Saturday, December 31, 2005

Eggs for Breakfast Aid Weight Control

Eating eggs for breakfast instead of a bagel can reduce hunger and caloric intake both at lunchtime and over the next 24 hours, according to a new study published in the latest issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

The study compared the effects on hunger of two calorically-identical breakfasts, one consisting of two scrambled eggs and two slices of toast with low-calorie jelly, and the other a 3 1/2-inch bagel with cream cheese plus a 3-ounce nonfat yogurt. The study was carried out in 28 overweight individuals, because previous research that found greater satiety from a high-protein breakfast had only tested normal weight individuals.

The researchers found that when participants had eaten the egg breakfast, they consumed significantly less energy not only at lunch on that day, but also throughout the day and the next morning as compared to the bagel breakfast. On average they ate about 163 fewer calories for lunch, 263 fewer calories that day, and 418 fewer calories over a 24-hour period.

Yes, I know this study was partially funded by the American Egg Board, but if we ignored all studies funded by interested parties, we'd see far less published research. One key is to make sure the studies are from good peer-reviewed journals. For example, I like to see this statement in a journal: "Papers are stringently reviewed and only those that report results of novel, timely, and significant research and meet high standards of scientific merit will be accepted for publication. This statement is from the journal that published this article. That's a good start.

Now, back to the study.

A 400 calorie difference? Over a week, you're looking at almost one lb. of weight loss. Now, I'm not recommending that one eat eggs daily. That would be boring. If you've been avoiding eggs and you eat them, say, every fourth day, you lose, according to this study, 10 lbs. a year.

Unhealthy to eat that many? Probably not. The lack of connection between heart disease and egg intake could partially be explained by the fact that dietary cholesterol increases the concentrations of both circulating LDL and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in those individuals who experience an increase in plasma cholesterol following egg consumption (hyperresponders). It is also important to note that 70% of the population experiences a mild increase or no alterations in plasma cholesterol concentrations when challenged with high amounts of dietary cholesterol (hyporesponders). Egg intake has been shown to promote the formation of large LDL, in addition to shifting individuals from the LDL pattern B to pattern A, which is less atherogenic.

Still fear eating eggs? Consider trying omega-3 enriched eggs, usually clearly labeled on the egg carton. When individuals are fed four n-3 PUFA-enriched eggs (omega-3 eggs) a day for 4 weeks, plasma total cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) do not increase significantly. Results of studies to date demonstrate positive effects and no negative effects from consumption of n-3-enriched eggs. Three n-3 PUFA-enriched eggs provide approximately the same amount of n-3 PUFA as one meal with fish. It is recommended that n-3 PUFA-enriched eggs be used as one source of n-3 PUFA to increase individual consumption to meet the current Canadian recommendations.

Oh, and one egg has only 1.5 grams of saturated fat, the villian. Yes, they are high in cholesterol, but cholesterol in food isn't nearly the villain it's been portrayed to be. Eggs are a good source of protein and contain more than a dozen vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc, folate, phosphorous, riboflavin, vitamins A, D, E and B-12. They pack quite a nutritional punch for around 70 calories each. Plus, now it looks like they promote satiety, as well.

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Now, you can subscribe to Pulse of the Heart!

Are you interested in receiving Pulse of the Heart updates in your email once daily? Enter your email address in the "Subscribe!" box to the right and you will receive your daily update. No longer will you have to remember to visit the site. You will get a daily email reminder that will include a link to the new postings.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Medication Reduces Risk Of Heart Irregularities After Cardiac Surgery

Use of the medication amiodarone is associated with one-half the incidence of atrial tachyarrhythmias (rapid, abnormal heart beat) following cardiac surgery, according to a study.

The consequences of these atrial tachyarrhythmias include discomfort or anxiety, stroke, exposure to the risks of tachyarrhythmia treatments, prolongation of hospital stay, and increased health care costs.

"The PAPABEAR trial demonstrates that a 13-day perioperative course of oral amiodarone is an effective, possibly safe, well-tolerated, and widely applicable therapy for the prevention of postoperative atrial tachyarrhythmia after cardiac surgery."

