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Bypass Procedure Used During Infant Heart Surgery Does Not Impair Later Neurological Outcomes

Congenital heart defects (CHD) are the most common birth defects in humans, affecting 8 per 1000 live births with one-third of affected children requiring intervention in early infancy. Increasing numbers of survivors combined with developmental expectations for independence, behavioral self-regulation and academic achievement have led to a growing identification of neurobehavioral symptoms in some survivors. A study now suggests that a cooling technique often used in heart operations does not impair neurological outcomes. Congenital heart disease and its treatment were originally thought to potentially increase neurologic injury in these patients. The technique of deep hypothermic circulatory arrest (DHCA) is used in order to repair these congenital cardiac defects by providing a bloodless surgical field, which may facilitate completion of the best physiologic repair, and decrease the duration of blood exposure to the bypass circuit.

CAREER Grant Will Help Understand Cell Cycle Model

Yang Cao, an assistant professor in the computer science department at Virginia Tech's College of Engineering, has won a $550, 000 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award to develop computer simulation methods that will better understand the complex, discrete, and stochastic cell cycle model. The CAREER grant is the National Science Foundation's most prestigious award, given to creative junior faculty likely considered to become academic leaders of the future. The five-year grant funds Cao's ( http://www.cs.vt.edu/user/31 ) research project, titled "Multi-scale Stochastic Simulation for Complex Biochemical Systems with Visualization Tools.

Cardium Provides Update On Commercial Development Plans For Generx Angiogenic Therapy For Heart Disease At 2010 Cell Gene Therapy Forum

Cardium Therapeutics (NYSE Amex: CXM) reported that its Cardium Biologics division provided an update on plans for the continuing commercial development of Generx™ (alferminogene tadenovec, Ad5FGF-4), a DNA-based angiogenic therapy product candidate for patients with coronary artery disease. The update was presented by Gabor M. Rubanyi, M.D., Ph.D., Cardium's Chief Scientific Officer at the annual 2010 Cell & Gene Therapy Forum in Washington, D.C. on January 25, 2010. Cardium Biologics reported on the following findings and plans: (1) As previously announced, based on an agreement with the FDA, Generx would be re-formulated to increase its shelf life, and further formulation enhancements are expected to allow for storage using a standard freezer (rather than at -70 degrees C), and potentially a lyophilized version for refrigerated storage.

Atrial Fibrillation Treatment Using Specialized Catheter Results In Better Outcomes Compared To Drug Therapy

Use of catheter ablation, in which radiofrequency energy is emitted from a catheter to eliminate the source of an irregular heartbeat, resulted in significantly better outcomes in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (intermittent cardiac rhythm disturbance) who had not responded previously to antiarrhythmic drug therapy, according to a study in the January 27 issue of JAMA. Atrial fibrillation (AF) represents an important public health problem, with patients having an increased long-term risk of stroke, heart failure and all-cause death. Although antiarrhythmic drugs are generally used as first-line therapy to treat patients with AF, they are associated with cumulative adverse effects over time and their effectiveness remains inconsistent, according to background information in the article.

Atrial Fibrillation Treated Much More Successfully With Catheter Ablation Than Drugs

Burning away heart tissue using a procedure called catheter ablation is dramatically more successful than drugs at treating atrial fibrillation, a common heart rhythm disorder, according to a new landmark study published in a leading journal today. Lead researcher Dr. David Wilber, director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, and colleagues, write about their findings in the 27 January online issue of JAMA, Journal of the American Medical Association. Wilber presented data from this study to the Heart Rhythm Society's Scientific Sessions last year. They found that after one year, two thirds of patients who received catheter ablation to treat an irregular heartbeat caused by atrial fibrillation (A-Fib), no longer experienced recurrent irregular heartbeats or symptoms, compared with only 16 per cent of those treated with drugs.

Landmark Heart Treatment Study

Treating a common heart rhythm disorder by burning heart tissue with a catheter works dramatically better than drug treatments, according to a landmark study published in the Jan. 27 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). One year after undergoing a treatment called catheter ablation, 66 percent of patients with an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation (A-Fib) were free of any recurrent irregular heartbeats or symptoms, compared with only 16 percent of those treated with drugs. Results were so convincing the trial was halted early. The study's lead researcher is Dr. David Wilber, director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

Kidney-Disease Drug With Dartmouth Origins Licensed In Asia

Thanks in part to more than a decade of preclinical work by Dartmouth researchers, a Japanese biopharmaceutical firm is preparing to develop and market throughout Asia a drug for the treatment of chronic kidney disease (CKD). In a deal worth $272 million plus royalties, the firm Kyowa Hakko Kirin bought exclusive rights to the compound bardoxolone methyl - or CDDO-methyl ester (CDDO-Me), in the scientific literature - from Texas-based Reata Pharmaceuticals on Thursday, January 7. The drug belongs to a family of anti-inflammatory compounds called triterpenoids, which chemist Tadashi Honda, Ph.D., began synthesizing at the Dartmouth laboratory of Gordon Gribble, Ph.

State Budgets In Straits As Health Programs Sap Resources

States are grappling with budget crises and lost revenues that have affected health programs. The Associated Press/(San Jose, Calif.) Mercury News : "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger demanded more federal money in a letter to California's congressional delegation Wednesday, as he highlighted a half-dozen programs that cost the state billions. He criticized some of the state's federal representatives for saying California has created its own budget mess." His plan to close the state's $20 billion deficit, announced last week, depends on extracting $6.9 billion in help from the federal government (Thompson, 1/13). Wisconsin Radio Network : "With $5.9-billion ..

Engineers Seek To Stem Massive, Deadly Flow Of Heart Disease

Virginia Tech researcher Pavlos Vlachos and his students in the College of Engineering have a tall order to tackle: Stem the grim progression of heart disease, which kills hundreds of thousands of people each year in the United States alone. Vlachos, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Advanced Experimental Thermofluid Engineering Research Laboratory, is waging this fight with what he calls his four children. That's not a condescending term for his researchers, but a parental pride in the series of cardiac-related projects he's working on. Vlachos literally treats these research projects as a parent would treat his or her children.

FDA Approves First Percutaneous Heart Valve

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Medtronic Melody Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve and Ensemble Delivery System, the first heart valve to be implanted through a catheter, or tube, in a leg vein and guided up to the heart. This new approach to the treatment of adults and children with previously implanted, poorly functioning pulmonary valve conduits can delay the need for open-heart surgery. Conduits are surgically implanted valves used to treat congenital heart defects of the pulmonary valve. Patients with congenital heart defects have narrowed, leaky, or missing pulmonary valves that impede the proper flow of blood from the heart's right ventricle to the pulmonary artery, which then sends the blood on to the lungs for oxygenation.

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