Bacterial pneumonia far more dangerous to the heart than viral pneumonia

Heart complications in patients diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia are more serious than in patients diagnosed with viral pneumonia, according to new research from the Intermountain Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City.

In the study of nearly 5,000 patients, researchers found that patients diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia had a 60 percent greater risk of a heart attack, stroke, or death than patients who had been diagnosed with viral pneumonia.

“We’ve always known pneumonia was a risk factor for a major adverse cardiac event, like a heart attack, within the first 90 days of being diagnosed,” said J. Brent Muhlestein, MD, a cardiovascular researcher with the Intermountain Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center. “What we didn’t know was which type of pneumonia was more dangerous. The results of this study provided a clear answer, which will allow physicians to better monitor patients and focus on reducing their risk of a major adverse cardiac event.”

Full story at Science Daily

Simple test may help predict long-term outcome after stroke

A simple test taken within a week of a stroke may help predict how well people will have recovered up to three years later, according to a study published in the October 17, 2018, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“We found that this test, which takes less than 10 minutes, can help predict whether people will have impaired thinking skills, problems that keep them from performing daily tasks such as bathing and dressing and even whether they will be more likely to die,” said study author Martin Dichgans, MD, of Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany. “This test should be used to screen people with stroke and to counsel them and their families about long-term prognosis and also to identify those who would most benefit from interventions that could improve their outcomes.”

For the study, 274 people in Germany and France who had a stroke were given the test, called the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, within a week of the stroke. They were then divided into two groups: those with no problems with thinking and memory skills and those with cognitive impairment. The participants were tested for their thinking and memory skills, motor functioning and ability to complete daily living tasks six months later and then at one and three years after the stroke.

Full story at Science Daily

Study: Half of Women, One-Third of Men Will Develop Dementia, Parkinson’s or Stroke

ALMOST HALF OF WOMEN and more than one-third of men will develop Parkinson’s disease, dementia or suffer a stroke after age 45.

A new study published Tuesday in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry examined 12,102 people aged 45 and older from 1990 through 2016 to observe their lifetime risk of these diseases. Researchers found that 1,489 people were diagnosed with dementia, 1,285 had a stroke and 263 were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Women are more likely than men to experience any of these conditions. A woman’s lifetime risk for any one of the three is 48.2 percent, compared to 36.3 percent for men. Among the participants, 438 of them, 14.6 percent developed multiple conditions, with women more likely to suffer from disease co-occurrence. Women were nearly twice as likely as men to suffer both a stroke and to be diagnosed with dementia – 2.9 percent of women compared to 1.9 percent of men.

Full story at US News

Mediterranean-style diet may lower women’s stroke risk

One of the largest and longest-running efforts to evaluate the potential benefits of the Mediterranean-style diet in lowering risk of stroke found that the diet may be especially protective in women over 40 regardless of menopausal status or hormone replacement therapy, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke.

Researchers from the Universities of East Anglia, Aberdeen and Cambridge collaborated in this study using key components of a traditional Mediterranean-style diet including high intakes of fish, fruits and nuts, vegetables, cereal foods and potatoes and lower meat and dairy consumption.

Study participants (23,232 white adults, 40 to 77) were from the EPIC-Norfolk study, the United Kingdom Norfolk arm of the multicenter European Prospective Investigation into Cancer study. Over a 17-year period, researchers examined participants’ diets and compared stroke risk among four groups ranked highest to lowest by how closely they adhered to a Mediterranean style diet.

Full story at Science Daily

Patients with sepsis at higher risk of stroke, heart attack after hospital discharge

Patients with sepsis are at increased risk of stroke or myocardial infarction (heart attack) in the first 4 weeks after hospital discharge, according to a large Taiwanese study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Sepsis accounts for an estimated 8 million deaths worldwide, and in Canada causes more than half of all deaths from infectious diseases.

Researchers looked at data on more than 1 million people in Taiwan, of whom 42 316 patients had sepsis, matched with control patients in the hospital and the general population. All sepsis patients had at least one organ dysfunction, 35% were in the intensive care unit and 22% died within 30 days of admission. In the total group of patients with sepsis, 1012 had a cardiovascular event, 831 had a stroke and 184 had a myocardial infarction within 180 days of discharge from hospital. Risk was highest in the first 7 days after discharge, with more than one-quarter (26%) of myocardial infarction or stroke occurring in the immediate period and 51% occurring within 35 days.

