Skipping breakfast linked to higher odds of clogged arteries

January 15, 2018

Source: Harvard Heart Health newsletter

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Date of publication:  January 2018

Publication type: Bulletin

In a nutshell:  New research supports the old adage that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A study of more than 4,000 middle-aged adults in Spain found that those who ate breakfast were less likely to have artery-clogging plaque (atherosclerosis) than those who avoided a morning meal.

On average, the participants ate just over 2,300 calories per day. Nearly 3% didn’t eat breakfast, while about 27% ate a hearty breakfast and nearly 70% ate a skimpier breakfast. Researchers used ultrasound to check their arteries for early evidence of atherosclerosis, as they described in the October 2017 Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Nearly 75% of the breakfast skippers had signs of plaque buildup, compared with 57% of those who ate a big breakfast and 64% of those who ate a lighter morning meal.

Breakfast fans tended to eat more healthfully over all and were less likely to be obese or have high blood pressure, diabetes, or unhealthy cholesterol levels. But even with those factors taken into account, skipping breakfast was still linked to a higher risk of atherosclerosis.

Length of publication:  1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement: Harvard Heart Health newsletter

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Uncovering the connection between sleep and heart health

January 15, 2018

Source: Harvard Heart Health newsletter

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Date of publication:  January 2018

Publication type: Bulletin

In a nutshell:  Sleeping either too little or too much has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease. But how much do other interconnected factors — namely, activity levels and body weight — affect this observation?

In an effort to find out, researchers studied nearly 240,000 healthy adults ages 51 to 72 who were part of a nationwide health study. The investigators examined the influence of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, television viewing, and body mass index on sleep duration and death rates.

During an average of 14 years of follow-up, just over 44,000 people died. Compared with people who slept seven to eight hours per day, those with either shorter or longer snooze times were more likely to die of heart disease. How long a person exercised or was sedentary (inferred by TV-watching time) did not appear to affect the connection between sleep and mortality. But among people who were overweight or obese, sleeping less than seven hours per day was strongly linked to a higher risk of death from heart disease. The study appeared in the Oct. 3, 2017, American Journal of Epidemiology.

Length of publication:  1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement:  Harvard Heart Health newsletter


Fewer women would die from heart attacks if given same treatments as men

January 15, 2018

Source: British Heart Foundation

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Date of publication:  January 2018

Publication type: Research

In a nutshell:  Fewer of the thousands of women who suffer a heart attack each year in the UK would die if they were given the same treatments as men, according to new research part funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers at the University of Leeds and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden used data from Sweden’s extensive online cardiac registry, SWEDEHEART, to monitor the long-term health of 180,368 patients who suffered a heart attack between 1st January 2003 and 31st December 2013.

After accounting for the expected number of deaths seen in the average population, the researchers found that women had an excess mortality of up to three times higher than men’s in the year after having a heart attack. The excess mortality is the extra deaths in the people who have a disease, above and beyond what you might expect in the general population. It helps to separate the deaths are due to a specific disease (in this case heart attacks) from deaths due to other causes. This is important because it adjust for the fact that women generally live longer than men.

Women were more likely to suffer from other illnesses, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, but these did not fully account for the excess mortality.

However, women were on average less likely than men to receive the recommended treatments after a heart attack.

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement: British Heart Foundation


Scientists study early heart growth to help heart attack patients

January 15, 2018

Source: British Heart Foundation

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Date of publication:  January 2018

Publication type: Research

In a nutshell:  Scientists at the University of Cambridge are to study how the heart grows at its earliest moments in an effort to help heart attack patients.

Dr Sanjay Sinha has been awarded £183,000 by the BHF to identify different cells within the epicardium – the outer layer of the heart that plays an important role in the development of the heart and its response to injury (a heart attack).

The cells have different levels of a variety of key proteins, such as TCF21 and WT1. These proteins  are believed to play a critical role by controlling the growth of cells which eventually form the connective tissues and blood vessels of the heart in an embryo. Dr Sinha will be studying the differences between the epicardial cells to see if some cells have better regenerative properties than others.

After a heart attack, damage to the heart muscle is irreversible as the heart does not repair itself or replace damaged tissue. This can lead heart failure, a condition where the heart is less able to pump blood around the body.

Unlike some fish and amphibians, humans are unable to replace or regenerate lost heart muscle. However, by determining how the epicardium controls heart cell growth in the embryo, Dr Sinha believes it might be possible to ‘switch on’ this ability in adults.

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement: British Heart Foundation


Middle-aged can reverse heart risk with exercise, study suggests

January 15, 2018

Source: BBC Health News

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Date of publication: January 2018

Publication type: News item

In a nutshell:  The study, published in the journal Circulation, analysed the hearts of 53 adults aged 45-64 who were healthy but had no history of exercising regularly.

Research has shown that sedentary behaviours – such as sitting or reclining for long periods of time – increase the risk of heart disease.

The study’s participants were divided into two groups, with one following an aerobic exercise routine that progressed in intensity over the two years and another doing yoga, balance training and weight training three times a week, also for two years.

The aerobic exercise group showed an 18% improvement in their maximum oxygen intake during exercise and a more than 25% improvement in “plasticity” in the left ventricular muscle of the heart – both markers of a healthier heart.

Length of publication:  1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement:  BBC Health News