Dec. 2005 Briefing - Cardiology

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in cardiology for December 2005. 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.

Aggressive Approach Identifies Heart Disease in Diabetics

FRIDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- An aggressive diagnostic approach including angiography can identify subclinical coronary artery disease (CAD) in patients with type 2 diabetes, according to a study in the January issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Aspirin-Resistant Patients May Not Respond to Clopidrogel

FRIDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Aspirin-resistant patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) often have a decreased response to clopidrogel as well, according to a study in the January issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. This distinctive group of dual drug-resistant patients may be at higher risk for thrombotic complications after PCI.

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Less Than Half of MI Patients Get Timely Reperfusion

FRIDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Fewer than half of patients admitted with acute ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) receive the timely reperfusion they need to improve their survival, according to a study in the January issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Metabolic Syndrome Accelerates Aortic Stiffness

FRIDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Aortic stiffness progresses more quickly in patients with metabolic syndrome, according to a longitudinal study in the January issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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B-Type Natriuretic Peptides Help Assess Heart Problems

FRIDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) and amino terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NTproBNP) perform equally well as biomarkers in patients with stable ischemic heart disease, according to a study in the January issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Both markers predict heart failure and all-cause mortality, and can rule out severely reduced left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF).

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FDA to Allow Health Claims for Barley-Containing Foods

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced that whole-grain barley and barley-containing products can include claims of cardiovascular benefits on the product labeling.

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Top 10 Advances in Cardiac Research in 2005

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- The use of stem-like cells from a patient's own bone marrow to restore heart function is top on the list of the 10 major advances in heart disease and stroke research in 2005, according to the American Heart Association. The second most important advance was an experimental new drug, varenicline, which may help more smokers kick the habit. In a clinical trial of about 2,000 patients evaluating a placebo, bupropion or varenicline, quit rates were 17.7%, 30% and 44%, respectively.

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Risk Jumps in Middle-Age if Sibling Has Heart Disease

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Middle-aged adults who have a sibling with cardiovascular disease (CVD) have a 45% increase in risk for CVD, greater than that conferred by having two parents with CVD, according to a study in the Dec. 28th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Heat Increases Blood Pressure in Elderly Hypertensives

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Because hot weather increases nighttime systolic blood pressure in elderly hypertensives, high blood pressure treatment in such patients may need to be monitored more closely during the summer, according to a study published online Dec. 27 in Hypertension.

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Two With Sickle Cell Have Stroke When Transfusions End

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Children with sickle cell disease who discontinue prophylactic blood transfusions often develop abnormal transcranial blood flow and are at high risk for stroke, according to a report in the Dec. 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Angioplasty Best For Thrombolytic Refractory MI

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Emergency percutaneous coronary intervention (rescue PCI) improves event-free survival in patients with acute myocardial infarction (MI) who are refractory to thrombolytic therapy, according to a study in the Dec. 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Nearly 60% of Older Americans Have Hearing Loss

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Hearing loss is present in nearly 60% of elderly Americans, and it is more common in whites than blacks, according to a study published in the December issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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Amiodarone Halves Post-Op Atrial Tachyarrhythmias

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Results of a large multicenter trial of patients undergoing elective heart surgery shows that a 13-day perioperative course with amiodarone cuts the incidence of sustained atrial tachyarrhythmia in half, according to results of PAPABEAR, published in the Dec. 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Coma Outcomes on Soap Operas Too Good to Be True

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Coma patients in soap operas experience significantly rosier outcomes than their real-life counterparts, according to a study published in the Dec. 24 issue of the British Medical Journal.

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Thromboembolism Syndrome After Surgery on the Rise

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Surgical patients are becoming more vulnerable to perioperative acute thromboembolism syndrome because of the increasing incidence of comorbid conditions, including cardiac and cerebrovascular diseases, metabolic diseases and cancer, according to a study published in the December issue of the Archives of Surgery.

