Heart(y) news, December 5

December 4, 2009 by  

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worldnewsROBIN WILLIAMS: Opening Wide His (Repaired) Heart
Robin Williams is one of the best known American actors in the world, with numerous awards to his name. He is also a known alcoholic and heart disease patient. Williams had a heart surgery in March this year to replace an aortic valve. The 58-year old comedian is currently doing a series of stand up comedy shows where he opens his “repaired heart” to the public. Some quotes from Williams in a New York Times report:

After surviving a heart surgery,

“…you appreciate little things like walks on the beach with a defibrillator.”

“How much more can you give? Other than, literally, open-heart surgery onstage? Not much. But the only cure you have right now is the honesty of going, this is who you are. I know who I am.”

Meditation Halves Risk of Heart Attack
Meditation is not only for mental health. It can boost your physical health, particularly cardiovascular health. A recent clinical study reports that meditation can reduce the risk for heart attack, stroke, and death by almost 50% in patients with existing coronary heart disease. More about this in a more detailed post next week.

Not Smoking But Still Dying
OK, so non-smoking laws are in place and the prevalence of smoking in the US has decreased by 20% in the last 15 years. But why are mortality rates still high? A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine says that although quitting smoking extends lifespan, obesity shortens it. Unfortunately, the decrease in smoking rates is more than the increase in obesity rates, which was a staggering 48% during the past 15 years.

New genetic cause of cardiac failure discovered
In heart failure patients, the heart is too weak to pump due to diseased heart muscles.  German researchers have discovered a possible genetic cause for heart failure, specifically a protein responsible for the stability of the sarcomere which is smallest unit of the heart muscle. Mutations related to the protein nexilin causes the muscles to lose strength. According to lead author Dr Tillman Dahme:

“Patients with a nexilin mutation might benefit from early treatment with medications that reduce cardiac stress. This could lower the mechanical stress on the Z-disks and prevent progressive damage to the heart.”

CPR is successful without mouth-to-mouth, but not without oxygen
The current American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines emphasized the need for oxygen during resuscitation efforts. Although hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) works, studies in animals show that ventilation with oxygen is necessary for resuscitation to work. According to lead author Mark Angelos, professor of emergency medicine at Ohio State University

“For the first few minutes, it’s probably right just to push on the chest. But at some point you probably need to add oxygen, however you can – maybe mouth-to-mouth or with supplemental oxygen. Where that sweet spot is is not yet clear.”

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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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