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Association Between Shorter Height and Heart Disease Largely Explained by Genes (9 Apr 2015)

The “well-established” link between shorter adult height and increased risk for coronary artery disease (CAD) is largely explained by height-associated genetic variants, researchers conclude in the New England Journal of Medicine. Using data from genome-wide association studies, the researchers examined the relationship between 180 height-associated genetic variants and CAD among 65,000 cases (adults with histories…

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Weight-Loss Programs: Slim Evidence and Thin Results (6 Apr 2015)

A new study concludes that some weight-loss programs may be slightly better than other programs but that in the long run none of the programs have been able to show a substantial weight loss over a sustained period. For even the best programs, an editorialist writes, “weight loss is modest and likely below patients’ expectations.”…

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Cardiac Arrest During Exercise in Middle-Aged People (6 Apr 2015)

Dropping dead while exercising is a common fear, especially among middle-aged men. Unfortunately there have been limited data on the precise rate of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in middle-aged people and little understanding about the medical history of the victims of SCA. Now a new study fills in some important gaps in knowledge and shows that this…

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Global Cardiovascular Deaths Continue to Rise Despite Gains in Prevention and Treatment (2 Apr 2015)

Improvements in the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease haven’t been able to prevent a worldwide rise in cardiovascular deaths in a growing and aging population, according to the authors of a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Using mortality data from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013, the authors set out to “disentangle”…

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New Consensus for Managing Hypertension in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease (31 Mar 2015)

There’s been a lot of drama in the hypertension field over the past few years. Initially sparked by the decision of the National Institutes of Health to halt its sponsorship of national guidelines, the subsequent appearance of multiple guidelines with divergent recommendations led to even more controversy and discussion. Now, however, the appearance of a…

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How Do You Like Them Apples? (30 Mar 2015)

An apple a day does not appear to keep the doctor away but, a new study semi-seriously suggests, it may keep the pharmacist away. Although apples have long been considered a healthy snack, whether eating apples actually reduces healthcare use has not been assessed until now. In a paper published in JAMA Internal Medicine researchers…

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FDA Grants Premarket Approval to AbioMed Heart Pump (24 Mar 2015)

The FDA said on Tuesday that it had approved Abiomed’s Impella 2.5 System. According to the company, it is is the first hemodynamic support device to gain FDA approval for use during high risk PCI procedures. The miniature blood pump is designed for temporary use in patients with severe symptomatic coronary artery disease and diminished (but…

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Dangerous Interaction: New Hepatitis C Drug and Old Arrhythmia Drug (23 Mar 2015)

Late last week Gilead Sciences issued a warning about a rare but potentially fatal interaction between its stellar new hepatitis C drug sofosbuvir and amiodarone, a potent but tricky antiarrhythmic agent. Sofosbuvir is marketed as Sovaldi and, in combination with another antiviral agent, as Harvoni. Amiodarone is a class III antiarrhythmic with a number of…

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CABG vs. PCI for Multivessel CAD: Do Second-Generation Stents Make a Difference (17 Mar 2015)

Second-generation stents narrow the gap between coronary artery bypass grafting and percutaneous coronary intervention for nondiabetic patients with multivessel disease.

Vitamin D Supplements Do Not Appear to Lower Blood Pressure (17 Mar 2015)

Vitamin D supplements do not effectively lower blood pressure, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis in JAMA Internal Medicine. Low serum vitamin D levels have previously been associated with elevated blood pressure and cardiovascular events.