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Losartan No Better Than Atenolol in Marfan’s Syndrome (18 Nov 2014)

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Beta-blockers have been the standard treatment for people with Marfan’s syndrome, a rare inherited connective tissue disorder that affects about 1 in 5000 people. The goal of treatment is to prevent or slow down the dilation of the aorta and avoid aortic dissection, the main cause of death. In recent years, studies have raised the…

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Don’t Count the Numbers. HDL Function Looks Like the Key (18 Nov 2014)

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A new study offers important evidence explaining the protective role of HDL cholesterol against cardiovascular disease. Previous studies with drugs that increase HDL levels, including niacin and CETP inhibitors, have not been found beneficial. The new study suggests that simply increasing HDL levels isn’t useful. Instead, cholesterol efflux, the ability of HDL to remove cholesterol from…

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Large Japanese Trial Casts Further Doubt on Aspirin for Primary Prevention (17 Nov 2014)

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A large trial from Japan failed to provide any evidence to support the use of routine aspirin in high-risk elderly people to prevent a first cardiovascular event. The Japanese Primary Prevention Project (JPPP),  presented at the American Heart Association meeting in Chicago and published simultaneously in JAMA, enrolled patients between 60 and 85 years of age with hypertension, dyslipidemia,…

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IMPROVE-IT Meets Endpoint and Demonstrates Real But Modest Clinical Benefit for Ezetimibe (17 Nov 2014)

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After all the waiting and all the controversy it turned out to be pretty simple. The IMPROVE-IT trial did what it set out to do and reached its primary endpoint. The benefit wasn’t very big or impressive but it will be enough to put to rest concerns that ezetimibe might have been an expensive placebo…

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Newly Identified Mutations Act Like a Lifetime of Treatment with Ezetimibe (12 Nov 2014)

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A very large genetic study published in the New England Journal of Medicine offers compelling evidence in support of a central role for LDL cholesterol in coronary heart disease. In a series of studies analyzing blood samples from nearly 100,000 people, Sekar Kathiresan and colleagues identified 15 rare mutations that block the activity of a single gene…

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Popular Diets Achieve Only Modest Long-Term Weight Loss (12 Nov 2014)

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Four of the most popular current weight loss diets produce at best only modest long-term benefits, a new study published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes shows. The study also found few significant differences across the four diets, offering little hope that any one diet can produce a serious dent in the obesity epidemic. Mark Eisenberg…

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What You Need to Know About IMPROVE-IT (7 Nov 2014)

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The IMPROVE-IT trial will be big news when its results are finally presented on November 17 during the annual meeting of the American Heart Association. The results of the trial — underway for nearly a decade — have been long and eagerly awaited by everyone interested in cardiovascular medicine.  The trial could impact the future sales of a key Merck drug, ezetimibe; because it is…

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Nonobstructive Coronary Artery Disease Linked to Elevated Risk (4 Nov 2014)

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A large number of people who undergo elective coronary angiography are found to have nonobstructive coronary artery disease, and these patients have significantly increased risk for myocardial infarction and death, according to a retrospective study published in JAMA. Thomas Maddox and colleagues analyzed data from nearly 38,000 elective angiography patients in the VA health system. More…

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AF Patients at Increased Risk for Silent Strokes (3 Nov 2014)

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The increased risk of stroke in people with atrial fibrillation (AF) is well known, and this stroke risk is, of course, linked to an increased risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. Less well known is that people with AF have an increased risk for cognitive impairment independent of their stroke risk. Now a new study…

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Economic Study Finds VTE Prophylaxis with Low-Molecular-Weight Heparin Cost Effective (3 Nov 2014)

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Critically ill patients in the hospital are at high risk for developing venous thromboembolism (VTE). The 2011 PROTECT trial compared the two most common drug strategies used to prevent VTE — unfractionated heparin (UFH) and dalteparin, a low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) —  and found no difference between the two groups in the primary endpoint of the trial, leg deep-vein thrombosis….

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