CVD News from the ESC Congress 2008

October 3, 2008 by  

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The 2008 European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress was held in Munich, Germany last August 30 to September 3. Below I summarize some of the reports that may be interesting to our readers.

Strategies to prevent sudden death in athletes

Considering the fact that we’ve just said goodbye to the 2008 Olympics, I think the link between cardiovascular science and athletics deserves to be mention one more time.

Pre-participation screening as discussed in a previous post is still the best strategy for prevention of cardiac problems during competitive sports events. Having automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) ready for use during competitions have also saved lives. Other preventive measures proposed were a comprehensive review of family history of CVD and genotyping. The latter may give lots of information but is costly and effort- and time-consuming.

Schools can reduce obesity in children

German researchers conducted a study which involved 1037 children in primary school children aged 7 to 8 years old. Half of these were used as “intervention group” and were

“…asked to cut down on TV and computer viewing, and reduce their consumption of sugary drinks. They also received extra tuition about healthy living at school: “key messages” about diet and exercise were included in a range of lessons, and the children took part in two five-to-seven minute sessions of exercise a day.

The other half received normal school lessons and served as control group.

The results: the intervention group had lesser increase in body fat mass and weight compared to the controls group. The effects of the intervention are small but significant and are also believed to be sustainable.

Dancing, sex or just a prayer?

Aside from the usual rehabilitation programs for cardiac patients, what are other ways to rehabilitate cardiac patients and improve their quality of life? In a previous post, I’ve touched on the benefits of dancing in cardiac rehabilitation as reported by a Mexican doctor. Apparently, Italian patients seem to feel the same. Dancing as a form of aerobic interval training may be superior to the usual endurance training because of it reduces oxidative stress and improves quality of life. Sexual activity on the other hand seems unsatisfactory after a cardiac event due to multiple concerns of patients and does not seem to improve the quality of life patients. Neither does prayer or other form of spiritual therapy.

The Geneva stair study

Use the stairs and forget the lift, Swiss researchers say.

Less than half of healthy Europeans and Americans meet public health guidelines by undertaking moderate intensity aerobic activity for a minimum of 30 minutes on five days each week.

Researcher at the University of Geneva observed that employees who used stairs regularly instead of taking elevators at work showed improvement in body fitness, blood pressure and lipid profiles. Aside from the health consequences, the results also underline the importance of architectural design and convenient placement of stair wells to help people make healthy choices.

More news coming up next week. Have a nice weekend.

Photo credit: Conference by sachyn at stock.xchng.

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