Archive for November, 2010

SLEEP APNEA, OBESITY - HIGHER RISK FOR AGRESSIVE HEART DISEASE

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Chicago, Ill - November 30, 2010
People with sleep apnea at higher risk for aggressive heart disease.

Joseph Schoepf, M.D
Joseph Schoepf, M.D
Professor of radiology
and medicine and director
of cardiovascular imaging
at the Medical University of
South Carolina in Charleston, S.C.
Photo: muschealth.com

People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a sleep disorder associated with obesity, have more noncalcified or “bad” plaque in their coronary arteries, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

“Our study reveals that individuals with obstructive sleep apnea are prone to developing an aggressive form of atherosclerosis that puts them at risk for impaired blood flow and cardiovascular events,” said Uwe Joseph Schoepf, M.D., professor of radiology and medicine and director of cardiovascular imaging at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, S.C.

OSA is caused by obstruction of the upper airway during sleep and is characterized by periodic pauses in breathing, which last for 10 or more seconds. OSA is also commonly associated with snoring.

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, millions of Americans have OSA, and approximately half of them are overweight. In the study, 49 obese patients, mean age 61, with OSA and a mean body mass index (BMI) of 33, and 46 obese patients without the disorder (mean age of 60 and mean BMI of 30) underwent coronary CT angiography (cCTA), which provides detailed pictures and information on plaque buildup and narrowing in the vessels. The OSA group included 26 men and 23 women, and the matched control group included 22 men and 24 women.

The imaging revealed that the amount of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries was not significantly different between the two groups, but the overall composition of vessel plaque was notably different.

“Compared to the non OSA group, the patients with OSA had a significantly higher prevalence of noncalcified and mixed plaque,” Dr. Schoepf said.

Noncalcified plaque is considered bad plaque, because it is more vulnerable to rupturing and causing a blood clot, which could lead to a heart attack or other cardiovascular event.

Patients with OSA also had a significantly higher prevalence of vessel narrowing and more extensive vessel involvement. Eightyeight percent of OSA patients had narrowing in at least one vessel, compared to 59 percent of non OSA patients. One third of OSA patients had narrowing in four vessels.

“Coronary CT angiography is an effective way to noninvasively diagnose noncalcified and mixed plaque,” Dr. Schoepf said. “With technological advancements that are lowering the radiation dose required for cCTA, this exam could become a screening tool for obese individuals at increased risk for cardiovascular disease.”

>>>>>Read all the latest in our HeartVigor.com News Page.

MCMASTER SCIENTISTS TURN SKIN INTO BLOOD

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

Hamilton, Ontario - November 7, 2010
Making blood from skin does not require the middle step of changing a skin stem cell into a pluripotent stem.

Mick Bhatia
Mick Bhatia
Scientific director of the
McMaster Stem Cell and
Cancer Research Institute
Photo: mcmaster.ca

In an important breakthrough, scientists at McMaster University have discovered how to make human blood from adult human skin.

The discovery, published in the prestigious science journal Nature today, could mean that in the foreseeable future people needing blood for surgery, cancer treatment or treatment of other blood conditions like anemia will be able to have blood created from a patch of their own skin to provide transfusions. Clinical trials could begin as soon as 2012.

Mick Bhatia, scientific director of McMaster’s Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, and his team of researchers have also shown that the conversion is direct. Making blood from skin does not require the middle step of changing a skin stem cell into a pluripotent stem cell that could make many other types of human cells, then turning it into a blood stem cell.

“We have shown this works using human skin. We know how it works and believe we can even improve on the process,” said Bhatia. “We’ll now go on to work on developing other types of human cell types from skin, as we already have encouraging evidence.”

The discovery was replicated several times over two years using human skin from both young and old people to prove it works for any age of person.

John Kelton, hematologist and dean and vice-president of health sciences for McMaster University said: “I find this discovery personally gratifying for professional reasons. During my 30 years as a practicing blood specialist, my colleagues and I have been pleased to help care for cancer patients whose lives were saved by bone marrow transplants. For all physicians, but especially for the patients and their families, the illness became more frustrating when we were prevented from giving a bone marrow transplant because we could not find a perfect donor match in the family or the community. “Dr. Bhatia’s discovery could permit us to help this important group of patients.”

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“CIHR is proud to invest in the excellent research that is being undertaken by Mick Bhatia’s laboratory at the Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute at McMaster University,” said Alain Beaudet, president of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.

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“The Bhatia research effort is building on significant findings in recent years, which have shown that human skin cells can be reprogrammed into pluripotent cells that have the potential to become all cell types. “The pioneering findings published today are the first to demonstrate that human skin cells can be directly converted into blood cells, via a programming process that bypasses the pluripotent stage. Producing blood from a patient’s own skin cells, has the potential of making bone marrow transplant HLA matching and paucity of donors a thing of the past.”

Cynthia Dunbar, MD, Head, Molecular Hematopoiesis Section, Hematology Branch, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

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“Bhatia’s convincing demonstration that skin cells can be directly converted to hematopoietic progenitor cells is exciting and will immediately change the paradigms regarding the best way forward for production of hematopoietic cells to be used in regenerative medicine and in the study of human blood diseases,” said Cynthia Dunbar, head of the molecular hematopoiesis section of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health in the U.S.

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“Bhatia’s approach detours around the pluripotent stem cell stage and thus avoids many safety issues, increases efficiency, and also has the major benefit of producing adult-type l blood cells instead of fetal blood cells, a major advantage compared to the thus far disappointing attempts to produce blood cells from human ESCs or IPSCs.” Christine Williams, PhD, Director of Research, Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, Toronto, ON, Canada.

