Preventing sudden cardiac death on the world’s biggest athletic stage

London, UK – When 32-year-old Claire Squires collapsed in sudden cardiac arrest during the London Marathon in May, Dr Sanjay Sharma (St George’s Hospital, London, UK), medical director for the race, tried in vain to save her. Now Sharma, head of the cardiology team for the 2012 Olympics, will no doubt have Squires at the back of his mind when the Games open later this week. He and his team are doing everything possible to make sure a major cardiac event doesn’t grab the spotlight on sports’ biggest international stage.

Like Squires, at least four elite athletes have been felled by sudden cardiac death in recent months, including soccer star Fabrice Muamba, who arrested but miraculously survived. The media attention these events have garnered has inflamed the controversy over whether better preparticipation screening would have prevented any of the deaths or whether the time has come for nations and health organizations to agree on a universal approach. And although cardiac events at past Olympic Games have been rare, they’re not unheard of.

Read the rest of this entry »

Physicians’ focus on risks for stroke and dementia saved lives, money

Fewer people died or needed expensive long-term care when their physicians focused on the top risk factors for stroke and dementia, according to research reported in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA).

The primary care doctors in the German study focused on high blood pressure , smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation) and depression. The researchers found that during a five-year period, the need for long-term care was cut 10 percent in women and 9.6 percent in men.

Read the rest of this entry »

First study of heart “maps” for kids could help correct rapid rhythms

NEW ORLEANS — The first study of a procedure to make three-dimensional “maps” of electrical signals in children’s hearts could help cardiologists correct rapid heart rhythms in young patients, according to new research presented at the American Heart Association’s Basic Cardiovascular Sciences 2012 Scientific Sessions.

Children with the condition atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia, or AVNRT, suffer from disruptions in the heart’s electrical system that cause sudden rapid heart rates. Patients have been successfully treated with cardiac ablation , in which the abnormal tissue that causes the condition is destroyed by freezing (cryoablation).

Read the rest of this entry »

Green coffee extract–a diet miracle?

Recently featured on The Dr. Oz Show, green coffee extract has quickly become one of the most popular natural weight loss supplements of 2012. Dr. Oz, a world renown physician, medical researcher and television host stated that green coffee extract could be the key to weight loss. Dr. Oz stated, “A recent study showed women and men who took Green Coffee Extract lost an astounding amount of fat and weight – 17 pounds in 22 weeks – by doing absolutely nothing extra in their day!”

Lindsey Duncan, a Naturopathic Doctor & Certified Nutritionist, was also interviewed by Dr. Oz. “The participants took the capsules, they did nothing else and didn’t change their diet. They actually consumed 2,400 calories a day, they burned only 400 calories. Now that should be weight gain, not weight loss. And, they lost over 10% of their total body weight.” He went on to say, “They lost 16% of their total body fat and they lost 17 pounds per participant and they had no side effects.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Job stress strains a woman’s heart, but no one knows why

Cambridge, MA – A new study has found that women under a lot of stress at work were almost 40% more likely to have a cardiovascular event over a 10-year period than their counterparts who reported low job strain. Dr Natalie Slopen (Harvard University, Cambridge, MA) and colleagues publish their findings online July 18, 2012 in PLoS One.

The higher likelihood of a CVD event applied to both women with high job strain —defined as a highly demanding job but with low control— and those with active job strain —defined as high demand but with high autonomy. This finding is surprising, senior author Dr Michelle A. Albert (Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA) told Heartwire, since most prior research, —much of which has been conducted in men—, has not found an increased CVD risk in those with “active” jobs.

Read the rest of this entry »