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The Lead

CT Measures Potentially Dangerous Arterial Plaque in Diabetic Patients

April 22, 2014 3:04 pm | News | Comments

Imaging of the coronary arteries with computed tomography angiography provides an accurate assessment of arterial plaque and could have a dramatic impact on the management of diabetic patients who face a high risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular events, according to a new study.

Lab Turns Skin Cells into Human Airway Tissue

April 22, 2014 12:25 pm | News | Comments

Using reprogrammed skin cells, researchers have for the first time used stem cell techniques to...

Watermelon Could Lower Blood Pressure

April 3, 2014 12:00 pm | News | Comments

Be sure to pick up a watermelon—or two—at your local grocery store. It could save your life...

Early Cardiac Risks Linked to Worse Cognitive Function in Middle Age

April 1, 2014 1:39 pm | News | Comments

Young adults with such cardiac risk factors as high blood pressure and elevated glucose levels...

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New Human Trial Shows Stem Cells are Effective for Failing Hearts

March 31, 2014 2:55 pm | News | Comments

Patients with severe ischemic heart disease and heart failure can benefit from a new treatment in which stem cells found in bone marrow are injected directly into the heart muscle, according to research presented at the American College of Cardiology's 63rd Annual Scientific Session.

Relaxed Blood Pressure Guidelines Cut Millions from Needing Medication

March 31, 2014 2:20 pm | News | Comments

New guidelines that ease the recommended blood pressure could result in 5.8 million U.S. adults no longer needing hypertension medication. The findings are the first peer-reviewed analysis to quantify the impact of guidelines announced in February by the Eighth Joint National Committee. In a divisive move, the committee relaxed the blood pressure goal in adults 60 years and older to 150/90, instead of the previous goal of 140/90.

Newly Designed Gel Allows for Targeted Therapy After Heart Attack

March 31, 2014 1:25 pm | News | Comments

Combating the tissue degrading enzymes that cause lasting damage following a heart attack is tricky. Each patient responds to a heart attack differently and damage can vary from one part of the heart muscle to another, but existing treatments can’t be fine-tuned to deal with this variation. Penn researchers have developed a way to address this problem via a material that can be applied directly to the damaged heart tissue.

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Married People Less Likely to Have Cardiovascular Problems

March 28, 2014 2:08 pm | News | Comments

Analysis of surveys of more than 3.5 million American men and women, administered at some 20,000 health centers across the country—believed to be the largest analysis of its kind ever performed—found that married people, regardless of age, sex, or even cardiovascular risk factors, had significantly less chances of having any kind of cardiovascular disease than those who were single, divorced or widowed.

Study Finds Many Preteens Have High Cholesterol

March 28, 2014 9:20 am | by Marilynn Marchione - AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

There's fresh evidence that a lot of young people could be headed for heart trouble. A large study of preteens in Texas found that about one-third of them had borderline or high cholesterol when tested during routine physical exams. The results seem to support recent guidelines that call for every child to have a cholesterol test between 9 and 11.

Researcher Invents ‘Mini Heart’ to Help Return Venous Blood

March 27, 2014 2:16 pm | Videos | Comments

George Washington University researcher Narine Sarvazyan, PhD, has invented a new organ to help return blood flow from veins lacking functional valves. A rhythmically contracting cuff made of cardiac muscle cells surrounds the vein acting as a 'mini heart' to aid blood flow through venous segments. The cuff can be made of a patient’s own adult stem cells, eliminating the chance of implant rejection.

Heart Responds Differently to Exercise in Men, Women

March 27, 2014 12:20 pm | News | Comments

The formula for peak exercise heart rate that doctors have used for decades in tests to diagnose heart conditions may be flawed because it does not account for differences between men and women, new research says.            

Cholesterol Levels Vary by Season, Worsen in Colder Months

March 27, 2014 12:15 pm | News | Comments

Cholesterol levels fluctuate based on the time of year with more unfavorable lipid profiles seen in the colder months, a trend that may be driven by related behavior changes, according to new research.               

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Researchers Present Comprehensive “Roadmap” of Blood Cells

March 26, 2014 2:30 pm | News | Comments

Research published online in Blood presents an unprecedented look at five unique blood cells in the human body, pinpointing the location of key genetic regulators in these cells and providing a new tool that may help scientists to identify how blood cells form and shed light on the etiology of blood diseases.

Microfluidic Device with Artificial Arteries Measures Drugs’ Influence on Blood Clotting

March 25, 2014 1:15 pm | News | Comments

A new microfluidic method for evaluating drugs commonly used for preventing heart attacks has found that while aspirin can prevent dangerous blood clots in some at-risk patients, it may not be effective in all patients with narrowed arteries. The study, which involved 14 human subjects, used a device that simulated blood flowing through narrowed coronary arteries to assess effects of anti-clotting drugs.

Genome-wide Association Studies Mislead on Cardiac Arrhythmia Risk Gene

March 21, 2014 1:15 pm | News | Comments

Although genome-wide association studies have linked DNA variants in the gene SCN10A with increased risk for cardiac arrhythmia, efforts to determine the gene's direct influence on the heart's electrical activity have been unproductive. Now, scientists have discovered that these SCN10A variants regulate the function of a different gene, SCN5A, which appears to be the primary gene responsible for cardiac arrhythmia risk.

