A new study by NYU Langone Medical Center researchers identified a new culprit that leads to atherosclerosis, the accumulation of fat and cholesterol that hardens into plaque and narrows arteries. The research, published online by Nature Immunology on January 8, 2012, explains why cholesterol-laden, coronary artery disease-causing cells called macrophages, accumulate in artery plaques. "We have discovered that macrophages that accumulate in plaques secrete a molecule called netrin-1, " said Kathryn J. Moore, PhD, senior author of the study and associate professor in the Departments of Medicine and Cell Biology at NYU Langone Medical Center. "Our study shows that netrin-1 blocks the normal migration of macrophages out of arteries, causing these immune cells to accumulate and promote the progression of atherosclerosis.
Although vitamin D has long been known to promote bone health and protect the heart, researchers at John Hopkins reveal that vitamin D might stop conferring cardiovascular benefits and may cause harm as blood levels increase above what is considered normal. According to Muhammad Amer, M.D., study leader and assistant professor in the division of general internal medicine at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine, findings from the investigation demonstrate that rising vitamin D levels in the blood are associated with decreased levels of c-reactive protein (CRP: a popular marker for cardiovascular inflammation). Together with Rehan Qayyum, M.D., M.H.S., an assistant professor in the division of general internal medicine at Hopkins, Amer analyzed data in the continuous National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a nationally representative sample, of over 15, 000 adult participants from 2001 and 2006.
A study published in the January 4 issue of JAMA reveals that bariatric surgery is linked to a reduction in cardiovascular deaths and events, such as heart attack and stroke amongst obese individuals. According to the majority of epidemiological studies, obesity is linked to increased cardiovascular events and mortality. Background information in the article states that: "Weight loss might protect against cardiovascular events, but solid evidence is lacking." Between September 1987 and January 2001, Dr. Lars Sjostrom of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and his team assessed the hypothesis of bariatric surgery being linked to a reduced incidence of cardiovascular events. They examined the relationship between weight change and cardiovascular events in an ongoing (Swedish Obese Subjects [SOS]) nonrandomized, prospective, controlled study and recruited 2, 010 obese participants who underwent bariatric surgery from 25 public surgical departments and 480 primary health care centers in Sweden and matched them to 2, 037 obese individuals (control group) who received standard care.
A study published in the January 4 issue of JAMA shows that U.S. patients who experienced a ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), a certain pattern on an electrocardiogram after a heart attack, were more likely to be readmitted to the hospital at 30 days after the heart attack compared with patients in other countries. The findings were discovered during a data analysis from over 15 countries, including the U.S., Canada, Australia, and many European nations. Approximately 29 to 38% of all heart attacks are due to ST-segment elevation. Background information in the article states that: "In the present era of primary percutaneous coronary intervention [PCI; procedures such as balloon angioplasty or stent placement used to open narrowed coronary arteries], survival to hospital discharge has improved dramatically.
According to a study in the December issue of JAMA, using a contemporary or highly sensitive test for levels of the biomarker troponin I, a protein in the muscle tissue, in patients admitted to emergency departments with chest pain, could potentially assist in ruling out a diagnosis of a heart attack. Changes in the levels of the biomarker 3 hours after the patient's admission may prove beneficial to confirm a diagnosis of a heart attack. Acute chest pain is one of the most frequent reasons for patients to seek care in an emergency department. The researchers write that: "Early identification of individuals at high and intermediate risk for myocardial ischemia [insufficient blood flow to the heart muscle] is crucial because they benefit the most from early and aggressive treatment. According to international consensus and task force definitions of myocardial infarction [(MI;