CVD News Watch December 5, 2008

December 5, 2008 by  

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Now that you have recovered from the stress of Black Friday, you’ll have some time to catch up with the latest heart news. Happy reading!

CVD device watch

Heart’s surplus energy may help power pacemakers, defibrillators
Imagine a self-sufficient heart implant that doesn’t need any batteries. This is the subject of the latest tests performed by British researchers using the self-energizing implantable medical microsystem (SIMM), a microgenerator that can use the heart’s surplus energy to make heart implants run. This device solves a lot problems that many face, namely, replacement of batteries, limited longevity of the device, and limited functions. Addition more features of pace makers and defibrillators will require more energy consumption. And batteries cannot go any smaller than they are now so that more power means bigger batteries, something that implants cannot afford to have.

CVD health care watch

Revised hours and workloads for medical residents needed to prevent errors
Doctors should also be trained to sleep and rest. A report from the Institute of Medicine shows that rest and sleep can decrease fatigue-related medical errors and enhance learning among medical residents. Revisions to current working hours are proposed. Anybody who watches ER, Dr House and Grey’s Anatomy gets the impression that residents work long hours. This impression is right. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) set the average weekly working hours of residents at 80 hours – double than most jobs. The proposed revisions, unfortunately, do not decrease the number or working hours but reduces the maximum number of hours of continuous duty (without sleep) to 16, as well as increasing the number of days off.

CVD medications watch

Paroxetine, fluoxetine in early pregnancy linked to heart defects in offspring
These two anti-depressants belonging to the class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed for pregnant women suffering from clinical depression. This study has found a link between the use of these two drugs during pregnancy and heart anomalies in newborn babies. The drugs also have been found to worsen the effects on smoking on the unborn fetus.

CVD technology watch

Caltech scientists show function of helical band in heart
How does the helical band – the band “which wraps around the inner chambers of the heart in a helix” – work? This has been a question that puzzled scientists for years. Now, scientists at the California Institute of technology (Caltech) may have found the answers. They have created images of the heart and its muscular layers and found that the helical band some sort of a “twisting highway along which each contraction of the heart travels.” When a heart contracts, it doesn’t just move in and out but twists a little bit. “The heart twists to push blood out the same way you twist a wet towel to wring water out of it,” according to principal researcher Morteza Gharib.

Photo credit: stock.xchng

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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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