Sudden Death Declining in Heart Failure

–Does the trend mean that ICDs are indicated less often? The incidence of sudden death in heart failure patients with reduced ejection fraction, in clinical trials, has declined significantly in the last 20 years, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that may impact inclination to recommend implantable cardioverter-defibrillators…

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Labscam: Rogue Laboratory Testing At Center Of Addiction Treatment Scandal

–‘Sober homes’ in Florida are just the tip of the iceberg. A massive scandal involving fraudulent addiction treatment centers and rogue laboratories has recently surfaced. Several recent news reports have focused on the scandal’s epicenter in Florida, but industry observers say that the scandal is the tip of an iceberg of corruption, abuse, and fraud…

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Merck Reveals Positive Findings For Its CETP Inhibitor

–Surprising success after 3 previous drugs in the class failed. Merck announced on Tuesday that the REVEAL trial with anacetrapib had met its primary endpoint, significantly reducing the rate of coronary death, MI, and coronary revascularization in high risk patients already taking statins. Full results of REVEAL will be presented on August 29 at the European…

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Does Whole Genome Sequencing Have A Role in Primary Care?

–Pilot study confirms feasibility, but clinical value for healthy-seeming people is not obvious Whole genome sequencing (WGS)may one day play an important role in routine medical practice. But the results of a small study suggest that WGS, though perhaps promising, is certainly not ready for prime time. The price of WGS has dropped spectacularly in…

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No One Knows What’s Actually In Red Yeast Rice Supplements

–Despite tighter FDA rules red yeast supplements may not contain the active ingredient– or far too much of it. A new study offers fresh evidence that it is impossible for consumers (or their doctors) to know what they are getting when they buy dietary supplements. Dietary supplements have long been, at best, loosely regulated in…

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My Beef With The AHA’s Saturated Fat Recommendations

–We shouldn’t forget the unintended consequences of dietary recommendations.    The American Heart Association’s position on saturated fat pretends to be science-based but is not, writes Gary Taubes, in a brilliant and wildly popular guest post published here on CardioBrief late last week. The AHA’s statement, which recommends that saturated fats be replaced with polyunsaturated…

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Guest Post: Vegetable Oils, (Francis) Bacon, Bing Crosby, And The American Heart Association

–Gary Taubes responds to the AHA presidential advisory on dietary fats. Editor’s note: I was planning to write about the American Heart Association’s new statement about dietary fats so I asked Gary Taubes for a brief quote. Taubes, of course, is an investigative science and health journalist who has written three major books (Good Calories,…

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Serious Bleeding Risk With Aspirin Soars With Age

–Routine PPI use might cut the risk of major bleeds in people over 75. Older people who take aspirin to prevent a recurrent cardiovascular event should take a proton-pump inhibitor to lower their risk of serious bleeding complications, say the authors of a new study published in the Lancet. After a transient ischemic attack, ischemic…

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Review Lends Modest Support To Chinese Traditional Medicine For CV Disease

–Tantalizing suggestion of benefit but evidence is weak and sparse. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is used by hundreds of millions of Chinese people and increasing numbers of people in developed countries. A new state-of-the-art review published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests that some TCM products may be helpful in different…

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Trustee For Zombie Lab Sues Thousands Of Doctors And Dozens Of Nonprofits

–The suits unveil the scope and sordid details of the massive kickback scheme. Thousands of doctors are being sued by the trustee representing the creditors of Health Diagnostic Laboratory (HDL), the bankrupt laboratory company. The trustee is demanding that the doctors repay thousands of dollars in illegal processing and handling (P&H) fees, a key part…

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The Unintended Consequences Of Bicycle Helmets

(UPDATED) –We should encourage people to cycle, not scare them away. From personal experience I can attest that it is almost impossible, in the US at least, to have an intelligent conversation about bicycle helmets. The universal view is that you have to be crazy not to wear a helmet. Since I almost never wear…

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Study Finds Alarming Increase In US Bicycle Accidents

–But doesn’t consider the public health benefits of cycling The problem: bicycle accidents in adults in the U.S. now cost more than $24 billion a year. The solution: more, not fewer, bikes! A new paper published in the journal Injury Prevention finds that the number and costs of bicycle accidents in the U.S. have risen…

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New Review Supports Aggressive BP Targets

–Meta-analysis supports a systolic blood pressure target of 120 mm Hg A new systematic review and network meta-analysis lends support to more aggressive blood pressure targets. In recent years US guidelines have recommended more relaxed systolic blood pressure targets, ranging from 140 mm Hg to 150 mm Hg, for people with hypertension. But the results…

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Two NEJM Papers Spotlight Promising But Early New Cardio Drugs

Now that cardiologists and other doctors are comfortable talking about PCSK9 inhibitors they can start preparing to add a new mouthful of a therapeutic target to their vocabulary: angiopoietin-like-3 (ANGPTL3). Two papers published in the New England Journal of Medicine by industry researchers provide a snapshot of promising but still early research on two new drugs that target…

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End of the Road for CETP Inhibitors?

