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April 2006 Briefing - Cardiology

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Cardiology for April 2006. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

Sudden Cardiac Death Main Cause of Firefighter Fatalities

FRIDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- Sudden cardiac death is the leading cause of fatalities for volunteer and career firefighters, and the second-leading cause is traumatic injury due to motor vehicle accidents, according to a report in the April 28 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Cardiologists Tend to Practice What They Preach

FRIDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly 90 percent of cardiologists exercise at least once a week and only about 1 percent are active smokers, according to survey findings published in the April 1 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

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Spontaneous Cerebral Emboli Associated with Alzheimer's

FRIDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- There is a significant association between spontaneous cerebral emboli and both Alzheimer disease and vascular dementia, according to a study published April 28 in BMJ Online First.

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Black Men Have Less Coronary Obstruction Than Whites

FRIDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- Black Americans have less coronary obstruction than their white counterparts, despite the fact that they have higher coronary disease mortality risk, according to a study published in the May 16 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiologists.

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Aging Disease-Gene Defect Active in Normal Cell Aging

THURSDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- A splicing defect in the lamin A gene is known to cause premature aging diseases, and the same defect has now been linked to the normal process of cellular aging, according to a report published April 27 in Sciencexpress, the early online edition of Science. Reversing the defect causes fibroblasts to lose some age-related characteristics, and cells from 80- and 90-year-olds proliferate more like a child's.

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Ventricular Geometry Predicts Outcome in Hypertension

THURSDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with hypertension, left ventricular (LV) geometry is a predictor of cardiovascular outcome, with better survival rates linked to normalization of concentric remodeling, and higher death risks associated with transition to LV hypertrophy, according to a study in the April issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

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FDA Warns of Danger of Oxygen Regulator Fires

WEDNESDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received 12 reports of incidents in which oxygen regulators used with oxygen cylinders have exploded or burned, in some cases causing injury. The accidents appear to be caused by re-use of plastic crush gaskets designed for single use, resulting in an improper seal and oxygen leakage, according to the FDA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

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Adult Congenital Heart Disease Care in Europe Inadequate

WEDNESDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- Care for adults with congenital heart disease is inadequate in Europe, with only a fifth of specialist centers fulfilling all criteria for optimal care, according to a study published online April 26 in the European Heart Journal.

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Gene Variant Lowers Risk of Heart Disease and Diabetes

WEDNESDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals carrying a variant of a gene found in adipocytes have a lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, according to a study published online in April 25 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Hospital Adherence To Guidelines Improves Heart Patient Outcome

TUESDAY, April 25 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with acute coronary syndrome are less likely to die if they receive care at a hospital with higher adherence to American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association treatment guidelines, according to a study published in the April 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Implantable Defibrillators Fail More Often Than Pacemakers

TUESDAY, April 25 (HealthDay News) -- Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) have a significantly higher malfunction rate than pacemakers and replacement of the defective devices can cause serious complications, including infections and death, according to two studies in the April 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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FDA Drug Advisory Committee Conflicts of Interest Assessed

TUESDAY, April 25 (HealthDay News) -- Conflict-of-interest disclosures are common at U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Drug Advisory Committee meetings and may warrant excluding members who have large financial interests, according to a study in the April 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Most Physicians Would Halt Chemo at Patient's Request

MONDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- The majority of physicians would halt chemotherapy if a terminal cancer patient insisted, but fewer would comply with a patient's request to speed death with drugs, according to a survey of physicians in six European countries and Australia published in the April 24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Coffee Has No Impact on Coronary Heart Disease Risk

MONDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- Coffee-drinking has no significant impact on the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), according to a study published in the May 2 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Risk Models Predict Carotid Endarterectomy Complications

MONDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have identified two risk models that are best at predicting the broad range of complications that can occur following carotid endartarectomy, according to a report in the April 24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Depression After Heart Attack Common in Younger Women

MONDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- Following a myocardial infarction, relatively young female patients have higher rates of depression than relatively young men, older men or older women, according to a study in the April 24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Blacks Less Likely Than Whites To Trust Health Care Providers

MONDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- The scarcity of quality interactions with physicians could be one reason that black patients in the United States are less likely to trust their health care providers than white patients are, according to the results of a study published in the April 24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. Nearly half of black patients report low trust in health care providers, versus one-third of white patients, the authors say.

