Heart Disease, Natural Health and Understanding Inflammation Factors

In a recent study, researchers of heart health conducted tests and documented the development of heart failure in an ethnically diverse group of nearly 7,000 men and women, age 45 to 84. This tracking began in 2000.

In this group, 79 developed congestive heart failure. 35 from this sub-group (44 percent) were physically obese. These people have a body mass index, or BMI, of 30 or more. And on average, participants who were obese, were found to have higher levels of several key immune system proteins involved in inflammation in their blood, than non-obese adults.

One specific key immune system protein, interleukin 6, showed double of average levels. The elevated level of this protein alone accounted for an 84 percent greater risk of developing heart failure in the study members.

Research groups from several universities in the US have found connections between inflammation and a high risk mix of heart disease factors labeled the ‘metabolic syndrome’. This syndrome, or collection of risk factors for heart disease and diabetes – high blood pressure, elevated blood glucose levels, excess abdominal fat and abnormal cholesterol levels, but, particularly obesity – double a person’s chances of developing heart failure.

Add exercise as a possible lifestyle change:

“Researchers at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta who measured the effects of an eight-week yoga regimen on 19 heart failure patients found the exercise routine reduced markers of inflammation associated with heart failure while also improving exercise tolerance and quality of life.Patients who did yoga saw a 26 percent decrease in symptoms on a standard assessment that measures quality of life in heart failure patients, compared to a 3 percent decrease for the patients on medical therapy alone.

“Yoga is aerobic. It is not surprising, in terms of its effects on the inflammatory markers,” said Dr. Nieca Goldberg, who prescribes both yoga and tai chi, a Chinese martial art, to her heart failure and heart attack patients.”

Medical Research Excellence – Health-e-Child

A European Project.

The work, which lasted about 2 years, is developed with the collaboration of the Pediatric Hospital Giannina Gaslini of Genoa, the London Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital and the Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris. Since January 2006 Health-e-Child was financed by several partners for a total budget of almost 17 million, most of them from the European Union.

Current limits.

Many diseases that affect childhood are particularly complex both for diagnosis and for treatment: a difficult situation made worse from the rarity of certain diseases. The search for a appropriate cure can become a real ordeal for young patients.

Health-e-Child aims to facilitate the overcoming of these obstacles, helping to optimize the existing procedures, many times unsatisfactory.

Share excellence.

Health-e-Child is an integrated research project, funded under the Sixth Framework Program of the European Union, in order to develop a computerized system supporting clinical diagnosis and research in pediatrics, based on the vertical integration of medical statistical data and biomedical knowledge: from anamnesis to diagnostic imaging, from genetics to epidemiology; simplifying the clinical practice through modeling of disease and activation of knowledge discovery automatic systems.


Based on the concept of knowledge sharing to enhance the intellectual capital, the system allows to bring together all the clinical data of young patients, read and interpret them thanks to an innovative model of distributed computing, linking the major European pediatric hospitals and gradually enlarge the network and the entire system everywhere, increasing the number of diseases treated and the action fields (beyond the original areas: cardiology, oncology and rheumatology), and make this platform a valuable tool to help diagnosis, built on knowledge gained in clinical centers of excellence.

In this way is reduced the risk of diagnostic errors and improved the recovery of information and surgical equipment skills.

The wind tunnel of medicine.

How explains in fact one of the responsible of the project:

“If Ferrari has to test a shock absorber for the Canadian Grand Prix obviously does not bring the car and shock on the racing track of the North American country, but tries to rebuilt in its laboratories all conditions that can be created. With Health-e-Child is the same. Instead of studying what can happen to various parameters of the heart, such as its ability to contract or the activity of a valve, the professional works virtually on his computer perfectly recreating the event to be verified.”

Practically, referring to documentation recorded in the database, you can formerly establish what will be the actual response of the most important organ of body.

Not only. Using simulation to see a specific detail, for example the contraction of the left ventricle, which must pump blood into aorta, you can virtually see what is happening on the patient, acting consequently.

Quality, efficiency and universality.

The impact of a so important technology on diagnostic quality and efficiency is established. We can only hope for a rapid and widespread dissemination of “model” on international scale to enable the creation of the largest universal platform for biomedical knowledge and the development of new methods that can positively influence medical procedures, thus saving many lives.

Heart Health and Vitamin D Enriched Calcium Supplementation

Is there a connection between heart health and vitamin D? Are vitamin E and heart health linked? Researchers for the Women’s Health Initiative hormone replacement therapy and heart health study also investigated the role of other vitamins and minerals.

Since the calcification of plaques on arterial walls can cause coronary disease, researchers took a look at the relationship between heart health and vitamin D enriched calcium supplementation. After seven years, women taking these supplements had neither a decreased nor an increased risk of blood clots, stroke or heart disease. Although calcium and vitamin D are important for preventing osteoporosis, they do not seem to play a role in heart health.

The hormone replacement therapy and heart health study was ended early because of the number of adverse events experienced by the women in the study. At one time, it was believed that HRT promoted heart health, helped to prevent osteoporosis and improved the general health of post-menopausal women. After the hormone replacement therapy and heart health study was published, the recommendations concerning HRT were changed. Now, it is recommended that women who choose HRT to relieve the symptoms associated with menopause should use the lowest dosage, for the shortest period of time possible.

While there may be no connection between heart health and vitamin D, vitamin E and heart health are believed by many to be clearly linked. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, meaning it reduces the negative affects of oxygen on the body. Preliminary research indicates that vitamin E limits the oxidation of “bad” cholesterol in the arteries. It may help prevent the formation of blood clots. It naturally thins the blood to such an extent that high dosages should be avoided by people using blood thinning medications or with bleeding problems.

Other herbs, amino acids and vitamins are believed to support heart health. These include l-arginine, ginkgo biloba, folic acid, potassium and magnesium. While the hormone replacement therapy and heart health study did not focus on these, the better supplement manufacturers rely on the research provided by numerous groups to formulate products that support heart health.