Heart(y) News, May 21



Nintendo Wii gets the AHA thumbs-up
A video game gets the American Heart Association (AHA) heart check? Well, it is not just any video game. It’s the Nintendo Wii virtual exercise and active game systems. In return for the heart check, Nintendo is donation $1.5 million to AHA. Uh-uh. Has AHA sold out to the enemy? Well, it depends on how you look at it. According to AHA president Dr. Clyde Yancy:

“We can ignore the audience that is engaged with gaming—a huge audience—or we can find different ways of engaging that audience.”

AHA is giving Nintendo credit for pioneering physical active gaming also called “exergames.” The AHA heart logo, which will appear on the Nintendo Wii system, as well as video games Wii Fit and Wii Sports Resort, is part of a nationwide program to let consumers know that the organization considers the system and games healthy choices. Through this partnership, AHA aims to make exercise more fun and accessible.

A step to artificial life: Man-made DNA powers cell

Carl Venter of the Human Genome Project has made the headlines again. This time, he and his team claim to have created the first “synthetic cell”. Why synthetic? Because the cell is running on DNA synthesized in the lab. This is the first step in creating artificial life, an achievement which thrills some and scares others. The potential use of this development in health care is almost boundless.

New polypill trial begins in Europe; others planned
UMPIRE stands for Use of a Multidrug Pill in Reducing Cardiovascular Events, a clinical trial that just started in Europe. The trial compares compliance between the polypill (consisting of 75 mg aspirin, 40 simvastatin, and the antihypertensive agents, 50 mg atenolol and 10 mg lisinopril) vs individual medications. Other trials are being planned.

Statin side-effects found by British doctors
British researchers reported in the latest issue of the British Medical Journal about “unintended effects of statins” that include higher risk for kidney and liver problems as well as cataracts. However, the frequency of side effects seems to be low. To have a clearer view of the risk and benefits, let us take a look at the numbers. Of10,000 women with high-risk CVD profile treated with statin

  • 271 cases of heart disease will be prevented..
  • 8 cases of esophageal cancer will be prevented
  • 74 patients will suffer from liver dysfunction.
  • 23 patients will have acute renal failure.
  • 307 will develop cataracts.
  • 39 will develop muscular myopathy.

No Parkinson’s disease will be reported.

The authors write that their findings are “reassuring”.

“At national level, our study is likely to be useful for policy and planning purposes. Our study may also be useful for informing guidelines on the type and dose of statins.”

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.
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