New drug may stop heart attack without side effects

Scientists claim they are a step closer to developing a new drug to stop heart attack in its tracks and reduce the damage caused, without any side effects.

Researchers from the the Monash University in Australia offer new hope to thousands of people who experience heart attacks and heart failure – one of the major causes of death worldwide.

They showed new insights into a specific protein belonging to the family of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs).

After successfully combining two molecules, they say they are a step closer to creating a brand new class of drug that is more targeted and could possess minimal side effects.

GPCRs play a role in virtually every biological process and most diseases, including, cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes, neuropsychiatric disorder, inflammation and cancer, researchers said.

Almost half of all current medications available use GPCRs to achieve their therapeutic effect.

Current GPCR drugs work either by fully activating or completely blocking receptors, treating the protein like a simple “on-off” switch.

The new research discovered alternative recognition sites on GPCRs that can be targeted by drugs to fine-tune the behaviour of the protein, basically converting the “on-off” switch into a “dimmer switch”.

“Correct dosage has been a serious challenge in clinical trials for A1 receptor drugs. The consequences are serious; a dosage that is too high can stop the heart from beating. Too low, and the drug fails to prevent cell damage. Getting this balance right has been a big problem,” said researcher Peter Scammells.

The study focused on finding new ways to activate the protein, to achieve the beneficial effects (protection) without the side effects (slowing the heart), researchers said.

The study was published in the journal PNAS.

Source: Times of India

Man dies of heart attack caused by … nail biting

It’s a good thing you listened to your mom when she told you not to bite your nails: The bad habit ended up costing one UK man his life.

John Gardener, a 40-year-old amateur football referee, bit his fingernails so badly that they bled—leading to an infection that turned septic and caused a fatal heart attack,

Gardener may have become immune to the pain after years of nail-biting; his doctor says the man’s fingernails were “always in poor condition and … often bleeding,” and he’d lost nearly all feeling in them.

The habit had only gotten worse in recent years, as he also suffered from anxiety and depression. He was admitted to the hospital in September with septicemia, and was initially treated just with antibiotics because he didn’t want to lose his finger, but eight days later, doctors were forced to amputate the tip.

Even so, he died two weeks after being admitted, despite showing signs of improvement and no fever. His surgeon says Gardener’s death was “upsetting and shocking.” His mother insists, “there could’ve been more done to help him.” The family is taking action against the hospital

Gardener, who was also diabetic, had previously had his lower right leg amputated due to leg ulcers.

Source: Fox news

BP reading above normal may up risk of stroke

A new study has found that any blood pressure reading higher than the normal 120/80 mmHg may increase the risk of stroke.

The meta-analysis looked at all of the available research on the risk of developing stroke in people with “prehypertension,” or blood pressure higher than optimal but lower than the threshold to be diagnosed with high blood pressure, which is 140/90 mmHg.

A total of 19 prospective cohort studies with more than 760,000 participants were included in the analysis, and participants were followed for time periods ranging from four to 36 years. From 25 to 54 percent of study participants had pre-high blood pressure.

The analysis found that people with pre-high blood pressure were 66 percent more likely to develop a stroke than people who had normal blood pressure.

The results were the same after researchers adjusted for other factors that could increase the risk of stroke, such as high cholesterol, diabetes and smoking.

The researchers determined that nearly 20 percent of strokes in the study population were due to pre-high blood pressure.

Considering the high proportion of the population who have higher than normal blood pressure, successful treatment of this condition could prevent many strokes and make a major difference in public health, study author Dingli Xu, of Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, said.

The study is published in the online issue of journal Neurology®.

Source: Daily news and analysis

10 things that happen during a heart attack

The number of people who suffer from heart disease is constantly on the rise. Many die due to heart attacks and doctors tirelessly tell you about the classic symptoms of the condition. But do you know what exactly happens inside your body and to your heart during a heart attack? Well, here is a look at a heart attack from your body’s perspective.

1. Most heart attacks happen because of a blockage in the blood vessels that supply the muscles of the heart. This blockage happens because of plaque (a sticky substance that is made of fats, cholesterol and white blood cells) buildup on the arterial walls of the heart

2. When this plaque gets disturbed it breaks up into a number of tiny pieces that then go an lodge themselves in various places.

