Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, and Indiana University School of Medicine managed to reprogram heart scar tissue cells in mice into working heart muscle cells. The groundbreaking achievement, published in the online edition of Nature, paves the way for future regeneration techniques. Research leaders Li Qian, Ph.D., and Deepak Srivastava, M.D., of San Francisco University used gene-splicing techniques to insert three genes into fibroblast cells, i.e. structural cells not directly involved in the heart's pumping function, whose activity subsequently provoked some of the fibroblast cells to become cardiomyocytes, i.e. cells that comprise cardiac muscle. Dr. Simon J. Conway, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics and director of the Program in Developmental Biology and Neonatal Medicine at the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research at the IU School of Medicine, explained that their study used an experimental mouse strain, that allows researchers to mark and follow the development of fibroblast cells over time.
A 25 per cent increase in high blood pressure screening in 19 developing countries would reduce the number of cardiovascular disease (CVD) events and deaths that occur each year by up to 3 per cent in these countries. The preliminary data presented at the World Congress of Cardiology are the first findings from a new report from Harvard that will be published later this year. The study found that around 900 million people in developing countries have high blood pressure but that only one-third are aware of their disease. Moreover, only 100 million of these people receive treatment, while only 5 per cent of the total are controlled. Against this backdrop, this study was designed to assess the cost-effectiveness of an intervention to increase screening by 25 per cent in developing countries using a non-lab screening tool to treat those with a systolic blood pressure of greater than 140 mmHg and CVD risk of greater than 20 per cent.
Voluntary industry reductions in salt content and taxation on products containing salt in 19 developing countries could reduce the number of deaths each year from cardiovascular disease (CVD) by 2-3 per cent in these countries. The preliminary data presented at the World Congress of Cardiology are the first findings from a new report from Harvard that will be published later this year. The study set out to assess the cost-effectiveness of two interventions - voluntary salt reduction by industry, and taxation on salt - in 19 developing countries, that represent more than half of the world's population. The required salt reduction levels were modeled on the UK Food Standards Agency experience which set a series of targets for individual food products that have led to a net intake reduction, so far, of 9.
Widespread screening of children in poorer countries is now being studied and is resulting in the diagnosis of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in patients that would likely have gone undetected under normal circumstances, according to two new studies carried out in Fiji and Uganda presented at the World Congress of Cardiology. Coordinated screening and control programmes can help to identify patients before they progress to severe RHD for a fraction of the cost associated with treating these patients. While more work needs to be done to determine if these programmes should be widely promoted, there has been limited evidence to suggest that they are feasible in countries that have few resources - until now. In one study carried out in Uganda, 4, 869 school children were screened simply using a stethoscope and a portable echocardiography machine.
A report released at the World Heart Federation World Congress of Cardiology in Dubai reveals significant gaps in public awareness regarding the cardiovascular risks of tobacco use and secondhand smoke. The report, entitled "Cardiovascular harms from tobacco use and secondhand smoke", was commissioned by the World Heart Federation and written by the International Tobacco Control Project (ITC Project), in collaboration with the Tobacco Free Initiative at the World Health Organization. According to the report, half of all Chinese smokers and one-third of Indian and Vietnamese smokers are unaware that smoking causes heart disease. Across a wide range of countries, including India, Uruguay, South Korea and Poland, around half of all smokers - and over 70 per cent of all Chinese smokers - do not know that smoking causes stroke.