Why Your Cholesterol Counts

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The first results from the survey Cholesterol Counts reveal how much Americans know about their individual cholesterol numbers and the risks associated with high LDL-C (bad cholesterol).
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Turns out, approximately 71 million Americans have high levels of LDL-C and many remain at risk for heart attacks and strokes.
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This is despite management with diet and medications.

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Cardiovascular events, including heart attacks and strokes, are the leading cause of death in the U.S.

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Cholesterol Counts is a collaboration between Sanofi US and Regeneron and leading patient and professional cardiovascular organizations Foundation of the National Lipid Association (FNLA), Mended Hearts and Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association (PCNA) to gauge how much Americans know about cholesterol.

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Dr. Ralph Vicari and Michele Packard-Milam, discuss the state of cholesterol awareness in the U.S., gaps that exist in knowledge and what every American needs to know about controlling high cholesterol and in particular LDL-C (bad cholesterol).

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Michele is executive director of Mended Hearts and Mended Little Hearts. Mended Hearts is the largest peer-to-peer heart patient support organization in the world, making more than 215,000 visits to patients each year

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They also provide information on where patients and their families can find information and resources.

c13Produced for Sanofi US and Regeneron. 

 

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 ABOUT DR. RALPH M. VICARI

Ralph Vicari, MD has been a practicing Cardiovascular Disease specialist for 30 years in Melbourne, FL. He is certified by The American Board of Internal Medicine for Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Disease. Dr. Vicari is affiliated with the Orlando VA Medical Center and is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Central Florida. He has participated in over 200 studies in cardiovascular disease. He was awarded the Southeast Lipid Association President’s Award in 2013 for community service education.

Dr. Vicari received his medical degree from Loyola Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago. He completed an internal medicine residency at Georgetown University School of Medicine, as well as a cardiology fellowship at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

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ABOUT MICHELE PACKARD-MILAM

Michele Packard-Milam, CAE is executive director of Mended Hearts and Mended Little Hearts. Mended Hearts is the largest peer-to-peer heart patient support organization in the world, making more than 215,000 visits to patients each year; Mended Little Hearts empowers families affected by congenital heart disease with support and education.

A Certified Association Executive (CAE) since 2006, Packard-Milam was previously executive director of Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association and held long tenures with Promotional Products Association International, the American Heart Association and Sara Lee. Packard-Milam brings broad experience in many areas of association and business development, including strategic planning, knowledge-based governance, corporate development, licensing, brand management, advertising and website strategy. She resides in Dallas with her husband of 34 years, three children (26, 23 and 17) and numerous flora and fauna.

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For more information about the program or to take the Cholesterol Counts Poll to get counted, visit www.CholesterolCounts.com.

Click here for interview with cardiovascular disease specialist, Dr. Ralph Vicari discussing the state of cholesterol awareness in the U.S.  http://bcove.me/vcodeqx4

 

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Sitcom Sensation Vicki Lawrence Shares Health Challenge

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Vicki Lawrence, comedienne and Emmy® Award-winning actress reveals her struggle with chronic idiopathic urticarial or ICU.

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She joins me with Dr. Beth Corn, Board-certified allergist, Associate Professor and member of AAFA’s National Board of Directors.
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Vicki Lawrence is no stranger to being quick on her feet and playing off improv lines on stage.  In fact, she’s a legend.
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But when the comedienne and Emmy® Award-winning actress was diagnosed with CIU, she was caught off-guard. 
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Vicki, best known as the star of sitcom Mama’s Family…
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And as part of the ensemble cast of the The Carol Burnett Show, known for inducing uncontrollable belly laughs.
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And, more recently, appearing on Hannah Montana. 
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She was diagnosed with CIU four years ago.  It appeared out of the blue and can happen to anyone.
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Vicki wants to help motivate others to talk to their doctors about their symptoms as she did.
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CIU is characterized by hives that spontaneously occur without an identifiable cause and reoccur for six weeks or more.
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Symptoms come and go unpredictably. They include red, itchy hives on the skin which can last months and even years.
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In the U.S., it is estimated that approximately 1.5 million people suffer from CIU.
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Now, Vicki is partnering with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Genentech to share her experience with CIU to encourage people to have a robust and meaningful dialogue with their medical specialist as part of a new national campaign called CIU & You.
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CIU & You is an educational program focused on supporting the specific needs of people who have CIU.
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It aims to empower patients to talk to their doctors to discuss treatment options with an allergist or dermatologist.
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The program also provides a downloadable symptom tracker and discussion guide for patients to use when talking with doctors.
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CIU & You is developed in partnership with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), and made possible by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Genentech. For additional information, visit www.CIUandYou.com.
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For more information, speak with your doctor to better understand the disease and potential treatments.
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 More About Vicki Lawrence
Vicki Lawrence is a comedienne and Emmy® Award-winning actress. She is famous for her role on The Carroll Burnett Show and Mama’s Family, and, more recently, on Hannah Montana. In 2010, Lawrence was diagnosed with CIU. For her official bio, please visit http://www.vickilawrence.com/VickisBio2013.html.
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More About Dr. Corn