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New U.K. Guidelines for Heart Disease, Stroke Prevention

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- British researchers issued new criteria for the prevention of heart disease and stroke that are likely to increase the number of people targeted for screening and treatment. The guidelines are published in a supplement to the December issue of Heart.

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Fish Oil May Counteract Pollution's Effect on Heart

MONDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Supplementation with fish oil may help prevent a decline in heart rate variability (HRV) associated with exposure to particulate matter, according to a study of elderly subjects published Dec. 15 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Sorry, Celebrants: Hangover Cures Don't Work

MONDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that there is no conventional or complementary intervention that will prevent or treat a hangover, according to a study published in the Dec. 24 issue of the British Medical Journal.

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Short Drinks May Have More Kick Than Tall Ones

MONDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Because of human perceptual bias, alcoholic beverages mixed in short, wide tumblers may be more potent than those mixed in taller and more slender highball glasses, according to a study published in the Dec. 24 issue of the British Medical Journal.

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Atherosclerotic Plaque Rupture Linked To Cell Enzyme

FRIDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- The expression of an active form of the enzyme MMP-9 in mice with atherosclerosis appears to trigger plaque rupture that can lead to heart attack or stroke, according to a study in the Dec. 22 online edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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Dark Chocolate May Improve Vascular Function in Smokers

THURSDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that may reduce the negative effects of smoking on platelet reactivity and endothelial cell function, and lower smokers' risks of developing atherosclerosis, according to a scientific letter published in the January issue of Heart.

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Intensive Therapy Cuts Complication Risk for Diabetics

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Intensive therapy aimed at glycemic control reduces the risk of vascular and neurologic complications in type 1 diabetes, according to a study in the Dec. 22 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Experimental Stent Coating May Deliver Gene Therapy

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- An experimental coating for metallic stents can deliver genes to blood vessels and may be useful for treating arterial restenosis with gene therapy, according to a study published online Dec. 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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New Risk Factor for Atherosclerosis Identified

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Endothelial lipase (EL), a molecule previously associated with atherosclerosis in mice, may also be a risk factor for atherosclerosis in humans, according to a study published online Dec. 19 in the open access Public Library of Science Medicine.

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Hospital 'Handoffs' Common Source of Medical Errors

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Poor communication during hospital "handoffs," when patient care transitions from one physician or team of physicians to the next, may be responsible for many of the estimated 44,000 to 98,000 deaths that occur each year in U.S. hospitals due to medical errors, according to a study published in the December issue of Academic Medicine.

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Genetic Test for Long QT Syndrome Developed

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have developed a novel and efficient genetic testing method for long QT syndrome (LQTS) that may improve treatment for patients, as well as reduce cost and make genetic testing more widely available, according to a study in the Dec. 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Erectile Dysfunction May Be Harbinger of Heart Disease

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Men with erectile dysfunction (ED) may be more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than their peers without ED, according to a study in the Dec. 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Low Fitness of U.S. Teens and Adults Linked to CVD Risk

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- About one-third of teens and 14% of adults in the United States have poor cardiorespiratory fitness, and those less-fit individuals tend to have other cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, such as a higher body mass index and elevated cholesterol, according to a study published in the Dec. 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Chronic Exposure to Pollution Boosts Atherosclerosis in Mice

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- In mice susceptible to heart disease, chronic exposure to even low doses of air pollution alters vasomotor tone, causes vascular inflammation and potentiates atherosclerosis, according to a study in the Dec. 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Exposure to particulate matter boosts plaque accumulation in animals fed either a low-fat or high-fat diet.

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Company Recalls NeutroSpec Imaging Agent After Deaths

MONDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Acting at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the makers of NeutroSpec (Technetium 99m Tc fanolesomab), an imaging agent approved to diagnose appendicitis, are voluntarily withdrawing the product from the market.

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Bariatric Surgeries Jump 450% in U.S. in Five Years

MONDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- A 450% increase in bariatric surgeries in the United States between 1998 and 2002 could be tied to the growth of laparoscopic bariatric surgery, according to a study in the December issue of the Archives of Surgery.

