Heart(y) News, October 23

October 23, 2009 by  

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worldnewsWishing you a restful weekend…

Elizabeth Taylor says heart surgery went ‘perfectly’
“It was like having a brand new ticker” according to a tweet from Elizabeth Taylor, CNN reports. This came two days after the 77-year old actress tweeted she had to undergo surgery to fix a leaky heart valve.

Genetic profiling for CHD not yet ready for prime time
The idea of personalized medicine based on a person’s genetic make up is  one of the primary goals of biomedical research. Studies have shown that risks for certain diseases and responses to certain drugs may be due to genetic variants. In breast cancer, genetic screening for mutations in the BRC genes has become standard. Will genetic profiling soon be also standard in cardiovascular medicine? Dutch researchers report that with the current state of evidence, genetic profiling is less accurate than conventional methods is predicting coronary heart disease. Experts advise to be exceptionally wary of genetic tests offered on Internet.
According to Dr Steve Humphries of the University College London, UK:

“…on-the-internet genetic tests… are sort of snake oil, but they are a bit worse than that. They are useless without knowing what your other risk factors are. You must never consider a genetic test in the absence of measuring conventional risk factors.”

FDA clears colesevelam for FH in kids
The US FDA has approved the pediatric version of colesevelam HCl (Welchol®), a cholesterol-lowering drug. The drug is indicated for “the reduction of elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) in boys and postmenarchal girls, 10 to 17 years of age, with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (heFH) alone or in combination with a statin after failing an adequate trial of diet therapy.” FH is an inherited disorder that leads to abnormally high cholesterol levels even in children. An estimated 10 million people worldwide have FH. Welchol® is manufactured by Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.

High Blood Pressure Medicines Show Promise for Treating Heart Disease
Two drugs indicated for the treatment of hypertension may also be sued in treating heart disease. A new report of Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) compares the effectiveness of
1. inhibitors of angiotensin-converting enzyme or ACE inhibitors
2. angiotensin receptor blockers, or ARBs

The researchers report that the two drugs “can lead to a reduction in death, risk of heart attack, risk of stroke and fewer hospitalizations for heart failure for patients suffering from stable ischemic heart disease.” However, the drugs come with some side effects that may, in some cases, be dangerous.

FDA Approves Micardis®)…
Another drug approval for cardiovascular medicine is for Micardis® (telmisartan). The drug is already approved for the treatment of hypertension but has recently been approved for a new indication – to reduce the risk of myocardial infarction stroke, or death from cardiovascular causes in patients 55 years of age or older. It is manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim.

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