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“This groundbreaking work from Mick Bhatia’s lab is both fascinating and important. It heralds a new age by discovering a role for ‘directed differentiation’ in the treatment of cancers and other disorders of the blood and immune system,” said Sam Weiss, professor and director of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary.

>>>>>Read all the latest in our HeartVigor.com News Page.

DAILY DOSE OF BEET JUICE PROMOTES BRAIN HEALTH IN OLDER ADULTS

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Winston-Salem, N.C. - November 2, 2010
Researchers for the first time have shown that drinking beet juice can increase blood flow to the brain in older adults - a finding that could hold great potential for combating the progression of dementia.

Daniel Kim-Shapiro
Daniel Kim-Shapiro
Director, Center for Translational
Science in Functional Health
Professor, Department of Physics
Wake Forest University
Photo: ctsfh.wfu.edu

The research findings are available online in Nitric Oxide: Biology and Chemistry, the peer reviewed journal of the Nitric Oxide Society and will be available in print soon.

“There have been several very high-profile studies showing that drinking beet juice can lower blood pressure, but we wanted to show that drinking beet juice also increases perfusion, or blood flow, to the brain,” said Daniel Kim-Shapiro, director of Wake Forest University’s Translational Science Center; Fostering Independence in Aging. “There are areas in the brain that become poorly perfused as you age, and that’s believed to be associated with dementia and poor cognition.”

High concentrations of nitrates are found in beets, as well as in celery, cabbage and other leafy green vegetables like spinach and some lettuce. When you eat high nitrate foods, good bacteria in the mouth turn nitrate into nitrite. Research has found that nitrites can help open up the blood vessels in the body, increasing blood flow and oxygen specifically to places that are lacking oxygen.

In this study, the first to find a link between consumption of nitrate rich beet juice and increased blood flow to the brain, Translational Science Center researchers looked at how dietary nitrates affected 14 adults age 70 and older over a period of four days.

On the first day, the study subjects reported to the lab after a 10 hour fast, completed a health status report, and consumed either a high or low nitrate breakfast. The high nitrate breakfast included 16 ounces of beet juice. They were sent home with lunch, dinner and snacks conforming to their assigned diets.

The next day, following another 10 hour fast, the subjects returned to the lab, where they ate their assigned breakfasts. One hour after breakfast, an MRI recorded the blood flow in each subject’s brain. Blood tests before and after breakfast confirmed nitrite levels in the body.

For the third and fourth days of the study, the researchers switched the diets and repeated the process for each subject.

The MRIs showed that after eating a high nitrate diet, the older adults had increased blood flow to the white matter of the frontal lobes - the areas of the brain commonly associated with degeneration that leads to dementia and other cognitive conditions.

“I think these results are consistent and encouraging - that good diet consisting of a lot of fruits and vegetables can contribute to overall good health,” said Gary Miller, associate professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Science and one of the senior investigators on the project.

To make the sometimes-bitter beet juice tastier - so a greater number of people will drink it and reap its health benefits - the university has worked with a company to create a new beet juice based beverage. The university is currently looking into ways of marketing the beverage.

>>>>>Read all the latest in our HeartVigor.com News Page.

NATURAL EGGSHELL MEMBRANE

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

The newest supplement comes from a little known natural healing remedy.

Natural Eggshell Membrane has been used externally for years to treat many skin and flesh ailments. It is now available for internal use to treat bone and joint conditions.

Eggshell Membrane is the thin tough filmy protein fibers attached to the inside of the eggshell. For treating skin ailments it can be peeled by hand from raw chicken eggs at home.

To make Natural Eggshell Membrane supplements the membrane is harvested from eggs that are used for food additives and commercially sold egg products.

The active ingredients of Eggshell Membrane include hyaluronic acid (HA), chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine. They are a cost effective alternative to steroids and chemical drugs that can interfere with heart health.

External use:
Place the Eggshell Membrane wet side down directly on a cut or scratch to promote healing. A bandage can be placed over top to protect the injury further. The Membrane should be left on at least until it dries to be effective. Eventhough one treatment is usually enough, another application can be made the next day if needed.

The Membrane contains anti microbial substances that speed up healing time with greatly reduced scarring.

Use Eggshell Membranes to remove boils and to heal ingrown toenails. Skin burns will also benefit quite well with a covering of Eggshell Membrane. Other uses include clearing up blackheads and pimples.

Placing the Membrane on a tough to remove splinter will draw it closer to the surface of the skin, enabling you to remove it easier.

Internal use:
Osteoarthritis sufferers have their symptoms significantly reduced with Natural Eggshell Membrane supplements.

Trials have shown that after only 10 days of using a daily 500 milligram capsule of Natural Eggshell Membrane, joint pain and stiffness were greatly reduced. 500 milligrams of Membrane extract was also found to be far superior to 3 doses of 500 milligram of glucosamine and chondroitin in the treatment of osteoarthritis.

Side effects:
As far as safety is concerned, the traditional anti inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and Advil, all have potential side effects. The trade off to reduce pain and inflammation and ease mobility are headaches, stomach pain, diarrhea, or constipation. Anti inflammatory drugs that reduce blood clotting and can also cause bleeding in the stomach and intestines. Not to mention increased events of stroke or heart attack, further cartilage destruction and increased joint deterioration.

Where-as there are no known side effects for Natural Eggshell Membrane, except for people with egg allergies.

Definitely worth a try to safely aid with the treatment of osteoarthritis and joint pain.

>>>>>Learn about other supplements in our HeartVigor.com SUPPLEMENTS Page.