Statins show little promise for conditions other than heart disease

Medicines commonly prescribed to reduce people’s risk of heart attack may have limited use for treating other diseases, research suggests.

Previous studies had suggested the cholesterol-cutting drugs — called statins — might help people with non-heart related conditions too, including cancer, dementia and kidney disease.

Experts reviewed hundreds of studies and found positive signs the drugs could benefit people with certain conditions, in addition to their proven effects on heart disease, but the results are inconclusive.

The researchers say there is not enough evidence to support a change in current guidance for the way these drugs are prescribed.

Full story at Science Daily

HIV patients at greater risk of both heart and kidney disease

HIV patients and their doctors are urged to be more aware of the additional health risks associated with treated HIV infection. This follows new research that shows HIV patients at high risk for a heart attack or stroke are also at substantially greater risk for chronic kidney disease and vice versa.

The research, led by the University of Adelaide’s Professor Mark Boyd, will be published today in a special issue of the journal PLOS Medicine, which focuses on worldwide advances in HIV prevention, treatment and cure in the lead up to World AIDS Day on 1 December.

Professor Boyd, an infectious diseases expert with the Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide, led an international team to investigate additional diseases associated with HIV infection and its treatment.

Full story at Science Daily

Popular heartburn medication may increase ischemic stroke risk

A popular group of antacids known as proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, used to reduce stomach acid and treat heartburn may increase the risk of ischemic stroke, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2016.

“PPIs have been associated with unhealthy vascular function, including heart attacks, kidney disease and dementia,” said Thomas Sehested, M.D., study lead author and a researcher at the Danish Heart Foundation in Copenhagen, Denmark. “We wanted to see if PPIs also posed a risk for ischemic stroke, especially given their increasing use in the general population.”

Ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke, is caused by clots blocking blood flow to or in the brain.

Full story of popular heartburn medication and stroke risk at Science Daily

Blood pressure targets for individuals with kidney disease should consider patients’ age

New research indicates that higher systolic blood pressure is linked with poor outcomes in patients with kidney disease, although the association diminishes with advanced age. The findings, which come from a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN), provide valuable information concerning patients who are often excluded from blood pressure-lowering clinical trials.

Hypertension is the most important treatable risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and while it is especially common in the elderly and in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), these are the least studied groups in randomized controlled trials examining the health effects of lowering blood pressure. Furthermore, the majority of patients with CKD are elderly; hence it is important to clarify the role of elevated blood pressure in these individuals.

To investigate, Csaba Kovesdy, MD (Memphis VA Medical Center and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center) and his colleagues examined information from the national VA research database and looked for associations between blood pressure and various clinical outcomes — coronary heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and death — in more than 300,000 patients with CKD.

Full story of blood pressure and kidney disease at Science Daily

Gut bacteria byproduct linked to chronic kidney disease for the first time

Cleveland Clinic researchers have, for the first time, linked trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) — a gut metabolite formed during the digestion of egg-, red meat- or dairy-derived nutrients choline and carnitine — to chronic kidney disease.

TMAO has been linked to heart disease already, with blood levels shown to be a powerful tool for predicting future heart attacks, stroke and death. TMAO forms in the gut during digestion of choline and carnitine, nutrients that are abundant in animal products such as red meat and liver. Choline is also abundant in egg yolk and high-fat dairy products.

The research team was led by Stanley Hazen, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Cellular & Molecular Medicine for the Lerner Research Institute and section head of Preventive Cardiology & Rehabilitation in the Miller Family Heart and Vascular Institute at Cleveland Clinic, and W.H. Wilson Tang, M.D., Department of Cardiovascular Medicine in the Miller Family Heart and Vascular Institute and Lerner Research Institute. The research will be published online on January 29th and in the January 30th print edition of Circulation Research.

Full story of bacteria and chronic kidney disease at Science Daily

Coronary calcium predicts heart disease risk in patients with chronic kidney disease

Calcium buildup in the coronary arteries may be a better indicator of kidney disease patients’ risk of heart disease than traditional risk factors used in the general population, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology(JASN). The findings provide valuable new information that could help safeguard the heart health of patients with kidney disease.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in individuals with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Some studies have found that conventional risk factors for predicting an individual’s likelihood of developing heart disease aren’t as useful in CKD patients as they are in the general population.

Kunihiro Matsushita, MD, PhD (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health) and his colleagues looked to see if calcium measurements within blood vessel walls might be helpful. Because the kidney helps regulate the body’s calcium levels, individuals with chronic kidney disease often have altered calcium metabolism, which may influence the usefulness of calcium in the coronary artery walls as an indicator of heart disease.

Full story of heart disease and kidney disease at Science Daily

Exercise provides hope for kidney disease patients and their vulnerable hearts

Leicester doctor has become the first renal physician in the country to be awarded the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinician Scientist Award. The fellowship, worth more than £1 million, will fund a five-year study into the effects of exercise on heart disease in patients with chronic kidney disease who are on dialysis.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects approximately eight per cent of the population and is increasing due to rising obesity, diabetes and hypertension levels. Surprisingly, heart disease — not kidney disease — is the primary cause of death for patients on dialysis who are up 100 times more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke than members of the general population.

Unfortunately traditional methods used to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, for example controlling diet, lowering cholesterol and good management of diabetes, have shown to be completely ineffective at improving outcomes in this patient group.

Full story of exercise and kidney disease at Science Daily