AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Columbia, Compliance, Heart Disease / 17.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ian Kronish, MD, MPH Florence Irving Assistant Professor of Medicine Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health Columbia University Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Kronish: Prior studies have shown that adherence to statins is suboptimal both in patients prescribed statins for primary prevention and in high-risk patients who are prescribed statins to prevent recurrent events. But, to our knowledge, prior studies had not examined the impact of a hospitalization for a myocardial infarction (MI) on subsequent adherence to statins. We wondered whether the hospitalization would serve as a wake-up call that led patients to become more adherent after the MI. At the same time, we were concerned that the physical and psychological distress that arises after a hospitalization for an MI may lead to a decline in statin adherence. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, CT Scanning, Diabetes, Heart Disease / 17.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. David A. Halon MB ChB, FACC, FESC Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. Director, Interventional Cardiology Lady Davis Carmel Medical Center Haifa, Israel MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Prof. Halon: Type 2 diabetics are well known to have more cardiovascular events than non-diabetics but even among diabetics this risk is heterogeneous and some remain at very low risk. It remains uncertain if additional diagnostic modalities over and above clinical risk scores may be helpful in defining which diabetics are at high risk for an adverse event. We performed a study using cardiac CT angiography (CCTA) in 630 type 2 diabetics 55-74 years of age with no history of coronary artery disease to examine if CTA findings would have additional prognostic value over traditional risk scores for cardiovascular or microvascular based events over 7.5 years of follow-up. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Nutrition / 14.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Geng Zong, Ph.D. Research fellow at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, Massachusetts. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The refining process of grains removes most of fiber, minerals, vitamins, polyphenols and alkyl resorcinols that mainly exist in the outer layer of a kernel, thus enriches grains with carbohydrate and energy. Whole grains, on the other hand, are cereal grains or processed cereal grains that contains bran and germ, in addition to the inner most endosperm, as their natural proportions in the kernel. Observational studies have repeatedly linked whole grain intake with major chronic diseases, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer, but findings regarding mortality are inconsistent and have not been quantitatively summarized. By meta-analyzing 14 existing or unpublished prospective cohort studies, our investigation found that whole grain intake is inversely associated with mortality risk from all-causes, CVD, and cancer. Among people with whole grain consumption, estimated all-cause mortality risk was 7% (for 10 grams/day), 16% (for 30 grams/day), 20% (for 50 grams/day), and 22% (for 70 grams/day) lower than people with no whole grain consumption. Similar dose-response relationship was observed for CVD and cancer mortality. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Environmental Risks / 01.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tao Liu Ph.D Guangdong Provincial Institute of Public Health Guangdong Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Hypertension is the most important cause of disability and the leading risk factor for death globally and causes approximately 16.5% of all deaths. Since the 1990s, many epidemiological studies have investigated the associations between air pollution exposure and hypertension, the two most common public health concerns. However, their results remain controversial. Some studies found an association between them, while other studies sowed either no association or an association only for selected pollutants. In order to quantitatively synthesize and interpret these inconsistent and controversial results, here we used a new analysis method (Meta-analysis) to combine results from different previous studies to estimate the overall effect of every air pollutant on hypertension. This is the first study to simultaneously estimate the effects of short-term and long-term exposure to air pollutants on hypertension by meta-analysis. These results could provide more explicit information for policy decisions and clinical use. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Cognitive Issues / 25.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bo (Bonnie) Qin, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Scholar Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey New Brunswick, NJ 08903 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Qin: Preventing or delaying the age-related cognitive decline that typically precedes the onset of dementia is particularly important considering that no effective strategies for dementia treatment have been identified. Vascular conditions such as hypertension are thought to be risk factors for cognitive decline, but important gaps in the literature on this topic remain. Randomized clinical trials of blood pressure-lowering treatments for reducing the risk of cognitive decline or dementia have largely failed to achieve beneficial effects. However, over the past 6 years, scientific evidence has accumulated that blood pressure variability over monthly or yearly visits may lead to greater risk of stroke and small and larger vessel cerebrovascular diseases. They could lead to subsequent changes related to cognitive dysfunction among older adults. We, therefore, hypothesized that blood pressure variability between visits is associated with a faster rate of cognitive function among older adults. (more…)