Building Heart Tissue that Beats

March 19, 2014 11:59 am | News | Comments

When a heart gets damaged, such as during a major heart attack, there’s no easy fix. But scientists working on a way to repair the vital organ have now engineered tissue that closely mimics natural heart muscle that beats, not only in a lab dish but also when implanted into animals.

Cardiologists Define New Heart Failure Symptom: Shortness of Breath While Bending Over

March 19, 2014 10:56 am | News | Comments

UT Southwestern Medical Center cardiologists have defined a novel heart failure symptom in advanced heart failure patients: shortness of breath while bending over, such as when putting on shoes. The condition, which UT Southwestern cardiologists named “bendopnea,” is an easily detectable symptom that can help doctors diagnose excessive fluid retention in patients with heart failure.

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Breaking News: Dark Chocolate Health Mystery Solved

March 18, 2014 2:30 pm | News | Comments

The health benefits of eating dark chocolate have been extolled for centuries, but the exact reason has remained a mystery. Now, researchers are reporting that certain bacteria in the stomach gobble dark chocolate and ferment it into anti-inflammatory compounds that are good for the heart. 

New Evidence Raises Questions About the Link Between Fatty Acids and Heart Disease

March 18, 2014 2:27 pm | News | Comments

A new study raises questions about current guidelines which generally restrict the consumption of saturated fats and encourage consumption of polyunsaturated fats to prevent heart disease. Researchers analyzed existing cohort studies and randomized trials on coronary risk and fatty acid intake. They showed that current evidence does not support guidelines that restrict the consumption of saturated fats in order to prevent heart disease.

Novel Approach Finds New Gene Linked to Heart Attack Risk

March 17, 2014 11:56 am | News | Comments

Scientists have discovered a previously unrecognized gene variation that makes humans have healthier blood lipid levels and reduced risk of heart attacks- a finding that opens the door to new testing or treatment of high cholesterol and other lipid disorders.

Major ‘Third-hand Smoke’ Compound Causes DNA Damage

March 17, 2014 11:43 am | News | Comments

Scientists are reporting that one compound from “third-hand smoke,” which forms when second-hand smoke reacts with indoor air, damages DNA and sticks to it in a way that could potentially cause cancer.              

Study to Test 'Chocolate' Pills for Heart Health

March 17, 2014 2:16 am | by Marilynn Marchione - AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

It won't be nearly as much fun as eating candy bars, but a big study is being launched to see if pills containing the nutrients in dark chocolate can help prevent heart attacks and strokes.                 

Post-heart Attack Biological Events Provide Cardioprotection

March 13, 2014 2:50 pm | News | Comments

Heart attack and stroke are among the most serious threats to health. But novel research at UT Southwestern Medical Center has linked two major biological processes that occur at the onset of these traumatic events and, ultimately, can lead to protection for the heart.

Researchers Find Reason Why Many Vein Grafts Fail

March 13, 2014 2:40 pm | News | Comments

NIH researchers have identified a biological pathway that contributes to the high rate of vein graft failure following bypass surgery. Using mouse models of bypass surgery, they showed that excess signaling via the Transforming Growth Factor Beta (TGF-Beta) family causes the inner walls of the vein become too thick, slowing down or sometimes even blocking the blood flow that the graft was intended to restore.

Heart Scans Only Useful in Prescribing Statins Under Certain Conditions

March 13, 2014 1:55 pm | News | Comments

As long as inexpensive statins, which lower cholesterol, are readily available and patients don’t mind taking them, it doesn’t make sense to do a heart scan to measure how much plaque has built up in a patient’s coronary arteries before prescribing the pills, according to a new study.

Inadequate Sleep Predicts Risk of Heart Disease, Diabetes in Obese Adolescents

March 6, 2014 2:16 pm | News | Comments

Obese adolescents not getting enough sleep? A new study shows they could be increasing their risk for developing diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Lack of sleep and obesity have been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in adults and young children. However, the association is not as clear in adolescents.

Researchers Find Protein ‘Switch’ Central to Heart Cell Division

March 5, 2014 12:50 pm | News | Comments

In a study that began in a pair of infant siblings with a rare heart defect, Johns Hopkins researchers say they have identified a key molecular switch that regulates heart cell division and normally turns the process off around the time of birth. Their research, they report, could advance efforts to turn the process back on and regenerate heart tissue damaged by heart attacks or disease.

Researchers Create Coating Material to Prevent Blood Clots Associated with Implanted Devices

March 3, 2014 11:40 am | News | Comments

A team of researchers developed a material that could help prevent blood clots associated with catheters, heart valves, vascular grafts and other implanted biomedical devices. Blood clots at or near implanted devices are thought to occur when the flow of nitric oxide, a naturally occurring clot-preventing agent generated in the blood vessels, is cut off. When this occurs, the devices can fail.

Artificial Muscles That Do the Twist

February 27, 2014 1:55 pm | Videos | Comments

In the heart, as in the movies, 3D action beats the 2D experience hands down. In 3D, healthy hearts do their own version of the twist. Rather than a simple pumping action, they circulate blood as if they were wringing a towel. The bottom of the heart twists as it contracts in a counterclockwise direction while the top twists clockwise. Scientists call this the left ventricular twist—and it can be used as an indicator of heart health.

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