, MPH, ScD Assistant Professor Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics School of Public Health Indiana University-Bloomington MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  Response: Previous studies of exercise and  coronary heart disease have been primarily conducted in middle-aged and older adults, so we thought it was important to examine this association in younger women as mortality rates in young women have not declined in recent years like they have in other age groups. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Stroke, Tobacco Research / 23.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joni Valdemar Lindbohm, MD Department of Public Health University of Helsinki, Finland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Approximately 1-6% percent of people carry an unruptured intracranial aneurysm but most of these never rupture during lifetime and cause subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). In SAH, the rupture of an aneurysm causes bleeding into the lining between the brain’s surface and underlying tissue. Despite advances in operative techniques, SAH can lead to death in up to 45% of the cases. Because life style risk factors are critical in development of subarachnoid hemorrhage, it is important to characterize the risk factor profile of those with an elevated risk. Widely accepted risk factors for SAH are increasing age, smoking, hypertension and female sex. However, the reasons for an elevated risk in women have remained uncovered and the effect of smoking habits are not well understood. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Heart Disease / 22.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jari Laukkanen MD, PhD Cardiologist Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition University of Eastern Finland Kuopio Finland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In this population-based study we found a strong inverse association between long-term change in directly measured cardio-respiratory fitness (CRF), using maximal oxygen uptake (VO2peak) and all-cause mortality. A small decrease in CRF over 11-years was associated with a lower risk of all-cause death in a graded fashion. The observed association was independent of risk factors. This population-based study with repeated and direct assessment of CRF using a very similar time-interval for all participants, whereas some previous studies showing the value of CRF were constructed on participants referred to exercise testing at varying time-intervals between two repeated tests using only indirect cardio-respiratory fitness assessment or other exercise scores. Cardiorespiratory fitness was assessed at baseline and follow-up using respiratory gas analyzer which is a golden standard for assessing aerobic fitness level. A single assessment of CRF predicts outcomes, however, no previous studies using directly measured VO2max have shown the association between long term changes in VO2max (i.e. 10 years) and its association with mortality. In the recent study VO2max defined from respirator gases with similar time-interval between two separate assessments of VO2max (=directly measured). This is a very novel finding in the field of exercise sciences, as well as in cardiovascular prevention and rehabilitation. Although cardio-respiratory fitness is recognized as an important marker of functional ability and cardiovascular health, it is currently the major risk factor that is not routinely and regularly assessed in either the general or specialized clinical setting, although it is suggested that an individual’s CRF level has been even a stronger or similar predictor of mortality than the traditional risk factors, including smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes mellitus. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 18.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Seamus Kent, MSc, Research Fellow and Borislava Mihaylova, MSc DPhil, Associate Professor Health Economics Research Centre, Nuffield Department of Population Health University of Oxford, UK MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Niacin lowers the LDL cholesterol and increases the HDL cholesterol and it was hoped this would translate into reduced risks of vascular events. This hypothesis was assessed in the Heart Protection Study 2 – Treatment of HDL to Reduce the Incidence of Vascular Events (HPS2-THRIVE) trial in which over 25,000 adults aged 50 to 80 years with prior cardiovascular disease were randomised to either niacin-laropiprant or placebo, in addition to effective LDL-cholesterol lowering therapy, and followed for about 4 years. Previously published results from the study demonstrated that niacin-laropiprant did not significantly reduce the risk of major vascular events but did significantly increase the risk of various adverse events including infections, bleeding, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, skin, and diabetes-related events. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, CDC, Heart Disease / 11.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Suzanne Meredith Gilboa, PhD Epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Because of advancements in care, there has been a decline in mortality from congenital heart defects (CHD) over the last several decades. However, there are no current empirical data documenting the number of people living with CHD in the United States (US). The purpose of this study was to estimate the  congenital heart defects prevalence across all age groups in the US for the year 2010. Using prevalence data from Québec, Canada in the year 2010 as a foundation for a mathematical model, we estimated that approximately 2.4 million people (1.4 million adults, 1 million children) were living with CHD in the US in the year 2010. Nearly 300,000 subjects had severe CHD. Overall, there was a slight predominance of females compared to males. (more…)