With the publication of the ACCELERATE trial in the New England Journal of Medicine the long train of bad and disappointing news for the once-promising approach of CETP inhibition remains unbroken. More than 12,000 high-risk patients were randomized in ACCELERATE to evacetrapib or placebo. In 2015 the trial was prematurely terminated for futility; the main…

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Study Fuels Debate Over When to Start Cholesterol Screening

–For younger adults, study finds low yield of 10-year risk-based screening A new study provides ammunition to supporters of a conservative approach to initiating cholesterol tests in younger adults. But proponents of a more aggressive approach argue that the interpretation does not take into account the enormous burden of cardiovascular disease as people grow older….

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Rigorous Study Debunks Alarms That Statins Cause Muscle Problems

(Updated, May 2, May 4) –The authors say muscle problems with statins are an example of the ‘nocebo’ effect. A new study helps debunk the widespread belief that statins cause muscle-related pain and weakness in large numbers of patients. The “nocebo effect” may be the cause of the epidemic of muscle pain among statin users,…

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Principal Investigator Defends SPRINT Against Critics

–Blood pressure experts disagree about the NIH ‘Landmark’ Trial. Since the first announcement of its preliminary results the SPRINT trial has been the focus of intense controversy. One major focus of contention revolves around the precise technique used to measure blood pressure in the trial. As in all recent large outcome trials in hypertension, blood…

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Concerns Over New Cardiac Blood Test Spark Intense Twitter Discussion

–Cardiologists fear the new high sensitivity troponin test will lead to lots of unnecessary testing. Along with many other cardiologists, Sek Kathiresan (Massachusetts General Hospital and Broad Institute) is worried that a new and improved diagnostic test will have disastrous unintended effects. Kathiresan expressed his concern on Twitter yesterday in response to my summary of a…

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Single Blood Test Rapidly Rules Out MI in Chest Pain

–New high-sensitivity troponin tests may ease perpetual ED dilemma Only a small percentage of emergency department chest pain patients turn out to have acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Now a new blood test can help identify a significant number of patients who are extremely unlikely to have AMI and who can therefore be safely discharged immediately….

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Can SPRINT Be Used To Inform Hypertension Treatment?

–The landmark trial results are not easy to apply to clinical practice. Since the first breathless announcement of its preliminary results, SPRINT trial has been viewed as a landmark trial serving to establish a more aggressive approach to blood pressure management. It is now becoming increasingly clear, however, that the application of SPRINT in the…

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Pendulum Swings Further Away From Vitamin D Supplements

A new randomized controlled trial offers no support for the use of increasingly popular vitamin D supplements to prevent cardiovascular disease or reduce mortality. But the trial, published in JAMA Cardiology, is also not the last word on the subject and leaves open the possibility that vitamin D may be found beneficial in the future…

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Controversial Pharma CEO To Chair AHA Charity Ball

–The Wizard of Oz-themed ball seeks to raise $2 million on the yellow brick road. The American Heart Association’s annual Heart & Stroke Ball will be chaired by John Thero, the CEO of Amarin Corporation, the controversial pharmaceutical company. Amarin manufactures the prescription fish oil product Vascepa for which it is aggressively seeking an expanded indication…

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TV Ads Pushed Inappropriate Use of Testosterone

–Study: prescriptions spiked in direct response to blizzard of ‘Low T’ ads Television ads for testosterone products were highly successful, leading to dramatic increases in the number of men taking testosterone drugs, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. J. Bradley Layton (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)…

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Another HDL Therapy Crashes and Burns

–Failure of pre-beta HDL mimetic puts another nail in the HDL coffin Once again, an HDL-inspired therapy has failed when put to the test in a clinical trial. Although there are still ongoing trials with other HDL-related therapies, most experts now feel that it is time for the field to turn its attention elsewhere and…

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