Atrial fibrillation is a commonly encountered arrhythmia following cardiac surgery that is associated with increased morbidity, mortality and longer hospital stays. Since an estimated one in three bypass patients will suffer at least one episode of atrial fibrillation in the days and weeks following surgery, this new study, which does differ from older studies, may offer an opportunity to decrease this post-operative complication.

If you are scheduled for surgery, have your questions ready for your doctor, including a question about complications. Atrial fibrillation will most assuredly be mentioned and you can then ask about medications to reduce the risk.

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Statins - more good news

People with very low levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol who suffer a heart attack or other severe acute cardiac event may benefit from initiating a statin right after the event, a study shows.

Patients hospitalized for an acute cardiac event who had very low LDL cholesterol levels were much less likely to die or experience a second heart attack or stroke at six months, if started on a statin, compared to those patients who were not discharged on statin therapy.

Mean LDL levels on admission to the hospital were 63 milligrams per deciliter -- well below the current treatment goal of less than 70 milligrams per deciliter in high-risk patients.

The findings suggest that patients who present with severe acute heart disease and very low LDL cholesterol "may still derive benefit from statin therapy," the researchers conclude.

Non-lipid effects of statins have been studied for some time. What are the benefits?

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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Farmed or Wild Salmon?

Stick To Wild Salmon Unless Heart Disease Is A Risk Factor, Risk-Benefit Analysis Of Farmed And Wild Fish Shows

On the one hand, farmed salmon has more heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids than wild salmon. On the other hand, it also tends to have much higher levels of chemical contaminants that are known to cause cancer, memory impairment and neurobehavioral changes in children. What's a consumer to do?

Conclusions:

  1. For a middle-aged guy who has had a coronary and doesn't want to have another one, the risks from pollutants in the farmed salmon are minor ones, and the omega-3 benefits him in a way that far outstrips the relatively minor risks of the pollutants. If cautious, consumers with a history of heart disease could choose farmed salmon from Chile for their high omega-3 content and relatively lower level of contaminants. Younger consumers without a history of heart disease should consume farmed fish from Chile no more than about six times a year.
  2. Farmed salmon from North America would be a better second choice than European farmed salmon.
  3. Consumers should not eat farmed fish from Scotland, Norway and eastern Canada more than three times a year.
  4. Farmed fish from Maine, western Canada and Washington state should be consumed no more than three to six times a year.
  5. Wild chum salmon can be consumed safely as often as once a week, pink salmon, Sockeye and Coho about twice a month and Chinook just under once a month.

One suggestion: sardines, smaller in size, contain fewer contaminants.



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Siblings and Heart Disease

A new study shows that having a sibling with heart disease could put you at even greater risk than having a parent with the disease. See the video. (Scroll down to the December 28th listing "Siblings and Heart Disease" and click on the "video" button.)




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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Heart attack, extreme stress, and fear of dying

A substantial number of patients in the initial stages of a heart attack or severe chest pain crisis -- events lumped together as "acute coronary syndrome" or ACS -- experience extreme stress and fear of dying. This can lead to long-lasting depression and anxiety, according to a new study.

One excellent way to treat the symptoms, as indicated in previous studies, is to exercise.

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UPDATE: American Lung Association weighs in

“While we know that air pollution is not the dominant cause of atherosclerotic diseases, these results are consistent with findings that air pollution provokes inflammation, accelerates atherosclerosis, and alters cardiac function,” said lead author C. Arden Pope III, Ph.D., an epidemiologist at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
In an article posted here on December 25th, I included a link to a Washington Post piece stating that the EPA is proposing new national air quality standards for particle air pollution, the first time in eight years that changes will occur. As indicated, this has ramifications for heart disease risk.

Now, The American Lung Association has weighed in on the proposed new standards.

And, they're not happy.

If EPA adopts the standard as proposed, the Agency will have failed the most fundamental task required by the Clean Air Act-to protect public health from one of the major air pollutants. For the first time, EPA will have ignored recommendations from its own staff scientists and from its official outside review panel of scientists; both groups have advised setting a stronger standard than EPA has proposed.

During the coming public comment period, we will wage a vigorous campaign to urge EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson to follow sound science and strengthen this proposal to truly protect public health.

As we have seen, it's not only about your lungs, but your heart, too. Feel free to sign a letter to the EPA.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

More evidence of fiber's benefits

A diet that includes diverse sources of fiber may help prevent several major risk factors for heart disease, a study of French adults suggests.