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AtrialEsophageal Fistula Rare Complication After Ablation

MONDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians should be alert for atrial-esophageal fistulas, a rare but potentially fatal complication that can develop in patients who have undergone catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation, according to a study published in the April 18 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Older Diabetics Not Receiving Recommended Medications

MONDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- More than half of older diabetics aren't taking angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) to help protect their hearts and kidneys, according to a study published online in the April issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

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Lipid Changes Detected in Sjogren's Syndrome

FRIDAY, April 21 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with Sjogren's syndrome have altered levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and total cholesterol that may be related to disease activity, according to a report in the April issue of Rheumatology.

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Hypnotherapy Can Reduce Non-Cardiac Chest Pain

FRIDAY, April 21 (HealthDay News) -- Hypnotherapy can reduce the intensity of non-cardiac chest pain, although it doesn't seem to reduce the frequency of painful episodes in patients with angina-like pain that is not due to gastroesophageal reflux or cardiac conditions, according to a study published online April 20 in Gut.

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Fiber Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Obese Patients

THURSDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- Insoluble dietary fiber improves insulin sensitivity in only three days, according to a small study of obese or overweight patients published in the April issue of Diabetes Care.

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CDC Reports U.S. Death Rate Has Fallen to Record Low

THURSDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- The United States death rate has fallen to a record low, life expectancy is increasing and the life expectancy gender gap is narrowing, according to a summary report, issued April 19 by the National Center for Health Statistics.

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Corticosteroid May Harm Respiratory Distress Patients

WEDNESDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- Methylprednisolone is no better than placebo at improving mortality rates in patients with persistent acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and may increase the risk of death if started more than two weeks after the onset of ARDS, according to a study published April 20 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Older Shift Workers at Risk for High Blood Pressure

WEDNESDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- Shift workers have a higher risk of developing hypertension associated with sleep-disordered breathing after age 40 than day workers, according to a study of Japanese nuclear power plant workers published in the April issue of the American Journal of Hypertension.

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Less Educated Have Higher Coronary Artery Calcium

TUESDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- People with the least amount of education are two to four times as likely to have coronary artery calcium (CAC) deposits as those with the most education, according to a study in the April 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Nitric Oxide Linked to Carvedilol's Effect on Pressure

TUESDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- Carvedilol's ability to lower blood pressure may rely on a corresponding rise in nitric oxide levels, according to the results of a study in rats published in the April issue of the American Journal of Hypertension.

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Women May Feel Shut Out of Male 'Surgery Club'

TUESDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- While both men and women entering medicine may forgo a career in surgery because of perceptions about the lifestyle and workload, women are specifically deterred because of the perception that surgical culture is male-oriented, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Surgery.

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Mortality Risk Greater if Cerebral Hemorrhage is in Sleep

MONDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who have an intracerebral hemorrhage while asleep are more than four times as likely to die within a month of the event than patients who experience the hemorrhage while they are awake, according to a study published in the April issue of the American Journal of Hypertension.

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Oxidized LDL Predicts Restenosis after Stenting for MI

MONDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- Elevated plasma levels of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in patients who have undergone stenting for acute myocardial infarction is a predictor of later stent restenosis, according to a study in the April issue of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.

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High Levels of Cadmium in Young Smokers

MONDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- Cadmium and strontium are present at high levels in the blood of young smokers and cadmium has multiple effects on the vascular endothelium, according to a study in the April issue of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.

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Arrhythmia Risk High in Sleep-Disordered Breathing

MONDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- Complex nocturnal arrhythmias are two to four times more likely in people who have severe sleep-disordered breathing, according to a study in the April 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Homocysteine Not Tied to Peripheral Arterial Disease

FRIDAY, April 14 (HealthDay News) --The apparent association between homocysteine and peripheral arterial disease can be explained by confounding factors such as smoking, lead and cadmium exposure, and renal function, according to a study in the April 15 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

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Gastric Electrical Stimulation May Help Treat Obesity

THURSDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- Gastric electrical stimulation (GES), in which mucosal electrodes are endoscopically placed in the fundus, may be a potential treatment for obesity, according to a study published in the April issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

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Infant Snoring Linked to Parents' Snoring in Atopic Families

THURSDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- About 15 percent of the infants of atopic parents are frequent snorers, and frequent snoring in infants is strongly associated with snoring in their parents, but not with environmental tobacco smoke, according to research published in the April issue of Chest.