AHA Journals, Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Cognitive Issues, Stroke / 23.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kazem Rahimi, DM, MSc Oxford Martin School University of Oxford United Kingdom MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Rahimi: Vascular dementia is the second most common cause of dementia and is increasing in prevalence worldwide. Vascular dementia often occurs after stroke and can cause apathy, depression, and a decline in cognitive function, and can eventually result in death. High blood pressure (BP) has been identified as a potential risk factor for the development of vascular dementia. However, previous studies, which have been small in size, have reported conflicting results on the relationship between blood pressure and vascular dementia. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Lancet, Salt-Sodium / 22.05.2016

Salt-SodiumMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof Andrew Mente PhD Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University Hamilton, Canada MedicalResearch.com Editor's Note:  Dr. Mente discusses his Lancet publication regarding salt intake below.  Dr. Mente's findings are disputed by the American Heart Association (AHA).  A statement from the AHA follows Dr. Mente's comments. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof. Mente: Several prospective cohort studies have recently reported that both too little and too much sodium intake is associated with cardiovascular disease or mortality. Whether these associations vary between those individuals with and without high blood pressure (hypertension) is unknown. We found that low sodium intake (below 3 g/day), compared to average intake (3 to 6 g/day), is associated with more cardiovascular events and mortality, both in those with high blood pressure and in those without high blood pressure. So following the guidelines would put you at increased risk, compared to consuming an sodium at the population average level, regardless of whether you have high blood pressure or normal blood pressure. High sodium intake (above 6 g/day) compared to average intake, was associated with harm, but only in people with high blood pressure (no association in people without high blood pressure). (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Columbia, Cost of Health Care / 19.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nathalie Moise, MD, MS Assistant Professor Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health Department of Medicine Columbia University Medical Center New York, NY 10032 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Moise:  Our research aimed to compare the number of lives saved and changes in medical costs expected if intensive blood pressure goals of less than 120 mmHg were implemented in high cardiovascular disease risk patients. In 2014, the 8th Joint National Committee (JNC8) on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure issued new guidelines recommending that physicians aim for a systolic blood pressure (SBP) of 140 mmHg in adults with diabetes and/or chronic kidney disease and 150 mmHg in healthy adults over age 60. The new guidelines represented a major departure from previous JNC7 guidelines recommending SBPs of 130 mmHg and 140, mmHg for these groups, respectively. Under the 2014 guidelines, over 5 million fewer individuals annually would receive drug treatment to lower their blood pressure, compared with the prior 2003 guidelines. Recently, the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) found that having a more intensive systolic blood pressure (SBP) goal of 120 mmHg in patients at high risk for cardiovascular disease reduced both cardiovascular events and mortality by about one quarter, compared with the current goal of 140 mmHg. These recent studies and guidelines have created uncertainty about the safest, most effective and high-value blood pressure goals for U.S. adults with hypertension, but no prior study has compared the cost-effectiveness of adding more intensive blood pressure goals in high cardiovascular disease risk groups to standard national primary prevention hypertension guidelines like JNC8 and JNC7. Our team at Columbia University Medical Center conducted a computer simulation study to determine the value of adding the lower, life-saving  systolic blood pressure goal identified in SPRINT to the JNC7 and JNC8 guidelines for high-risk patients between the ages of 35 and 74 years. (High risk was defined as existing cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, or a 10-year cardiovascular disease risk greater than 15 percent in patients older than 50 years and with a pre-treatment SBP greater than 130 mmHg) (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Lipids / 13.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael Miller, MD, FACC, FAHA Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, Epidemiology & Public Health University of Maryland School of Medicine Staff Physician, Baltimore VAMC Director, Center for Preventive Cardiology University of Maryland Medical Center Baltimore, Maryland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Miller: It has become an article of faith that HDL (the good cholesterol) is an independent risk factor for heart disease. However, previous studies did not examine the importance of HDL after accounting for both LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides (blood fats).  