This small device may change how doctors identify and manage patients with atrial fibrillation, an irregular heart rhythm that increases risk of stroke.
And the past. The device uses artificial intelligence, or AI, to not only determine if a person is in the midst of an episode of atrial fibrillation, but also it can reveal if they’ve had the irregular rhythm before or will have it in the future.
Dr. Paul Friedman and his team trained the device to detect subtle changes in the heart’s electrical signals. Then in a study, they found it can identify patients with episodic atrial fibrillation. Even when they record the heart while the rhythm is normal – something no current wearable heart monitor can do.
That’s because a heart monitor won’t detect atrial fibrillation unless you have an episode while wearing it. But in a matter of moments, the AI device can identify people with atrial fibrillation, even if their heart is in normal rhythm. Then they can get on the right treatment to help prevent life-threatening strokes from happening.
From a British Medical Journal (BMJ) Open Heart online article:
The intake of marine omega-3s has consistently been found to have antiarrhythmic effects. When marine omega-3s are consumed, there is an increase in cellular membrane fluidity, inhibition of L-type calcium channels and a reduction in the chance of arrhythmic events during susceptible times. Prospective data suggest that maintaining an omega-3 index of about 8%, which requires consuming seafood rich in omega-3 up to five times per week or consuming over 3 g of EPA and DHA per day, may provide the greatest protection against arrhythmic events.
Marine omega-3s for the prevention of arrhythmias
Omega-3s have been theorised to increase membrane fluidity by reducing compression of the acyl chains of membrane phospholipid fatty acids, which can lead to a reduction in the ‘spring-like’ tension on membrane ion channels. This spring-like tension can reduce the ability of ions to freely move in and out of the ion channel and hence reduce its conductance. This is known as the ‘Andersen membrane spring-like tension hypothesis’ and is just one way marine omega-3s may prevent arrhythmias.
Dietary omega-3s are mainly consumed as triglycerides, which are absorbed as free fatty acids and monoglycerides. These fats then get rapidly resynthesised in the intestine and liver back to triglycerides with subsequent integration into chylomicrons, very low-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) (LDL can actually deliver omega-3s to tissues via LDL receptors).
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From a Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health online release:
The 10 year CVD (cardiovascular disease) incidence increased significantly across the baseline SMI (skeletal muscle mass index) tertiles (p<0.001). Baseline SMM (Skeletal muscle mass) showed a significant inverse association with the 10 year CVD incidence (HR 0.06, 95% CI 0.005 to 0.78), even after adjusting for various confounders. Additionally, participants in the highest SMM tertile had 81% (95% CI 0.04 to 0.85) lower risk for a CVD event as compared with those in the lowest SMM tertile.
Background Skeletal muscle mass (SMM) is inversely associated with cardiometabolic health and the ageing process. The aim of the present work was to evaluate the relation between SMM and 10 year cardiovascular disease (CVD) incidence, among CVD-free adults 45+ years old.
Methods ATTICA is a prospective, population-based study that recruited 3042 adults without pre-existing CVD from the Greek general population (Caucasians; age ≥18 years; 1514 men). The 10 year study follow-up (2011–2012) captured the fatal/non-fatal CVD incidence in 2020 participants (50% men). The working sample consisted of 1019 participants, 45+ years old (men: n=534; women: n=485). A skeletal muscle mass index (SMI) was created to reflect SMM, using appendicular skeletal muscle mass (ASM) standardised by body mass index (BMI). ASM and SMI were calculated with specific indirect population formulas.
The global population is ageing at an unprecedented speed, especially in Europe. As a concept, ageing is considered a continuous process starting from birth and is accompanied by various physiological changes and a number of comorbidities1 2 that affect health and quality of life.3 4 Skeletal muscle mass (SMM)4 alterations are among these physiological changes.
SMM tissue decline, as a part of these physiological changes, starts in middle age (or even earlier, in the 30s) and progresses in more advanced age.5 It has been shown that SMM declines with a rate of more than 3% per decade starting from the age of 30+.6 Half of the human body’s mass is actually SMM and it has an active role in numerous metabolic pathways.5 7 SMM decline is related, among others, to various disability patterns, poor mental health and increased mortality.5 7 8 In addition, well documented studies have shown that SMM alterations are related to cardiovascular health,9 10 even different muscle morphology.11 Recently, Srikanthan et al 12 reported the importance of muscle tissue in relation to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and total mortality in stable CVD patients.
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From a Journal of the American College of Cardiology:
Observational data suggest associations between marijuana and a broad range of adverse cardiovascular risks. Marijuana is becoming increasingly potent, and smoking marijuana carries many of the same cardiovascular health hazards as smoking tobacco. Synthetic cannabinoids have been linked to more sustained and deleterious pharmacodynamic effects.
Marijuana use is increasing as more states are legalizing cannabis for both medicinal and recreational purposes. National survey data estimate that >2 million Americans with established cardiovascular diseases currently use or have used marijuana in its variety of forms, including inhalation and vaping. Cannabinoid receptors are distributed in multiple tissue beds and cells, including platelets, adipose tissue, and myocytes.
• We estimate that >2 million U.S. adults who have reported ever using marijuana have cardiovascular disease.
• Observational studies have suggested an association between marijuana use and a range of cardiovascular risks.
• Marijuana is becoming increasingly potent, and smoking marijuana carries many of the same cardiovascular health hazards as smoking tobacco.
• Few randomized clinical trials have been conducted or are planned to explore the effects of marijuana on cardiovascular risk.
• Screening and testing for use of marijuana are encouraged in clinical settings, especially in the care of young patients presenting with cardiovascular disease.
From a Cedars-Sinai.org online release:
“Our data showed that rates of accelerating blood pressure elevation were significantly higher in women than men, starting earlier in life,” said Cheng, the Erika J. Glazer Chair in Women’s Cardiovascular Health, who also serves as director of Cardiovascular Population Sciences at the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center. “This means that if we define the hypertension threshold the exact same way, a 30-year old woman with high blood pressure is probably at higher risk for cardiovascular disease than a man with high blood pressure at the same age.”
(January 15, 2020) – New research from the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai showed for the first time that women’s blood vessels – including both large and small arteries – age at a faster rate than men’s. The findings, published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Cardiology, could help to explain why women tend to develop different types of cardiovascular disease and with different timing than men.
From a Wall Street Journal online article (01/14/20):
Americans are dying of heart disease and strokes at a rising rate in middle age, normally considered the prime years of life. An analysis of U.S. mortality statistics by The Wall Street Journal shows the problem is geographically widespread.
Death rates from cardiovascular disease among people between the ages of 45 and 64 are rising in cities all across the country, including in some of the most unlikely places.
In the Journal’s analysis, three metro areas east of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains—Colorado Springs, Fort Collins and Greeley—recorded some of the biggest increases. Death rates in each rose almost 25%. The three cities boast robust access to exercise and health care. There are bike trails, good heart-disease treatment-and-prevention programs and nearby skiing and hiking.
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Among asymptomatic patients with very severe aortic stenosis, the incidence of the composite of operative mortality or death from cardiovascular causes during the follow-up period was significantly lower among those who underwent early aortic-valve replacement surgery than among those who received conservative care.