Full story at Science Daily

Common painkiller linked to increased risk of major heart problems

The commonly used painkiller diclofenac is associated with an increased risk of major cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke, compared with no use, paracetamol use, and use of other traditional painkillers, finds a study published by The BMJ this week.

The findings prompt the researchers to say that diclofenac should not be available over the counter, and when prescribed, should be accompanied by an appropriate front package warning about its potential risks.

Diclofenac is a traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for treating pain and inflammation and is widely used across the world.

But its cardiovascular risks compared with those of other traditional NSAIDs have never been examined in large randomised controlled trials, and current concerns about these risks make such trials unethical to conduct.

Full story at Science Daily

Breastfeeding may help protect mothers against stroke

Breastfeeding is not only good for babies, there is growing evidence it may also reduce the risk for stroke in post-menopausal women who reported breastfeeding at least one child, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death among women aged 65 and older, and is the third leading cause of death among Hispanic and black women aged 65 and older, according to the study.

“Some studies have reported that breastfeeding may reduce the rates of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in mothers. Recent findings point to the benefits of breastfeeding on heart disease and other specific cardiovascular risk factors,” said Lisette T. Jacobson, Ph.D., M.P.A., M.A., lead author of the study and assistant professor in the department of preventive medicine and public health at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita.

Full story at Science Daily

Epilepsy Affects People of All Ages, Including Seniors

IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE are experiencing epilepsy for the first time after age 65, you’re not alone. Among seniors, epilepsy is one of the top three most common neurological conditions. In fact, epilepsy starts more often in old age than in middle age, reflecting the parallel increase over time of some of its causes – such as stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and brain tumors.

Epilepsy poses special challenges for seniors. The first may be receiving the correct diagnosis. Gathering a clear description of the epileptic seizures may be difficult for seniors who live alone or in a residential care facility. Even if the seizures are witnessed or recorded on a smartphone, it may be difficult to recognize the signs, because seizures tend to look different in seniors than in younger people. They may be easily mistaken for other conditions that are common in seniors, such as stroke, dizziness and memory lapses. A neurologist can help uncover the problem and will likely perform an electroencephalogram, or EEG, and a brain MRI.

Once epilepsy is diagnosed, the next step is treatment with medication. For seniors, this also raises some special issues. As we age, our liver and kidneys become less efficient at eliminating drugs from the body, and we require lower and more frequent doses and more careful monitoring for side effects. Seniors with balance problems, fatigue, confusion, slow thinking or tremor may be especially sensitive to drug side effects. It’s important to communicate any concerns to your doctor so that the medication can be adjusted as needed to keep side effects at bay.

Full story at US News

Announcing New Guideline on Managing Disorders of Consciousness

A new guideline for managing disorders of consciousness (people in a minimally conscious state) has been published in the journals Neurology (PDF) and Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PDF). The development of the new guideline was partially funded by ACL’s National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), and two of its co-authors are grantees in NIDILRR’s TBI Model Systems program.

The guideline provides recommendations to improve diagnosis, health outcomes, and care of people with these disorders. About four in 10 people who are thought to be unconscious are actually aware.

Consciousness is a state of being awake and aware of one’s self and surroundings. A person with a disorder of consciousness has trouble being awake, or being aware or both. People in minimally conscious state have behaviors that show they are conscious, such as tracking people with their eyes or following an instruction to open their mouths, but the behaviors are often subtle and inconsistent. A disorder of consciousness can be caused by a severe brain injury resulting from trauma, such as a fall, a car accident or sports injury. It can also be caused by a disease or illness, such as stroke, heart attack or brain bleed.

Full story at acl.gov

Exercise cuts risk of chronic disease in older adults

New research has shown that older adults who exercise above current recommended levels have a reduced risk of developing chronic disease compared with those who do not exercise.

Researchers at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research interviewed more than 1,500 Australian adults aged over 50 and followed them over a 10-year period.

People who engaged in the highest levels of total physical activity were twice as lively to avoid stroke, heart disease, angina, cancer and diabetes, and be in optimal physical and mental shape 10 years later, experts found.

Lead Researcher Associate Professor Bamini Gopinath from the University of Sydney said the data showed that adults who did more than 5000 metabolic equivalent minutes (MET minutes) each week saw the greatest reduction in the risk of chronic disease.

Full story at Science Daily