Dr. Beth Corn is a Board Certified Allergist practicing in New York City and an Assistant Professor of Medicine with over 20 years of experience in healthcare. She serves on the national board of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

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You may be surprised to learn something new about Vicki Lawrence and your health by watching the interview here: http://bcove.me/vwg0asb5

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And visiting www.CIUandYou.com for more information.

headshot  MARIA DORFNER is the founder of Healthy Within Network.  She can be reached at maria.dorfner@yahoo.com

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“When We Tell Stories…People Listen.”

Do Kids Cause Gray Hair? What Does Plucking One Gray Hair Do?

flu61 Time for some gray hair myth busting. Parents often joke stress caused by their children is to blame for gray hair.

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But Cleveland Clinic Dermatologist, Dr. Wilma Bergfeld says that’s not true.

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Stress actually creates a whole different hair hassle.

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CG: Dr. Wilma Bergfeld/Cleveland Clinic

“It does have an impact on hair loss because stress elevates your adrenal gland’s activity and also activates some of the receptors at the hair follicle level, which induce a shed, which is hair falling out by the roots.” :16

NICE.  YOU WON’T GRAY, BUT YOU MAY BALD. THANKS FOR CLEARING THAT UP.

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“Most people will naturally gray as they age.”

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DR. BERGFELD adds hair turns gray when pigment-producing cells die.

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GENES AND HEREDITY WILL USUALLY DETERMINE WHEN YOUR HAIR TURNS GRAY.

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SO, WHETHER YOU HAVE FAMILY MEMBERS WHO GRAY IN THEIR TEENS OR INTO THEIR FIFTIES – YOU MAY AS WELL.

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AND IF YOU’VE HEARD THAT PLUCKING ONE GRAY HAIR, WILL RESULT IN TWO MORE – DON’T BELIEVE IT.

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ACCORDING TO DR. BERGFELD, THAT’S A MYTH TOO.

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CG: Dr. Wilma Bergfeld/Cleveland Clinic 

“When you pluck the hair it generally returns gray. It doesn’t return in multiples though. ” :05

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DR. BERGFELD SAYS THAT OTHER THAN COLORING YOUR HAIR, THERE’S USUALLY NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO PREVENT GRAYING.

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SHE ADDS THAT AGING IS BEAUTIFUL AND ENCOURAGES WOMEN TO EMBRACE IT BY KEEPING THEIR SKIN AND HAIR HEALTHY.

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(Broadcast Media: See Pathfire #9923 for SOT and VO)    For more information visit http://www.clevelandclinic.org

I have more questions. If you do too send them in comments and we’ll follow-up.

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  mariawalking5MARIA DORFNER is the founder of Healthy Within   Network.

Unconditional Love When Caring for a Parent With Alzheimer’s

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More than 15.5 million Americans (family members and friends) provide unpaid care for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.

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Women make up 65% percent of caregivers for people with these illnesses, putting them at the center of the growing Alzheimer’s crisis.

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Alzheimer’s disease makes people forget things which can frustrate family members or friends.

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Symptoms include memory loss and the inability to do normal tasks like cooking and dressing.