3. Thinking that there is a threat to your blood vessel, your red blood cells and white blood cells go an attach themselves to the plaque (just like the would in the case of a wound). While this is a repair mechanism, these cells end up blocking the blood vessel.

4. Once blocked the blood flowing through the heart stops and can no more reach the other parts of the heart muscle. Because of lack of oxygen those parts of the heart muscle start to die.

5. Your body then realizing that the heart is not working properly goes into the ‘fight or flight’ mode. It sends signal to the spinal cord that the heart in trouble.

6. The spinal cord in turn sends a message to your brain which it interprets as pain in the jaw, left hand and chest – also known as referred pain

7. In an attempt to survive your body starts to sweat profusely (this is actually a very useful mechanism since it makes you look ill and people are more likely to take you to the hospital).

8. Your breathing also becomes labored as your heart can no longer supply your lungs with blood and oxygen, so it also stops functioning optimally.

9. Apart from the lungs the brain also gets affected and one starts feeling dizzy. This is when you are likely to collapse from lack of oxygen to the essential organs of your body.

10. The muscles of your heart that have been deprived of oxygen die. The sad part is that once a part of the heart muscle dies it can never be regenerated.

Incidentally when you suffer a heart attack, the first one hour from onset is the most crucial time and your life could be saved if you are given adequate medical care within that time. Doctors call this the ‘golden hour’ as it is the only time that dying muscle fibers, the rest of the heart and other organs can be salvaged.

Source: Health India

Shingles dramatically increases heart disease, stroke risk

If you’ve had shingles before the age of 40, you could be at an increased risk for heart disease and stroke.

According to Counsel & Heal, researchers followed individuals for an average of 6.3 years after they had contracted shingles. The study found that participants who had shingles before age 40 were 50 percent more likely to have a heart attack than people who did not have the disease; they were also 74 percent more likely to have a stroke.

Given these findings, lead researcher Dr. Judith Breuer of University College London recommended that anyone with shingles be screened for heart and stroke risk factors.

“The shingles vaccine has been shown to reduce the number of cases of shingles by about 50 percent,” Breuer told Counsel & Heal.

Current shingles vaccination recommendations are for anyone over the age of 60. Researchers have yet to determine the role of vaccination in younger individuals, Breuer said.

Source: Fresh news US

Drinking three cups of tea a day can cut stroke risk by 20

Drinking three cups of tea a day can cut the risk of a stroke by a fifth, research claims.

An overview of previous studies found Britain’s favourite drink protects against the brain clots that kill 200 people every day.

A new study has revealed that just three cups of tea a day can slash the risk of a stroke by around 20 percent.

Source: Express


Soon, pill to prevent stroke, heart attack

A pill to prevent stroke, University of North Carolina discover for a new class of antithrombotic therapies

Researchers have uncovered a key platelet protein that may offer a new angle for developing drugs to prevent stroke and heart attack.

Lead study author Stephen Holly , PhD, assistant professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, said that I think we’re at the start of an exciting journey of drug discovery for a new class of antithrombotic therapies.
In the human circulatory system, platelets are something of a double-edged sword. Without their clotting abilities, even a minor injury could result in potentially fatal bleeding.

But during a heart attack or stroke, platelets form a clot that can potentially block blood flow through our veins and arteries, a dangerous condition called thrombosis, which can deprive tissues of oxygen and lead to death.

Holly and his colleagues uncovered several potential drug targets using a screening technique that has never before been applied to the cardiovascular system.

The technique, called activity-based protein profiling, has been used in cancer research and allows researchers to track the actual activities of proteins operating within a cell.

The team first pre-screened human platelets to narrow the field of drug-like compounds then generated an activity-based protein profile using one of these compounds to single out proteins that play a role in platelet activation.

This new knowledge of platelets’ natural “on-off” switches could be exploited to develop drugs that keep platelets from forming pathological blood clots. As a next step, the researchers hope to investigate the proteins’ roles in animal models before potentially pursuing clinical trials in humans.

The study has been published online in the journal Chemistry and Biology.