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5.6 Million Contract For Heart Assist Device For Infants And Toddlers

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and their collaborators have been awarded a $5.6 million federal contract to pursue the continued development of an implanted ventricular assist heart pump for infants and small children with congenital or acquired heart disease. The project aims to provide much-needed access to the sophisticated technologies that have saved the lives of older heart failure patients. Harvey Borovetz, Ph.D., distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Bioengineering and a deputy director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, is the principal investigator of one of four projects that comprise the Pumps for Kids, Infants and Neonates (PumpKIN) Preclinical Program, a $23.

Childhood Obesity Alone May Increase Risk Of Later Cardiovascular Disease

By as early as 7 years of age, being obese may raise a child's risk of future heart disease and stroke, even in the absence of other cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, according to a new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM). "This new study demonstrates that the unhealthy consequences of excess body fat start very early, " said Nelly Mauras, MD, of Nemours Children's Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida and senior author of the study. "Our study shows that obesity alone is linked to certain abnormalities in the blood that can predispose individuals to developing cardiovascular disease early in adulthood.

New Blood Test For Coronary Artery Disease Now Available At Vanderbilt Heart And Vascular Institute

Just in time for American Heart Month, Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute is offering a new blood test that can predict if a patient is at high risk for heart disease. Vanderbilt is among the first institutions in the country, and the only one in Tennessee, to offer this test. "We now have a novel way to check for the presence of significant coronary artery disease by looking at genes that are associated with heart disease, " said John McPherson, M.D., director of the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "This is the first of many future tests that will move in the direction of evaluating diseases by looking at a patient's genetics and the dynamic changes in expression of genes when disease is present.

Researching Treatments Shows Paths To Health Savings

An orthopedic surgeon in Sacramento became suspicious of a new therapy that helps tendons heal by injecting platelet-rich plasma into joints, The Sacramento Bee reports. So, he decided to do a test. It turned out, his patients outcomes were no different when he used the platelet-rich plasma therapy as when he didn't. The plasma treatment costs hundreds of dollars more per patient. "The country as a whole could use a dose of such skepticism when it comes to expensive new therapies, critics say, " in order to cut back on an estimated $700 billion in annual spending on unnecessary health services. The health overhaul - now in limbo - would add to $1.1 billion toward this type of research (Calvan, 1/25).

New Procedure Cuts Arrhythmia, Recovery Time

A surgeon and an electrophysiologist in the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center last week worked together to perform a novel, minimally-invasive procedure to treat a common but dangerous arrhythmia in a 61-year-old lawyer from east Texas who has suffered from the condition for months. By combining their talents, the physicians could perform the procedure through two small incisions, rather than six, which is common for minimally-invasive approaches. "We're hoping that by combining the expertise of a surgeon with that of an electrophysiologist, we'll make the treatment more effective, while also making it easier on the patient in terms of recovery time, " said Dr.

In Light Of Research About Teens' Heart Disease Risk, Lifestyle Changes Critical

Pamphlets detailing the warning signs associated with heart disease may soon end up in an unexpected location: your child's pediatrician's office. According to new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five American teens has at least one risk factor for developing heart disease in adulthood. With heart health front-and-center this month in honor of American Heart Month, most media coverage will focus on at-risk adults. But that's a mistake according to Sarah Wally, a dietitian with the National Association for Margarine Manufacturers. "Although heart disease is typically diagnosed in adulthood, its roots often begin in childhood, " says Wally.

St. Jude Medical Announces IRASE AF Clinical Trial To Evaluate Cardiac Ablation Catheter System For Treatment Of Atrial Fibrillation

St. Jude Medical, Inc. (NYSE:STJ) announced it has received an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin enrollment in the IRASE AF (IRrigated Ablation System Evaluation for AF) trial, a multicenter, randomized, single-blind study evaluating the safety and efficacy of the company's Duo 12 port open irrigated catheter ablation system for treatment of Atrial Fibrillation (AF). AF is the most common cardiac arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat), affecting an estimated 3.3 million Americans and millions more worldwide. The IRASE AF trial is the industry's first and the largest head-to-head IDE trial studying irrigated ablation catheters, which use radiofrequency (RF) energy in a non-invasive procedure to destroy abnormal heart tissue.

Is Your Kitchen Heart Friendly?

Lurking in your kitchen may be a killer. According to Saint Louis University cardiologist Melda Dolan, M.D., the fast, convenient and processed foods that fill American's freezers and pantries are bad news for your heart and waistline, as well as your taste buds. This February, in honor of American Heart Month, Dolan is encouraging the SLU community to give their kitchen a heart-healthy makeover. "Maintaining a heart healthy diet is easier than you might think, but it does require a life-style change, " Dolan said. "Once you learn how to shop for and cook with fresh ingredients, you'll see that it's easy to do." According to Dolan, one's diet plays a major role in the development of heart disease the No.

Cholesterol's Link To Heart Disease Gets Clearer - And More Complicated

By considering molecular-level events on a broader scale, researchers now have a clearer, if more complicated, picture of how one class of immune cells goes wrong when loaded with cholesterol. The findings reported in the February 3rd issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication, show that, when it comes to the development of atherosclerosis and heart disease, it's not about any one bad actor - it's about a network gone awry. The new findings also highlight a pretty remarkable thing, Heinecke says: "Despite 30 years of study, we still don't know how cholesterol causes heart disease." But, with the new findings, scientists are getting closer.

When It Comes To Heart Health, Think About Your Lifestyle Habits

When it comes to heart health, whether or not your job is stressful isn't what you should be worried about, according to doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Diet, exercise and risk factors like high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity are what contribute to a person's chance of having a heart attack. "In my opinion, executives tend to be very organized and disciplined and often work exercise into their schedules, " said Dr. James de Lemos, assistant professor of cardiology at UT Southwestern. "They do not have more heart attacks than the rest of the population. People with less-stressful jobs are just as susceptible to heart attacks.

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