The study of nearly 6,000 men and women found that the higher the participants' fiber intake, the lower their risk of being overweight or having elevated blood pressure or cholesterol.
The researchers also found that fiber from different sources had somewhat different effects.

  1. Fiber from whole grains - lower weight, blood pressure, and homocysteine.
  2. Fiber from fruit - lower blood pressure, less abdominal fat.
  3. Fiber from vegetables - lower blood pressure and homocysteine
  4. Fiber from nuts, dried fruit, seeds - lower weight, abdominal fat, and blood sugar.

These findings all point to the importance of getting fiber from a variety of sources. The results also suggest that adults would do well to get more than the recommended fiber intake of roughly 25 grams per day. Each 5-gram increase above that was linked to a greater decrease in the risks of being overweight or having high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Where's the fiber? Here's a chart.


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Monday, December 26, 2005

Eat like your ancestors - Up the Potassium!

Though not required, you can now find potassium listed on some food labels. Why?

The FDA, in 2000, after reviewing the research, allowed this
statement: "Diets containing foods that are good sources of potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke."

Foods qualifying for the proposed claim must contain 10 percent or more of the Daily Value for potassium (350 mg) and 140 mg or less of sodium per serving. In addition, qualifying foods must also be low in fat and sodium.

"Our diet is remarkably different from what we evolved on," says Lawrence Appel, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore who has examined potassium's importance in the human diet. "We evolved on a low-sodium, high-potassium diet. Now we eat a high-sodium, low-potassium diet. This flip may be in part responsible for many of the [health] problems that are commonplace today."

"The health effects of potassium have not received much attention, but one of our more interesting findings is that diets rich in potassium not only reduce blood pressure, but also blunt some of the rise in blood pressure that occurs in response to sodium intake. High intakes of potassium also reduce bone loss and can prevent kidney stone recurrence in men and women. We recommend that adults consume a diet that provides an adequate Intake level of 4.7 grams of potassium per day, and that intake be in the form of naturally occurring potassium from fruits, vegetables, and juices."

**It should be noted that an increasing number of individuals in the United States and Canada need to carefully control their potassium intake -- those individuals with known kidney problems and those who are on certain diuretics, such as, spironolactone, or other blood pressure medications, such as ACE inhibitorsand angiotensin receptor blockers. In these individuals, the intake of 4.7 grams may be too high, and they should follow the advice of their health care professionals.

Now, those of you who say, "Sure, I get my potassium each day. I have a banana," should know that you are getting about 1/10 of your required potassium. You can boost your intake easily with potatoes. A large baked potato with skin has 844 mg. of potassium, a medium banana just half that.

So, how about a potato recipe?

Rosemary & Garlic Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes
Serves 4-6

Ingredients
1 3/4 pounds
Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 sprig fresh rosemary, picked


Cooking Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. Place potatoes and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
Roast until dark golden brown, 30 to 45 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of roasting, increase the temperature to 500°, and sprinkle with rosemary.
Remove from oven, and serve.



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Sunday, December 25, 2005

Breathe less if you want to live long?


Mice that were fed a high-fat diet and exposed to air with fine particles had 1.5 times more plaque production than mice fed the same diet and exposed to clean filtered air, according to a Mount Sinai School of Medicine and New York University School of Medicine study.

The study showed that the combination of fine particle pollution and high-fat diet can promote the development of atherosclerosis, and may explain why people who live in highly polluted areas have a higher risk of heart disease. The findings are also important because the fine particle concentrations used in the study were well within the range of concentrations found in the air around major metropolitan areas.

The built-up of plaque in pollution-exposed rats was seen even if they were kept on a low-fat diet.

Among mice given clean air, those on the high-fat diet had greater plaque production and artery wall inflammation than those given the normal diet. These results suggest that both diet and fine particle pollution contributed to the development of atherosclerosis in the mice.

So here's the deal:

  1. Normal diet without pollution - arteries 13.2% obstructed
  2. Normal diet with pollution - arteries 19.2% obstructed
  3. Fatty diet without pollution - arteries 26.2% obstructed
  4. Fatty diet with pollution - arteries 41.5%

(I like the mice studies as variables are controlled.) As you can see, just breathing boosts your risk.

