Aspirin lowers risk of early death for patients with diabetes, heart failure

For people living with both Type 2 diabetes and heart failure, taking an aspirin each day appears to lower the risk of dying or being hospitalized for heart failure, according to research being presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 67th Annual Scientific Session. But the data also reveal aspirin use may increase the risk of nonfatal heart attack or stroke, a somewhat contradictory finding that surprised researchers.

The study is the first to assess aspirin as a preventive measure for patients who have both diabetes and heart failure. Aspirin, a blood thinner, is strongly recommended for patients who have previously had a heart attack or stroke, but guidelines are unclear regarding its use as a preventive measure for patients who have cardiovascular risk factors but no history of heart attack or stroke. Previous studies in people who have not had those types of health events have shown conflicting evidence of aspirin’s potential benefits in the general population. In patients with heart failure, some studies suggest a daily aspirin may even be harmful.

About 27 million people in the U.S. have Type 2 diabetes and about 6.5 million U.S. adults have heart failure, a condition in which the heart becomes too weak to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Each condition is associated with an elevated risk of cardiac events, including heart attack and stroke. This study sheds new light on the potential risks and benefits of aspirin for people with both conditions.

Full story at Science Daily

American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month . According to the American Heart Association , approximately 85 million adults (greater than 1 in 3) have cardiovascular disease; more than 43 million adults age 60 and older are impacted.  Additionally, about two-thirds of cardiovascular disease-related deaths occur in people age 75 and older.

With support from the Administration for Community Living (ACL), organizations across the country are offering proven programs to help people better manage chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease. Since 2010, more than 340,000 individuals have participated in chronic disease self-management education (CDSME) and self-management support programs. More than 60% of participants indicate having multiple chronic health conditions, including nearly 42% with hypertension and approximately 15% with heart disease.

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Discovery paves way for treatment to prevent blood vessel damage

The discovery of a previously unknown interaction between proteins could provide a breakthrough in the prevention of damage to healthy blood vessels. Led by the University of Bradford, the research shows how the two proteins combine to protect blood vessels from inflammation and damage and could pave the way for treatments to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

The new study, published in Nature Communications, found that when a protein called SOCS3 binds directly with another protein called Cavin-1, small cell surface regions of blood vessels called caveolae are stabilised, preventing damage. This mechanism, previously unknown, is important for maintaining healthy vascular function. This process happens naturally in healthy cells but can be compromised when damage occurs, through natural processes such as ageing or as a result of lifestyle.

Full story at Science Daily

Determining motor deficits more precisely following a stroke

After a stroke, many people are unable to successfully perform basic hand movements in everyday life. The reason are symptoms of hemiparesis resulting from damage to the brain. These very frequently affect fine motor skills. A team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) is now paving the way to better diagnosis and more targeted therapy.

The fact that patients experience restricted mobility when attempting to grasp, hold and use simple everyday objects and tools after a stroke is assessed by classical tests of their manual dexterity. Very often, it is the Jebsen Taylor Hand Function Test which is performed, where a sentence must be written on a piece of paper. “However, the Jebsen and other tests do not reveal which individual factors lead to stroke patients having difficulty in dealing with grasping and handling simple things, such as a leaf,” says Professor Joachim Hermsdoerfer from the Chair of Human Movement Science at the TUM Department of Sport and Health Sciences. “This is why we developed tests ourselves in order to derive more targeted therapeutic approaches based on the influencing factors identified.” Joachim Hermsdörfer and lead author Kathrin Allgoewer have just published their results in the journal Clinical Neurophysiology.

Full story at Science Daily

Poor sleep is associated with ischemic heart disease and stroke

Poor sleep is associated with ischaemic heart disease and stroke, according to research presented today at ESC Congress. The observational study in nearly 13,000 people revealed different patterns of sleep disturbance between the two conditions, with ischaemic heart disease being linked to shorter sleep and brief moments of waking up.