This is important because HDL is associated with LDL and triglycerides. We hypothesized that if HDL is truly an independent risk factor, then low HDL levels in isolation would continue to be linked to an increased risk of heart disease while high HDL levels would continue to protect the heart even if LDL and triglycerides levels were elevated. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Stroke / 12.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lucas Ramirez, M.D Resident Physician | LAC-USC Medical Center USC Keck School of Medicine | Class of 2013  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Ramirez: Prior studies have shown differences in stroke rates in certain geographical regions among age and racial groups. Few studies have analyzed these differences on a national level.  Our study found that nationally, stroke hospitalization have decreased, though among blacks and young age groups, they have increased. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Duke, Geriatrics, Heart Disease, Surgical Research / 03.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jessica J. Jalbert PhD From the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA LASER Analytica New York, NY MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Jalbert: Landmark clinical trials have demonstrated that carotid artery stenting (CAS) is a safe and efficacious alternative to carotid endarterectomy (CEA) for the treatment of carotid artery stenosis. Clinical trials, however, tend to enroll patients that are younger and healthier than the average Medicare patient. We therefore sought to compare outcomes following CAS and CEA among Medicare patients. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Dr. Jalbert: We found that outcomes among real-world Medicare patients undergoing CAS and CEA were similar. While our results were inconclusive due to small sample size, we also found some evidence suggesting that patients over the age of 80 and those with symptomatic carotid stenosis may have better outcomes following carotid endarterectomy than CAS. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Tobacco Research / 28.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tanush Gupta, MD Chief Resident & Instructor of Medicine Department of Medicine New York Medical College & Westchester Medical Center Valhalla, NY  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Gupta: Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of premature death in the United States (U.S.). Approximately one-third of all coronary artery disease related deaths in the U.S. annually can be attributed to cigarette smoking. However, studies from the pre-thrombolytic and thrombolytic eras have shown that mortality in smokers with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) may be lower than in nonsmokers, a phenomenon called the “smoker’s paradox.” The majority of STEMI patients in contemporary practice are treated with primary percutaneous coronary intervention (pPCI). Data on the association of smoking with outcomes in STEMI patients undergoing pPCI are limited and also conflicting as to whether the smoker’s paradox exists in this population. Hence, the purpose of our study was to examine the association of smoking status with in-hospital outcomes in a nationwide cohort of STEMI patients undergoing pPCI, included in the U.S. National Inpatient Sample, over a 10-year time period from 2003 to 2012. Our primary outcome of interest was in-hospital mortality and secondary outcomes were post-procedure hemorrhage, in-hospital cardiac arrest, and average length of stay. Of 985,174 STEMI patients who underwent pPCI in the U.S. over this time period, 438,954 (44.6%) were smokers. Smokers were on an average 8 years younger than nonsmokers and had lower prevalence of most cardiovascular comorbidities. Smoking status was associated with lower risk-adjusted in-hospital mortality (2.0% vs. 5.9%, adjusted OR 0.60, p<0.001), lower incidence of post-procedure hemorrhage (4.2% vs. 6.1%, adjusted OR 0.81, p<0.001) and in-hospital cardiac arrest (1.3% vs. 2.1%, adjusted OR 0.78, p<0.001), and shorter average length of stay (3.5 days vs. 4.5 days, p<0.001). To assess whether younger age of smokers was influencing the association with in-hospital mortality, we also performed an age-stratified analyses in different age groups. The smoker’s paradox largely persisted in age-stratified analyses suggesting that younger age of smokers was not the sole explanation for this paradox. We performed additional assessment for confounding to explore whether the paradoxically lower risk-adjusted in-hospital mortality in smokers with STEMI was driven by differences in baseline demographics and comorbidities between hospitalized smokers and nonsmokers in general. To test for such confounding, we examined the association of smoking with in-hospital mortality in 2 conditions in which this association has not been previously studied – hip fractures and severe sepsis – using similar statistical regression models. In both these study populations, smokers were on average younger than nonsmokers and had lower risk-adjusted in-hospital mortality, but, the paradoxical association in both these conditions was weaker in magnitude than in STEMI patients. Since there is no cogent biological hypothesis to explain the lower mortality in smokers with sepsis or hip fractures, it is likely that the smoker’s paradox in STEMI is also at least partly driven by residual confounding due to inadequate adjustment for the biological effects of age. However, as this paradox was stronger in STEMI patients than in patients with hip fractures or severe sepsis, we believe that additional true biological differences between smokers and nonsmokers with STEMI also contribute to the paradoxically lower in-hospital mortality. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Occupational Health, Radiology / 20.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Maria Grazia Andreassi, PhD Director, Genetics Research Unit, CNR Institute of Clinical Physiology Pisa, Italy MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Over the last 20 years, advances in imaging technology have led to an explosive growth and performance of fluoroscopically-guided cardiovascular procedures, highly effective and often life-saving. However, these procedures requires substantial radiation exposure (e.g. the average effective radiation dose for a percutaneous coronary intervention or an ablation procedure is about 15 mSv, equal to 750 chest x-rays or ~6 years of background radiation) to patients and staff, especially interventional cardiologists and electrophysiologists. In fact, interventional cardiologists and electrophysiologists needs to operate near the patient and the radiation source and accumulate significant lifetime radiation exposure over a long career. The potential hazards of cumulative radiation exposure are the risk of cataract development and cancer induction. Anyway, there is now growing evidence in scientific community of an excess risk for other non-cancer disease even at moderate and low dose levels of ionizing radiation exposure, especially cardiovascular disease and cognitive effects. However, the characterization of health risks of accumulated low-dose radiation is incomplete and largely lacking. Therefore, the purpose of our study was to examine the prevalence of health problems among personnel staff working in interventional cardiology/cardiac electrophysiology and correlate them with the length of occupational radiation exposure. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Diabetes, NIH, Nutrition, OBGYNE / 20.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Cuilin Zhang MD, PhD Senior Investigator, Epidemiology Branch Division of Intramural Population Health Research NICHD/National Institutes of Health Rockville, MD 20852 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Zhang: Hypertension is one of the most prevalent and preventable risk factors for cardiovascular and kidney diseases, and is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. We have previously reported that the cumulative incidence of hypertension for women with a history of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) was 26% higher than those who did not have GDM even 16 years after the index pregnancy. Thus, women with a history of GDM represent a high-risk population for hypertension that could benefit from early prevention. While there is extensive literature on how lifestyle factors may influence blood pressure in the general population, no information is currently available on the role of diet and lifestyle in the development of hypertension specifically in this susceptible population. To address these gaps, we prospectively examined the associations between long-term adherence to three healthy diets with subsequent risk of hypertension among women with a history of gestational diabetes mellitus, specifically the DASH diet, the alternative Mediterranean diet (aMED), and the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI). (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 08.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Luigi Di Biase, MDPhD, FACC, FHRS Section Head Electrophysiology Director of Arrhythmia Services Associate Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine (Cardiology) Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Montefiore Hospital Moses and Weiler Campuses Montefiore-Einstein Center for Heart & Vascular Care Bronx, NY 10467 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Di Biase: The superiority of catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation (AF) over antiarrhythmic drugs (AADS) has been tested and demonstrated in several randomized clinical trial in patients with normal ejection fraction and paroxysmal AF. Only a few studies are available for patients with heart failure and persistent AF. In this multicenter randomized trial we compared the most utilized AAD for heart failure patients to achieve a rhythm control strategy (Amiodarone) vs ablation of atrial fibrillation in patients with heart failure, persistent AF and ICD. Catheter ablation was superior to Amiodarone to achieve long term freedom from AF. In addition patients undergoing ablation had a lower re-hospitalization rate and importantly a lower mortality. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, CDC, Heart Disease / 28.