Nearly 90 million Americans are breathing unhealthy air, according to federal officials. This week, the Bush administration proposed a modest tightening of federal air-quality standards yesterday for the first time in eight years, drawing protests from both public health and industry officials.

How does your city stack up? Check it out.

Want to comment? Scroll to the bottom of this link. Get involved.



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Saturday, December 24, 2005

FDA: Barley GOOD for you

Cereals, breads and other products containing whole or milled barley grain can now claim to reduce the risk of heart disease, U.S. health officials said on Friday.

FDA is authorizing food manufacturers to immediately use the health claim for barley and the reduced risk of coronary heart disease through the issuance of an interim final rule. To qualify for the health claim, the barley-containing foods must provide at least 0.75 grams of soluble fiber per serving of the food.

Here's the research that led to the FDA statement.

In the world of grains, barley ranks high as a fiber choice. See how a half-cup serving of cooked pearl barley compares to other typical grains:

Total dietary fiber per ½-cup serving cooked:
Pearl barley – 3 grams
Brown long-grain rice – 1.75 grams
Couscous – 1 gram
White long-grain rice – less than 1 gram

In most grains, fiber is found only in the bran (outer layer) of the kernel. So when most grains are processed, the bran or outer layer is typically removed and the fiber is lost. Barley, on the other hand, contains fiber throughout the entire kernel. This means that a processed barley product (such as flour, flakes or pearl barley made from hulled or covered barley) retains at least 50% of its original fiber content even after the bran is removed.

Hulled barley = whole grain - only the tough, inedible covering removed. Highest in nutrient content and available at Health Food Stores.
Lightly pearled barley = whole grain. Some of healthy bran layer and endosperm left intact. Get the lightly pearled barley, brownish in color, indicating the presence of bran.
Heavily pearled barley appears creamy white to white in color, similar to white rice. Small, fine or baby pearl barley is often used in commercial food production as an ingredient in products such as canned soups. It’s important to note, however, that even very heavily pearled barley retains significant amounts of fiber. Unlike many grains, in which the fiber is only found in the outer bran layer, fiber is found throughout the entire barley kernel. Even heavily pearled products are a good choice for fiber and contribute important whole grain health benefits.

Last night, at a restaurant, I had some good, hot, low fat vegetable soup. However, they could have bumped up the nutritional benefit with some added barley. It sure took that winter chill away.

It's soup season, so here's a simple, healthy,
barley soup recipe:

Easy Barley Vegetable Soup
Servings:
5 servings (2 cups per person)
Preparation Time:
1 hour
Ingredients
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic (finely minced or pressed)
1 Tsp olive oil
6 cups water
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 14 oz can kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
1 10 oz package frozen green beans
2 large carrots (sliced into coins)
1 cup fresh mushrooms (sliced)
1 cup uncooked barley
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Cooking Instructions
Heat oil to sizzle in heavy soup pot or 4 qt saucepan. Cook onion and garlic in oil until tender.
Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil.
Reduce heat to low and simmer 45 to 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve in bowls with hot bread.


This is a set-and-forget soup. It works very well in a slow-cooker or crock-pot, and can be started when you leave for work and it'll be ready to eat when you get home.

To print the recipe:
-highlight the text; right-click on a highlighted area; left-click print; check "selection"; left-click print.

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Friday, December 23, 2005

Closed


After more than 17 years, the Cardiac Enhancement Center in Silver Spring, MD closed, today, Friday. Dec. 23rd. Thanks to all of you who stayed with us to the end and, also, to those who came back to visit in these past few weeks.

Even though members of the C.E.C. family must now go their separate ways, we can continue to meet, here, in cyberland. Please join me and others as we continue on this path of knowledge and community.

Thank you, again, all my C.E.C. friends.









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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Fish oil curbs heart trouble linked to pollution

Daily supplementation with omega-3 fatty acid (fish oil)
prevents a potentially-deadly decline in heart rate variability (HRV)
associated with exposure to indoor air pollution, researchers from
the US and Canada report.

HRV measures the variability in the intervals between heartbeats, with lower variability being associated with higher risks of heart disease and death.

