Culture

ROCHESTER, Minn. - Mayo Clinic has identified a new benefit of social media and online networking: a novel way to study rare diseases. Through patient-run websites dedicated to heart conditions and women's heart health, a team of cardiologists led by Sharonne Hayes, M.D., is reaching out to survivors of spontaneous coronary artery dissection, also known as SCAD, a poorly understood heart condition that affects just a few thousand Americans every year.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — It's not how old but how frail patients are that can predict how well they will fare after a melanoma diagnosis. In fact, young patients in poor health may have worse outcomes than older patients in good shape.

A new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center finds that patients with decreased core muscle density were more likely to see their cancer spread to distant parts of the body.

Results of the independently-funded Bern-Rotterdam cohort study provide robust evidence of an "important" reduction in overall and very late stent thrombosis. The reduction in incidence was found when a newer generation everolimus-eluting stent (EES) was compared with early generation drug-eluting stents (DES) at long-term follow-up.

A randomised multicentre open-label study evaluating the efficacy and safety of prolonged antiplatelet therapy in patients with coronary disease has found that 24 months' duration of dual therapy is no better than six months DAPT in preventing adverse cardiac events.

Acute myocardial Infarction (AMI) is a major cause of death and disability. Worldwide, one in eight patients die of an ischemic heart disease. Its rapid and accurate diagnosis is critical for the initiation of effective evidence based medical management, including early revascularization, but is still an unmet clinical need. The gradual implementation of high-sensitive cardiac troponins (hs-cTnT) in clinical practice has helped clinicians to detect and treat patients with acute myocardial infarction earlier than with conventional assays.

Because of improved management at the acute stage, the risk of dying in hospital after a heart attack has decreased by about 50% in the past 10 years. Likewise, the prescription of recommended medications when patients leave hospital, has resulted in improved survival and fewer recurrent heart attacks. One of the challenges is now to try and further decrease long-term mortality in patients who leave the hospital on "optimal" medical therapy (i.e. who are prescribed all the recommended medications).

Although medication which decreases the risk of angina attacks are frequently prescribed in patients who have sustained a myocardial infarction, the possible influence of medication on long-term survival is not known, with the exception of beta-blocking agents, which have been shown to decrease mortality in clinical trials performed 30 years ago.

Because antianginal drugs also protect the myocardium against ischemia (insufficient oxygen delivery to the heart muscle), there is a possibility that they may improve the prognosis of patients having suffered a heart attack.

With the increased prevalence of chronic heart failure (HF), there is a concomitant increase in the number of related hospitalisations; as chronic HF progresses, the risk of acute exacerbation increases.

Registries and surveys of HF have been generally conducted in patients with either chronic or acute conditions, but a description of the whole clinical history of patients with HF, including the acute episodes, consequent changes in clinical conditions and management strategies, have not been available.

Results presented today from the Atrial Fibrillation Ablation Pilot Study show that almost 40% of patients undergoing a catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation have no underlying disease associated with the arrhythmia, and precipitating factors are rare. The survey, which is a pilot survey from the ESC's EurObservational registry programme, also confirmed that symptoms are present in 86% of patients but vary considerably; symptoms include palpitations, fatigue, and shortness of breath or dizziness.

Primary PCI is the best reperfusion therapy for patients presenting with acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction. CJ Terkelsen and co-workers used the Western Denmark Heart Registry to describe the implementation of primary PCI in Denmark. Their study (including almost 10,000 patients) showed that a strategy with early diagnosis based on ECG recording in the ambulance and directing the patients straight to the catherization laboratory in the Primary PCI Centre, was associated with a lower mortality.

DURHAM, N.C.—Inserting intra-aortic balloon pumps prior to angioplasty in patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) does not reduce the scope of heart muscle damage, a condition referred to as infarct size, according to a new study conducted by Duke University Medical Center researchers.

The findings were published online today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), and presented at the European Society of Cardiology in Paris, France.

As Canada's population continues to age it could lead to skyrocketing health care costs and doctor shortages - but that concern may be greatly exaggerated, according to two studies by researchers from the University of British Columbia.

The research, by health economists at UBC's Centre for Health Services and Policy Research (CHSPR) in Healthcare Policy pointed to other factors that are driving up costs: greater use of specialists, more diagnostic tests for the elderly, and increased consumption of increasingly expensive drugs.

In Jerusalem and Judah, ancient limestone burial boxes called ossuaries are fairly common archaeological finds, even from as far back as the 1st century B.C.

Since there is money in antiquities, forgers have also added inscriptions or decorations to fraudulently try and increase their value so when the Israel Antiquities Authority confiscated an ossuary with a rare inscription from antiquities looters three years ago, they turned to Prof. Yuval Goren of Tel Aviv University's Department of Archaeology to authenticate it.

Experts agree that financial constraints and an aging population will require America to modify its Social Security system, but some also find that pushing back the eligibility age could be a major concern for those who rely on the program the most. The consequences — both positive and negative — of making the country's seniors wait to start claiming benefits are presented in the latest installment of the Public Policy & Report (PPAR) from the National Academy on an Aging Society, the policy institute of The Gerontological Society of America (GSA).

Results from the STOP-VT Study (Study to Obliterate Persistent Ventricular Tachycardia) were presented at the ESC Congress 2011 today. This is the first ever multi-center, global, prospective trial to evaluate a Remote Magnetic Navigation (RMN) system 1 for the treatment of ischemic Ventricular Tachycardia. The multi-center study was conducted at Na Holmoce Hospital (Prague), Hospital of University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, USA), Methodist Hospital (Indianapolis, USA), and Herzentrum Leipzig GmbH (Germany).