“Poor sleep is associated with cardiovascular diseases such as ischaemic heart disease and stroke but the kind of sleep disturbances that are most risky is not well documented,” said lead researcher Dr Nobuo Sasaki, of the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Casualty Council, Japan.  “‘Poor sleep’ includes too short or too long sleep, difficulty falling asleep, and difficulty maintaining sleep.”

This study investigated the association between sleep disturbances and cardiovascular disease. It also aimed to clarify possible differences in sleep disturbances between ischaemic heart disease and stroke.

Full story at Science Daily

Men, not women, may be having fewer strokes

The overall rate of stroke in the United States has been declining in recent years and while that has been good news, a new study suggests it may be primarily good news for men. The research, published in the August 9, 2017, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, found that while the stroke rate for men declined during the study period, for women it remained the same.

“For years, women have had a lower overall rate of stroke compared with men, but now men appear to be approaching similar rates. While any decrease in rates of stroke is of course a good thing, it leaves one to wonder why women’s rates are not going down to the same extent,” said study author Tracy E. Madsen, MD, ScM, of the Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence, R.I. “At the end of our study, stroke rates for men and women were nearly the same.”

Recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that stroke has decreased to the fifth leading cause of death for men yet it remains the fourth leading cause of death for women.

Full story at Science Daily

Clinical benefit of clot retrieval now proven up to 24 hours after major ischemic stroke

Results of an international, randomized controlled research study show that mechanical thrombectomy, which is an endovascular treatment to remove a stroke-causing blood clot in the brain, is effective in some patients even when performed within 6 to 24 hours after a stroke.

The findings of the study were presented in late May at the European Stroke Organization Conference 2017 in Prague. Rush University Medical Center is the only Illinois site, one of seven sites in the U.S, and one of only 22 sites in the world to participate in the international study called the DAWN trial where severe stroke patients underwent a thrombectomy after the six hour time window.

“Past published research shows an overwhelming, class 1, level A evidence supporting endovascular clot removal as the standard of care for eligible patients with acute stroke secondary to a large vessel occlusion within the first six hours after symptom onset,” said Dr. Michael Chen, neurointerventionalist and lead investigator of the study at Rush.

Full story of mechanical thrombectomy treatment after stroke at Science Daily

Infections, other factors raise risk of pregnancy-related stroke in women with preeclampsia

Urinary tract infections, chronic high blood pressure and bleeding or clotting disorders may increase the risk of pregnancy-associated stroke in women with preeclampsia, a high-blood pressure disorder unique to pregnancy, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke.

Women with preeclampsia are at higher risk of stroke during pregnancy and after delivery. But while preeclampsia affects 3 percent to 8 percent of all pregnancies, pregnancy-related stroke remain rare.

In a study of women admitted to hospitals in New York State from 2003 through 2012, researchers identified 88,857 women with preeclampsia. Of that number, 197 had pregnancy-associated stroke.

Full story of preeclampsia and pregnancy-related stroke risk at Science Daily

Study results show reduction in disability from stroke up to 24 hours of onset

Results from the DAWN stroke trial presented at the European Stroke Organization Conference (ESOC) provide compelling evidence that selected patients suffering a major ischemic stroke recovered significantly better with mechanical retrieval of the blood clot with medical therapy compared with medical therapy alone when initiated up to 24 hours of the stroke.

University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center was one of the top seven recruiting sites in the multi-site study that had a total of 206 patients in the nation. The results showed that patients treated with the retrieval system, known as mechanical thrombectomy, had significantly decreased post-stroke disability and improved functional independence at 90 days compared to medical management alone.

Full story of the DAWN stroke trial at Science Daily

Helistroke service: Flying the physician to the stroke patient works

Flying a stroke specialist by helicopter to a nearby stroke patient for emergency care is feasible, saves money and, most importantly, gets critical care to patients faster than transporting the patient to a hospital first, according to a single-patient, proof-of-concept study by a Johns Hopkins Medicine research team.

Although the study was not designed to show whether “helistroke service” would improve outcomes for patients, previous research has amply demonstrated that stroke victims do best when they are treated as quickly as possible — ideally in 100 minutes or less.

Full story of helistroke service at Science Daily