To monitor heart rate variability, patients wear portable heart monitors for 24 hours. Heart rate variability measures how the heart adjusts to varying levels of demand. In people with low heart rate variability, the heart doesn't make adjustments as quickly as needed.

Now, you can get your omega-3s in fish. A study like this one has to use supplements to standardize dose. (The dose in this study was 2 grams per day.) Eating fish is probably the easiest way to get a good dose from diet alone, so here's a link to a list of fish and omega-3 content. The total amount of omega-3s is given for a 3.5 oz. portion of each type of seafood.

As fish oil can thin the blood, talk to your doctor before boosting omega-3 intake significantly.

What about the toxin content of fish oil capsules? Check out this surprising finding.

Finally, a fascinating look into how fish oil may exert its beneficial effect.

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Medicare Cuts

Medicare cuts pass Senate

....The measure also cuts more than $6 billion in spending on Medicare over the next five years, including a $1.2 billion reduction in payments to hospitals. At the same time, it avoids a planned 4.4% cut in doctor payments by pouring $7.3 billion into the program.

Doctors' groups lobbied aggressively for the increase, saying it was needed for them to continue providing services to the elderly. Democrats warned that it would translate to higher payments by those patients because beneficiaries pay 25% of the cost of doctor visits through premiums.


This couldn't have been closer, 51-50. No matter what side you're on, you haven't heard the last of this. In fact, it's just the beginning.

And, for Medcaid Patients:

Now, a family of three earning $16,500 -- income just over the poverty line -- pays $3 to visit the doctor.

Under a bill approved by the House on Monday and the Senate on Wednesday, that co-payment could increase to 10 percent of the visit's cost -- which could mean $20 to $80 to have a cataract removed or $100 for a day in the hospital, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal advocacy group in Washington.


The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the co-payment increases and other Medicaid changes would save state and federal governments money primarily because recipients would forgo treatment rather than pay the higher costs.


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Comments

At this time, you need not register to publish a comment to the blog. You can comment anonymously. Just click the comment link below one of the posts and type away. Then send it on up here. Others would like to hear what you have to say as we learn from each other. No one wants to hear just moi blather on. That would be awful. Got questions? Just post them. If I can't get you an answer, I'm sure someone in the blogging community can.

See you online!
Marcia

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

We're listenin'...but not doin'


Americans consume far too much sodium.

Despite counseling by physicians, Americans still consume far too much sodium, putting them at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, according to a study in the latest issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

People with hypertension took in 3,330 mg of sodium a day, and people without hypertension consumed 3,600 mg a day, far more than the 2,400 mg maximum recommended by the American Heart Association and other groups.

Survey participants were also asked if their doctors had ever advised them about dietary sodium. There was no difference in sodium intake between patients advised about sodium consumption and those not advised.

I must admit that it's so darn hard to cut the sodium intake. However, it can be done. We need to eat more primitively.

"Hunter-gatherer consumption of electrolytes was essentially the inverse of modern
tendencies, with relatively elevated levels of potassium and greatly reduced (by nearly an order of magnitude) intake of sodium.
This observation is explained both by the high potassium content of wild game and uncultivated plants and the fact that hunter-gatherers typically had no access to sodium chloride other than that contained in their primary foods. The relatively high ratio of potassium to sodium contained in the hunter-gatherer diet is significant because it may explain the virtual absence of essential hypertension and age-related elevations in bloodpressure in those groups."

To start this process of cutting sodium and upping the potassium, start with the DASH diet. Note, however, that if your are on an ace inhibitor or angiotensin-receptor blocker, you should up your potassium intake slowly and let your doctor know. These classes cause potassium retention. So, get a routine metabolic panel, also called a blood chemistry, to check your blood potassium level.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Bitter News


GENEVA (AFP) - A strip or two of dark or bitter chocolate may not only bring a touch of seasonal cheer but can also help smokers avoid heart disease, according to Swiss research.

"In my view, dark chocolate can be included as part of an overall heart-healthy diet -- for instance, adequately balancing its calories with a decrease in other desserts and snack foods," said Jeffrey Blumberg, director of the Antioxidants Research Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, in Boston.