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michele Casper, PhD Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion CDC, Atlanta, GA 3034 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Casper: CDC closely monitors trends in heart disease and this study is the latest in that ongoing effort. Overall, we found substantial disparities in heart disease death rates based on geography, as well as a significant geographic shift in high death rates from heart disease since 1973. Initially, counties with the highest rates were concentrated in the Northeast. By the end of the study period, those high-rate clusters had shifted primarily to southern counties. In addition, our research revealed that the counties with the slowest declines were mostly found in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, while the fastest declines were largely in the northern half of the country. These findings are important because they reveal patterns that are masked at the national level and highlight the importance of examining geography – and the characteristics of where people live – in relation to heart disease mortality rates. The consistent progression southward over the past few decades suggests that the pattern is not random – and could be attributed to geographic differences in community-level prevention and treatment opportunities. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, PTSD / 27.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: S. Marlene Grenon, MDCM, MMSc, FRCSC Associate Professor of Surgery Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery University of California, San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center- Surgical Services San Francisco, CA   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Grenon: In this study, we investigated the impact of PTSD on endothelial function using flow-mediated brachial artery vasodilation. After adjustments for different risk factors and comorbidities, we found that patients with PTSD had worse endothelial function. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Heart Disease, Lipids / 18.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Sarah de Ferranti MD MPH Boston Children’s Hospital Director, Preventive Cardiology Program Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com:  What are the main findings? Dr. de Ferranti: Familial hypercholesterolemia, or FH, is a genetic condition that causes severely elevated cholesterol levels from birth and is a leading cause of early heart attack. It is generally slowly progressive without symptoms until there is serious heart disease in the 3rd and 4th decade of life, making it important to look for it at a young age. Prior to this analysis it was thought that FH affected about 1 in 500 adults. The current study used data from 36,949 adults who took part in the 1999-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and extrapolated to the 210 million U.S. adults aged 20 years and older. We identified cases of probably or definite Familial hypercholesterolemia in our analysis by using a combination of high levels of low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol (considered “bad” because it contributes to plaque buildup in arteries) and early heart disease in a person or close relative. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Heart Disease / 18.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Hannah Gardener, ScD Department of Neurology, Miller School of Medicine University of Miami Miami, FL MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: At the beginning of the study, 1,033 participants in the Northern Manhattan Study (average age 72; 65 percent Hispanic, 19 percent black and 16 percent white), were categorized using the American Heart Association’s “Life’s Simple Seven®” definition of cardiovascular health, which includes tobacco avoidance, ideal levels of weight, physical activity, healthy diet, blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose. The participants were tested for memory, thinking and brain processing speed. Brain processing speed measures how quickly a person is able to perform tasks that require focused attention. Approximately six years later, 722 participants repeated the cognitive testing, which allowed us to measure performance over time. The cardiovascular health factors, which have been shown to predict risk of stroke and myocardial infarction, were then examined in relation to cognitive performance and impairment over time. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, McGill / 14.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr George Thanassoulis MD MSc FRCPC McGill University Health Center and Research Institute Montreal, Quebec, Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Thanassoulis: Currently statins are recommended in most countries worldwide based on 10-yr risk of heart disease but because age is the best predictor of future heart disease this leads to many more older patients being eligible for statins at the expense of younger people.  This means that even young patients with higher levels of low-density cholesterol, a known cause of heart disease, are not eligible for statins until they are much older.  However, waiting for these individuals to become "old enough for treatment" permits their higher LDL  to continue to damage their arteries leading, in some cases, to advanced coronary disease at the time when statins are finally stated.  So we are missing an opportunity to effectively prevent heart disease. What our analysis shows is that we need to consider not just someone's risk of having a heart attack but also whether they would be expected to benefit from statins.  By integrating information from randomized trials we were able to show that there were over 9.5 million Americans who were at low risk (and not eligible for statin therapy) that would have the same absolute benefit as higher risk people who we currently treat.  These patients, as expected, were younger but had higher levels of LDL cholesterol.  We also showed that statin therapy in these individuals would avoid more than 250,000 cardiac events over 10 years.  (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Heart Disease / 14.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Pei-JieChen, Ph.D. Professor of Exercise Science, President of Shanghai University of Sport MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Dr. Pei-JieChen: Traditional Chinese exercises (such as Tai Chi, Qigong, Baduanjin) have been used for 2000 years with great contributions to human health, which are increasingly popular around the world. And traditional Chinese exercise is a low-risk, promising intervention that could be helpful for improving quality of life and depression in patients with cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).However, there appears to be no consensus agreement that traditional Chinese exercises (TCEs) could be effective for CVDs. Therefore, we performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate the effectiveness of Traditional Chinese exercise for patients with CVDs. MedicalResearch: What are the main findings? Dr. Pei-JieChen: The pooling revealed that TCEs could decrease systolic blood pressure by 9.12 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 5.12 mmHg. Patients performing traditional Chinese exercises were also found superior compared with those in the control group in terms of triglyceride, six-minute walk test, Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire results, SF-36 physical function, and Profile of Mood States depression. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, CDC, Sugar / 26.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sohyun Park, PhD Epidemiologist Epidemiology and Surveillance Team Obesity Prevention and Control Branch Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, Georgia  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Park: The 2013 BRFSS provides the most recent state data for this behavior using a short screener which showed that about 1 in 3 adults consumed sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) at least once per day, and SSB intake differed by state and by certain subgroups. The main findings of the study showed the following among the 23 states and DC surveyed the prevalence of adults who consumed sugar-sweetened beverages at least once daily was:
  • Aged 18-24 years (43.3%)
  • Men (34.1%)
  • Non-Hispanic Blacks (39.9%)
  • Unemployed (34.4%)
  • Had less than a high school education (42.4%)
  • Adult sugar-sweetened beverages intake was highest in Mississippi (47.5%), followed by Louisiana (45.5%) and West Virginia (45.2%).
  • The prevalence of  sugar-sweetened beverages intake one or more times per day among younger adults (18–24 years) was 2.3 times the prevalence among the older adults (aged 55 years and older)—43.3% versus 19.1%, respectively.
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, PAD, Surgical Research, University of Pennsylvania / 26.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Grace Wang MD FACS Assistant Professor of Surgery Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Wang: PAD is a major source of morbidity and mortality resulting in functional impairment, limb loss, as well as death. Despite epidemiologic studies which have contributed to our understanding of PAD prevalence and its association with traditional atherosclerotic risk factors, there have been conflicting studies published on the incidence of PAD and differences in treatment outcomes in women versus men. Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are at particularly high risk for PAD. We set out to to define how the incidence of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) in chronic kidney disease (CKD) differs according to sex and age. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Heart Disease, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Women's Heart Health / 26.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Karin H Humphries, MBA, DSc | Scientific Director BC Centre for Improved Cardiovascular Health UBC-HSF Professor in Women's Cardiovascular Health Vancouver, BC Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: Prior studies have shown that among patients with obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD), women have higher short- and long-term mortality rates as compared to men. Furthermore, a few studies have highlighted the existence of ethnic differences in the incidence of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and outcomes following an AMI event. However, the joint contribution of sex and ethnicity on outcomes of patients with obstructive  coronary artery disease remains unknown. Our primary objective was to extend these findings by examining the joint impact of sex and ethnicity on long-term adverse outcomes of all patients with angiographic evidence of obstructive CAD presenting with myocardial ischemia. Our study included a population-based cohort of patients ≥ 20 years of age who underwent coronary angiography for acute coronary syndromes (ACS) or stable angina in British Columbia, Canada with angiographic evidence of ≥ 50% stenosis in any epicardial artery. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Mental Health Research, Women's Heart Health / 26.