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Diesel Exhaust Impairs Cardiovascular Function

MONDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Inhaling diesel exhaust fumes at levels common in big cities impairs vascular function in humans, according to a new study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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More Hospitals Offer Palliative Care Programs

FRIDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Palliative care programs are a rapidly growing trend in U.S. hospitals, and widely regarded as an improvement in the care of advanced, chronic illness, according to a study published Dec. 12 in the Journal of Palliative Medicine.

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Disease-Related Internet Use Expected to Increase

THURSDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Chronically ill adult patients are frequent users of the Internet to get information about their condition and seek mutual support, and they say they expect to increase their use in the future to contact their care providers, according to a study in the January issue of the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

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Muscle Mass Affects Urinary Albumin/Creatinine Ratio

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- A high albumin/creatinine ratio in patients with a low muscle mass can be an indication of low urinary creatinine rather than microalbuminuria and by association, cardiovascular disease, according to a study published online Dec. 12 in Hypertension.

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More Lupus Patients Getting Cholesterol Treatment

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Although more patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are receiving treatment for elevated cholesterol and hypertension, many still remain untreated, according to a report in the January 2006 issue of the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

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Atrial Overdrive Pacing Not Effective for Sleep Apnea

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Atrial overdrive pacing (AOP) does not appear to be effective for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome, at least in a group of middle-aged, obese patients, according to a report in the Dec. 15 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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High Cholesterol Linked to High Blood Pressure in Men

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Men who have elevated total cholesterol are at greater risk of developing hypertension than those with low cholesterol levels, according to a study published online Dec. 12 in Hypertension.

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Cholesterol Levels Rising Among Young Adults in U.S.

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Despite the fact that the overall prevalence of hypercholesterolemia has been falling for decades, cholesterol levels among young adults have begun to rise, according to a study published online on Dec. 12 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. In addition, the use of lipid-lowering medication has doubled in patients over age 35 in a decade, while the medications are hardly used by the 25- to 34-year-old age group.

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Combo Therapy Helps Black Heart Failure Patients

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- In black patients with heart failure, fixed-dose combination therapy using isosorbide dinitrate/hydralazine (ISDN/HYD) not only improves outcomes but also reduces the overall cost of care, according to a study published online Dec. 12 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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U.S. Hospitals Lag in Adopting Safety Recommendations

TUESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Despite some improvements in hospital patient safety systems, many hospitals have made slow progress in adopting 1998 recommendations from the Institute of Medicine National Roundtable on Health Care Quality or from subsequent reports, according to a study published in the Dec. 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Antihypertensive Drugs Offer Limited Renoprotection

MONDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Beyond lowering blood pressure, antihypertensive drugs may have no additional renoprotective effects in either diabetic or non-diabetic patients with renal disease, according to a study in the Dec. 10 issue of The Lancet.

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Untreated Stroke Kills 1.9 Million Neurons Per Minute

MONDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- A typical untreated stroke patient loses an estimated 1.9 million neurons a minute, according to a study published in the January issue of Stroke. In all, the average stroke lasts 10 hours, and patients experiencing a typical large vessel acute ischemic stroke lose 120 million neurons, 830 billion synapses and 714 km of myelinated fibers each hour.

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FDA Warns Paxil Could Increase Risk of Birth Defects

MONDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned that Paxil (paroxetine) could increase the risk of birth defects, particularly cardiac defects, if taken during the first three months of pregnancy. Paxil should not be taken during pregnancy unless other treatment options are not available, the FDA said in a statement.

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Adherence to Medication Linked to Lower CHF Deaths

MONDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Adherence to medication more than 80% of the time is associated with better outcomes for patients under treatment for chronic heart failure (CHF), and the results are the same whether the medication is the angiotensin receptor blocker candesartan or a placebo, according to a study in the Dec. 10 issue of The Lancet.