Obviously, the darker the better. Always check the label for the cocoa content. You can go to Whole Foods and get non-brand name chocolate with the percentage of cocoa listed. Or, choose a brand name and search the fine print for the amount of cocoa. (Seventy four percent cocoa was used in this study.)

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Monday, December 19, 2005

Expensive blood pressure meds no better for kidneys

For years, experts have claimed that relatively expensive blood pressure drugs such as ACE inhibitors offer special protection against kidney disease.

But a new British study suggests that's not the case -- that the drugs' benefit to kidneys comes only from their ability to reduce blood pressure. They also believe that cheaper antihypertensive medications might work just as well.

Another blow to those practitioners who allow their patients to walk around with high blood pressure, no matter what method they use to medicate. It's time that healthcare providers and their patients take hypertension seriously. Yes, I know it's hard to focus on what is essentially a silent disease, but let's get on with it.

And, don't forget to get a good blood pressure cuff for home use:

Self-monitoring of blood pressure at home leads to better control over high blood pressure than does standard monitoring at the doctor's office, according to a report in the American Journal of Hypertension.

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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Eat more veggies, less red meat to keep BP in check

Consumption of vegetables, fruits, and other plant foods seems to reduce the risk of elevated blood pressure, whereas intake of meat raises the risk, according to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition for December.

Looks like there's more evidence that boosting vegetable intake reduces elevated BP risk. Adjustment for intermediary factors in the causal pathway attenuated these relations, but hey, still good advice, for sure.

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Cardiac Rehabilitation Program to close

The Cardiac Enhancement Center (CEC) of Silver Spring Maryland will close its doors on Friday, December 23rd, 2005.

The heart rehabilitation program, which served the suburban Maryland community for 17 years, has fallen prey to, among other things, cutbacks in reimbursement for its services. However, the CEC community may continue to learn about heart disease prevention and treatment, as well as maintain a line of communication with fellow members, here in cyberspace, at my blog, Pulse of the Heart.

Join me as we continue to explore this fascinating subject. Of course, I also look forward to your contributions and comments. So sign up now and be a part of the community. There's no need to worry about insurance reimbursement, here. It's all free!










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Estrogen Study Flawed

A 2002 study showing that hormone replacement therapy raises the risk of heart disease and breast cancer -- scaring many women away from the drugs -- was fundamentally flawed, according to new research.

"Women are now being told not to take hormones for heart disease prevention, and that may be totally wrong," said Dr. Edward Klaiber, a Worcester, Massachusetts endocrinologist and lead author of the study to be published on Friday in the journal Fertility and Sterility

Here we go again. I think we, the public, are beginning to get tired of having to decipher test results that the mainsteam media may report accurately while, at the same time, they, unfortunately, lack a critical eye as to study significance.

It should be noted, criticism of the original work is not new.

The new review is basically a rehash of previous criticisms, said Dr. Nieca Goldberg, chief of women's cardiac care at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City"It's a critique," she said. "It has no new information."

"Many of these issues were brought up a couple years ago," she added. "In order for them to prove any of these other things -- such as other forms [of HRT] would be better -- they need to do a study." Goldberg said Klaiber's article won't change the way she practices.

Klaiber agreed that more study is needed. He said one study, currently underway, is evaluating the worth of earlier intervention with hormones as a way to protect the heart.

So, what to do, now?

Klaiber said he's convinced that transdermal estrogen, given in patch form, is superior to oral estrogen. "Oral estrogen passes through the liver and stimulates the blood-clotting factors too much, leading to heart attacks," he said. Not every woman who uses oral hormones will get a heart attack, he emphasized, but women who already have cardiovascular problems might be at raised risk.

Until more studies are done on other forms of therapy, Klaiber said, "the best evidence we have comes from the earlier studies." And those include regimens of estrogen and non-continuous progestin, he said.

If you desire estrogen therapy, it might be time to talk to your doctor, again.

_Medication _Heart-General

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Saturday, December 17, 2005

Study heralds new heart treatment

Scientists believe they may have discovered a promising new way to treat heart disease in the future.

A study in rats suggests tiny protein fibres may be used to cut heart attack damage by stopping key cells, called cardiomyocytes, from dying.

A Harvard Medical School study showed injecting tiny fibres laced with a protective chemical into heart muscles kept the rats' organs working normally.

The study is published online by the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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