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Replacing Some Carbs with Lean Meat Cuts Blood Pressure

THURSDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- Replacing some dietary carbohydrates with lean red meat decreases blood pressure in patients with hypertension, according to research published in the April issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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Patent Foramen Ovale Closure Improves Migraine

THURSDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with patent foramen ovale (PFO), transcatheter defect closure may be an effective and safe treatment for PFO-associated migraine headache with aura (MHA), according to a study in the April issue of the American Heart Journal.

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Renal Insufficiency Predicts Appropriate ICD Shocks

THURSDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- Because renal insufficiency is a strong predictor of appropriate implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) shocks, patients with renal insufficiency should not be excluded from ICD therapy, according to a study published in the April issue of the American Heart Journal.

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Hypertensive Disorders Commonly Recur in Pregnancy

THURSDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- Hypertensive disorders (HPD) in pregnancy commonly recur, but the recurrence is not necessarily in the same type of disorder, according to a study in the April issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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FDA Proposes Rule to Prevent Medical Gas Mix-Ups

THURSDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- Because medical gas mix-ups have resulted in at least eight deaths and 18 serious injuries since 1996, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a proposed rule this week that is intended to make the contents of medical gas containers more readily identifiable.

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Dietary Fiber May Reduce C-Reactive Protein Levels

WEDNESDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- A fiber-rich diet may have a protective effect against elevated C-reactive protein (CRP), which is associated with heart disease and diabetes, according to research published in the April issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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FDA Approves First Skin Patch for ADHD

WEDNESDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first methylphenidate-containing transdermal patch for treating attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Known as Daytrana, the patch is designed for use in children ages 6 to 12 and is applied each morning to the alternating hip and worn for nine hours.

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C-Reactive Protein Predicts Heart Failure Mortality

WEDNESDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- Systemic inflammation, as measured by C-reactive protein, is an independent predictor of mortality in congestive heart failure patients, according to a study in the April issue of the American Heart Journal.

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Diabetes, Hypertension Risk After Kidney Stone Treatment

WEDNESDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who undergo shock wave treatment for kidney stones have an almost fourfold higher risk of developing diabetes and 1.5-fold higher risk of hypertension compared with patients managed with medication, according to a study published in the May issue of the Journal of Urology.

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Telemedicine System Effective for Carvedilol Delivery

WEDNESDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with congestive heart failure, using an automated telemedicine system to remotely monitor medication is as effective as frequent outpatient clinic visits, according to a study published in the April issue of the American Heart Journal.

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Post-MI Ventricular Arrhythmia Increases Death Risk Sixfold

WEDNESDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- Ventricular arrhythmias (VA) are common after myocardial infarction (MI) and increase mortality risk sixfold, according to a study published in the April issue of the American Heart Journal.

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ACE Inhibitors Can Reduce Coronary Artery Disease Risks

TUESDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors can reduce the risk of myocardial infarction, stroke and death for patients with coronary artery disease but preserved left ventricular function, according to a report in the April 10 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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More Rapid Memory Decline in Those With Stroke History

TUESDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- Memory and abstract/visuospatial performance decline more rapidly in elderly patients with a history of stroke than in their same-age peers who have not had a stroke, according to a study in the April issue of Archives of Neurology.

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Estrogen Increases Risk of Venous Thromboembolism

TUESDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- Postmenopausal women lacking a uterus are at increased risk of developing venous thromboembolism after estrogen therapy, particularly in the first two years, according to a study in the April 10 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Platinum Stents Useful in Treating Aortic Coarctations

MONDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- Cheatham-platinum stents are a safe and viable option for patients with aortic coarctations who develop an aneurysm or have complications from conventional stents, or who are at high risk of complications due to age or complex lesions, according to a study in the April 4 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Secondhand Smoke May Increase Diabetes Risk

MONDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- People who have never used tobacco but who have been exposed to secondhand smoke are at higher risk of developing glucose intolerance than even previous smokers, according to a study published online April 7 in BMJ.

