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Heart Failure

Heart Failure Research

The following research focuses on new approaches to prevent and treat heart disease and its complications:

Heart attack indications

Higher-than-normal blood levels of homocysteine (involved in cellular metabolism and the manufacture of proteins), C-reactive protein (involved in inflammation), and fibrinogen (involved in inflammation and blood clotting) indicate that a person has a much greater risk of a heart attack.

Heart disease genes

Researchers have identified several gene variants that increase a person's risk of developing heart disease. The hope is that this will lead the development of more effective drugs designed for special populations.

Air pollutants (such as diesel exhaust particles) have been shown to interact with dietary saturated fats and trans fatty acids by activating genes involved in blood vessel inflammation, which has been associated with the development of atherosclerosis .

Metabolic syndrome studies

A low carbohydrate diet may help people with metabolic syndrome. Low carbohydrate diets appear to alter hormonal signaling and improve the sense of fullness after meals. As a result, people eat less and lose weight.

An analysis of the Framingham Heart Study indicates that middle-aged adults who drink more than one soft drink daily (diet or regular) have a 40% greater rate of either having or developing metabolic syndrome.

Repairing a damaged heart

A recent animal study implanted heart muscle cells derived from embryonic stem cells into heart muscle damaged by a heart attack. The grafts helped thicken the weakened heart walls and improved the heart's function. The new process also greatly improves the process of converting stem cells into heart muscle cells and surviving implantation. The study shows promise for human stem-cell-based treatments for heart disease.

Wearable Bluetooth heart monitor

A prototype wearable Bluetooth heart monitor is being developed. The device periodically records a person's electrocardiogram (ECG) and uses radio frequency signals to transmit the information to a modified mobile phone. If the ECG signal indicates imminent heart failure, the phone sends a message to the nearest medical center.