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Kim Lavoie, Ph.D. CIHR New Investigator, FRQS Chercheur-Boursier Co-Director, Montreal Behavioural Medicine Centre Professor, Dept. of Psychology University of Quebec at Montreal Director, Chronic Disease Research Division, Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montreal Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal Associate Researcher, Montreal Heart Institute Chair, Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine Section Canadian Psychological Association Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Lavoie: We were interested in looking at whether rates of ischemia in men and women were different as a function of whether or not you had pre-existing heart disease (we would expect those with existing heart disease to have more ischemia because it’s a major marker of disease) or a comorbid anxiety or mood disorder (we expected anx/mood disorders would be associated with higher rates of ischemia because they reflect clinical levels of chronic stress, which has been linked to higher rates of ischemia in previous studies). Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Lavoie: Overall, we found that men have higher rates of ischemia than women, and that anxiety or mood disorders overall aren't associated with higher or lower risk of ischemia (in those with or without previously diagnosed heart disease). HOWEVER, what we did find that was interesting and perhaps new, was that if you looked within women, those without previously diagnosed heart disease AND anxiety disorders (which including things like panic disorder and generalized anxiety - panickers and worriers) had higher rates of ischemia compared to those without anxiety disorders. This suggests higher rates of ischemia among women without heart disease, which seems counter-intuitive because you would expect those WITH disease to have more ischemia. The fact that anxiety disorders were present in those without previously diagnosed heart disease - and they were the ones with more ischemia, suggests that these women likely HAD heart disease that just hadn't been diagnosed up yet, and that the reason might have been because of their anxiety disorder, which can mask many symptoms of heart disease because many of them overlap (e.g., fatigue, decreased energy, heart palpitations, sweating, chest discomfort, hyperventilation, and fear/worry). This could lead physicians to misinterpret symptoms of real heart disease as those of anxiety - but this only appears to be the case in women according to our study, suggesting a possible sex/gender bias here. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, Women's Heart Health / 26.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mercedes Sotos Prieto, PhD Research Associate, Department of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA, 02115 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Sotos-Prieto: Given that CVD remains the leading cause of death in the US, the prevention of risk factor development through healthy lifestyle factors, or primordial prevention, is of paramount importance to minimize the long-term risk of CVD. However, the prevalence of these healthy behaviors among US adults remains low. The Healthy Heart Score is a 20-year CVD risk prediction model based on modifiable lifestyle factors and we have shown previously that this score effectively predicted the 20-year risk of CVD in mid-adulthood. Whether this risk score is associated with clinically-relevant CVD risk factors is unknown. Therefore, in this study we analyzed the association between the Healthy Heart Score and incidence of clinical CVD risk factors, including diabetes, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia among 69,505 U.S women in the Nurses’ Health Study II during 20 years of follow-up. The Healthy Heart Score is based on the 9 most critical lifestyle factors that best estimate CVD risk including: current smoking, higher BMI, low physical activity, lack of moderate alcohol consumption, low intakes of fruits, vegetables, cereal fiber, and nuts, and high intakes of sugar-sweetened beverages and red and processed meats. The Healthy Heart Score estimates the 20 –year CVD risk, thus a higher score reflected a higher predictive CVD risk. Over 20 years, we documented 3,275 incident cases of diabetes, 17,420 of hypertension, and 24,385 of hypercholesterolemia. Our main findings showed that women with higher predicted CVD risk based on the Healthy Heart Score (highest quintile vs. lowest) had significantly greater risk of developing each clinical risk factor individually. Specifically, women with a higher predictive CVD risk had an 18-fold higher risk of type 2 diabetes, 5-fold higher risk of hypertension, and 3-fold higher risk of hypercholesterolemia over 20-years. Further, a higher predictive CVD risk was associated with a 53-fold greater risk of developing a high CVD risk profile (defined as the diagnosis of all 3 clinical risk factors) and this association was most pronounced among women who were younger, did not smoke, and had optimal weight (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Heart Disease, University of Pennsylvania, Women's Heart Health / 26.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Robert L. Wilensky MD Director, Interventional Cardiology Research Director, Interventional Cardiology Training Program Professor of Medicine Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Wilensky: We wanted to evaluate whether young women, under the age of 50 years, had an increased risk for recurrent ischemic events after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) compared to young men or older women. Medical Research: What are the main findings?  Dr. Wilensky: Despite having less severe coronary artery disease,  had an increased risk of repeated events, generally need for repeat PCI in either the exact location of the original procedure or within the artery that underwent the procedure. This despite the finding that young women were treated with the same medications as young men. (more…)