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Exercise Delays Heart Failure Symptoms in Rat Study

FRIDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Low-level exercise delays decompensated heart failure and extends survival in hypertensive rats, according to a study in the November issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology.

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Myocardial Infarction Increases Stroke Risk

FRIDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of stroke in patients rises markedly after myocardial infarction, according to study findings published in the Dec. 6 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Personal Fulfillment Motivates Adolescents to Get Fit

THURSDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Personal fulfillment, including such factors as enjoyment of physical activity and a desire to become fit, is what motivates most adolescents to become physically active, according to a study published in the December issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

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Obesity Increases Risk of Pregnancy Complications

THURSDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Obese women have up to a fivefold higher risk of maternal complications, including hypertension and wound infection, compared with normal-weight women, according to a study published in the December issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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FDA Seizes Ephedra-Containing Supplements

THURSDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Citing potential hazards to the heart, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday seized almost 3,000 bottles of Nature's Treat Energy Plus #1, an ephedra-containing dietary supplement from two distributors in Texas and Oregon.

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New Guidelines Issued on Peripheral Arterial Disease

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Concerned about the increasing incidence of peripheral arterial disease in the United States, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association issued new guidelines this week for the early detection of the artery-clogging disease.

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Hospitalization for Pneumonia on the Rise Among Elderly

TUESDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Hospitalizations for pneumonia increased by 20% between 1988 and 2002 in patients aged 64 to 85, and an increasing prevalence of comorbid conditions such as heart disease and diabetes may be the reason why, according to a report in the Dec. 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. One in 20 patients over age 85 is hospitalized for pneumonia every year.

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Low-Fat Diet for Infant Boys Pays Off Later

MONDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- A low-fat diet introduced in infancy and maintained for 10 years boosts boys' endothelial function and cuts their serum cholesterol, according to a study published online Dec. 5 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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FDA Issues Warning on Radiodiagnostic Agent

MONDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that a radiodiagnostic agent, NeutroSpec (Technetium [99m Tc] fanolesomab), has been linked to two deaths due to cardiopulmonary failure and other cases of life-threatening cardiopulmonary events.

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Sharp Drop in Emergency Bypass After Angioplasty

FRIDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- The number of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) patients requiring emergency coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) dropped sharply from 1979 to 2003, but the mortality rate for emergency CABG has remained high and constant during that period, according to a study published in the Dec. 6 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Ultrafiltration Effective for Patients with Heart Failure

FRIDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Two new studies suggest that in patients with heart failure, ultrafiltration can induce fluid removal and weight loss in an effective and well-tolerated manner, as well as reduce length of hospital stay and readmission. The studies were published in the Dec. 6 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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CDC Says Most Americans Still Too Sedentary

FRIDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Despite government efforts, more than half of U.S. adults remain at an insufficient level of physical activity to benefit their health, according to the Dec. 2 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. More public health efforts at all levels are needed to get Americans exercising regularly, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Sports Medicine.

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Depression Affects Drug Adherence for Comorbidities

FRIDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Two new studies suggest that depression plays an important role in whether or not patients adhere to medication regimens for other conditions. In one study, taking depression medication was associated with adherence to diabetes and coronary artery disease (CAD) medication, while in the other non-adherence to medication for coronary heart disease (CHD) was associated with major depression. Both studies were published in the Nov. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Lay Defibrillation Improves Cardiac Arrest Survival

THURSDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- The use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) by trained laypeople can triple survival rates among patients suffering out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, according to a study published Dec. 1 in the European Heart Journal.

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Sleep-Disordered Breathing Increases Stroke Risk

THURSDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) has been linked to an increased risk of stroke and may contribute to the development of strokes, researchers report in the December issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Allergic Disorders May Be Linked to Atherosclerosis

THURSDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Common allergic disorders such as asthma and allergic rhinitis may be associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis, according to an analysis of two studies published in the Nov. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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