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Sleep Apnea Therapy Reverses Cardiac Structure Changes

MONDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- Continuous positive airway pressure can improve symptoms and heart function in patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea, according to a study in the April 4 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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For Some, Cardiac MRI Better at Predicting Heart Disease

MONDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- Compared with clinical risk factors, adenosine cardiac magnetic resonance imaging is better at predicting the future risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack and death in troponin-negative patients with chest pain and acute myocardial infarction, according to a study in the April 4 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Antihypertensive Treatment Reduces Risk of Dementia

FRIDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment for high blood pressure may protect against dementia in older patients, according to a report published online April 6 in Stroke.

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Losartan Shows Promise in Treatment of Marfan Syndrome

FRIDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- Antagonists of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), such as the hypertension medication losartan (Cozaar), may have potential to prevent aortic aneurysm and dissection due to Marfan syndrome, according to a study in mice published in the April 7 issue of Science.

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Mortality Rates Differ Between Types of Cirrhosis

THURSDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with cirrhosis due to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) have fewer complications and a lower risk of death compared with patients with cirrhosis due to hepatitis C virus (HCV), although cardiovascular mortality is higher in NASH cirrhosis patients, according to a study in the April issue of Hepatology.

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U.S. Prevalence of Overweight, Obesity Rises Again

TUESDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- The number of obese and overweight children and teens continues to rise, as does the number of obese men, according to data collected between 1999 and 2004 in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and published in the April 5 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. One in every three adults in the United States is now obese, although there was no increase in obesity in women in the six-year period.

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Less Sleep Associated with Twice the Hypertension Risk

TUESDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- People who sleep five hours a night or less have about twice the risk of developing hypertension compared with people who sleep between seven and eight hours a night, according to a study published online April 3 in Hypertension.

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Lifestyle Changes Benefit Patients With Prehypertension

TUESDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with prehypertension or stage 1 hypertension, lifestyle modifications can improve blood-pressure control and reduce the risk of chronic disease, according to a study published April 4 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Most High-Risk Cardiovascular Patients Get Appropriate Care

TUESDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- Most patients with poor control of cardiovascular risk factors are given a therapy modification within six months, a new quality-of-care measure, according to a study published April 4 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Diabetes Care Improving, But Still Short of Optimal

TUESDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- Although the quality of diabetes care has become better over the past decade, many diabetics still have poor glycemic control, LDL cholesterol control and blood pressure control, according to a study published April 4 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Only Minority of MI Patients Receive Angioplasty

TUESDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- While primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is considered the best procedure for most of the 400,000 ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients seen each year in the United States, the treatment is only offered to a minority and access should be widened, according to an American Heart Association (AHA) consensus statement published online March 28 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Obesity Linked to Impaired Coronary Vasodilation

MONDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- Obesity is associated with abnormal circulatory function in the heart, including an impairment in total vasodilation capacity, according to a study published in the March 21 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. However, the elevated leptin levels seen in obese patients may counteract the effect and possibly improve myocardial blood flow, the authors say.

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No Significant Risk Reduction from Chest Protectors

MONDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- Twelve commercially available chest protectors typically used by young athletes do not significantly reduce the risk of ventricular fibrillation from baseball or lacrosse ball strikes, according to a study of juvenile pigs published in the March issue of Pediatrics.

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Folic Acid Fails to Improve Chronic Renal Failure Outcomes

MONDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with chronic renal failure, high-dose folic acid does not slow the progression of atherosclerosis or reduce cardiovascular events, according to a study published March 21 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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C-Reactive Protein Inhibits Weight Regulation by Leptin

MONDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- C-reactive protein (CRP), a circulating plasma factor, has been found to bind to and inhibit the function of the weight regulating hormone leptin, according to a report published April 2 online in Nature Medicine. The results may explain why leptin therapy has failed in initial trials for weight loss.

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Cardiac Medications Help in Peripheral Arterial Disease

MONDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD), the use of statins, beta-blockers, aspirin and ACE inhibitors reduces the long-term risk of death, according to a study published March 21 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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