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Kailen Rosenberg, known as the “Love Architect” and an expert on unconditional love is the author of Real Love, Right Now. 

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She talks about the importance of unconditional love when you are a caretaker.

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She is joined by Betsy Broyles Arnold, who was caregiver for her mother who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

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They discuss the challenging role of the caregiver and the impact of Alzheimer’s disease that many often do not see.

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Click Link for Interview:  https://www.hightail.com/download/UlRSMFh2cGtlM1R2WnRVag

 a51About Kailen Rosenberg: 

Known as “Love Architect” Kailen Rosenberg is more than just a matchmaker but a teacher of “love on a higher level.” She’s been featured as a regular guest on more than 400 print, online, radio and television interviews, including the Today Show, Good Moring America, Cosmopolitan, Men’s Fitness, Marie Claire, Redbook, Self, Oprah.com, the Oprah Winfrey Network, BBC Worldwide, E4, The Huffington Post, and more.  For more information please visit http://www.thelovearchitect.com

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About Betsy Broyles Arnold

Betsy is the daughter of football icon Coach Frank Broyles who, along with her twin sister, Linda, became the primary caregiver to their mother, Barbara, who lost her battle with Alzheimer’s in 2004.  That experience led her — together with her sister and father — to create The Frank and Barbara Broyles Foundation to help families and caregivers who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.   For more information please visit: http://www.alzheimersunconditionallove.com

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headshot  MARIA DORFNER is the founder of MedCrunch.  She can be reached at maria.dorfner@yahoo.com

Rare Fatal Lung Disease: What You Need to Know

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 In 2000, John Morthanos from New Haven, CT was feeling winded and he thought he was having a heart attack because he was having trouble breathing; doctors found that his heart was fine, but there was a mysterious spot on his lung.

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After numerous doctor’s visits and tests, his breathing problems were attributed to acid reflux, stress and even allergic reactions to his cats. A lung biopsy also found mild scarring.

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However, John’s breathing problems became progressively worse, to the point that he couldn’t walk up the stairs without being winded and taking the trash out felt like pushing a car up a hill. It was then that John knew something was really wrong.

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Finally, in 2011 after being referred to experts at Yale University, John received devastating news: he had idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a life-threatening disease that causes permanent and progressive scarring of the lungs.

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Immediately, John, his wife Paula and his medical team developed a treatment plan, including supplemental oxygen and pulmonary rehabilitation. Because his condition was getting worse, John later received a single-lung transplant. Today, John is focused on raising awareness about IPF so others can hopefully avoid the struggles he faced securing a timely diagnosis.

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A new survey uncovers the emotional and physical impact of this rare and fatal lung disease called, Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. 

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Less than 1 in 3 patients and caregivers are prepared for how IPF will affect their daily life.
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Imagine being diagnosed with a deadly disease you have never heard of.
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A disease that your family and friends have never heard of.
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A disease with no colored ribbons, no 5k runs to help people who face the disease band together.
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One like IPF – a rare and fatal lung disease that permanently scars the lungs and causes difficulty breathing.
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 There are symptom management options, and now FDA approved medications to help patients suffering from IPF.
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Even so, patients and caregivers living with IPF experience an unexpected emotional toll prior to and after diagnosis.
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The recent survey illuminates the IPF patient and caregiver experience.
 
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The survey, conducted in 100 self-reported IPF patients and 100 caregivers, offers key insights into this orphan disease, including:
 
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  • On average, patients experience IPF symptoms for nearly two years before being diagnosed 

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  • More than three-quarters of patients and caregivers affected by coughing caused by IPF say that people often keep a distance because of it; and more than half of patients and caregivers using supplemental oxygen feel that it is embarrassing to be seen with the equipment

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Dr. Jeffrey Swigris, Pulmonologist, and John Morthanos, IPF patient, discuss:
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  • Signs and symptoms of IPF

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  • Impact of IPF on the everyday lives of patients and caregivers, according to the survey

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  • Why education and support may help address the needs of patients, caregivers and their doctors

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LINK TO INTERVIEW with Dr. Jeffrey Swigris, Pulmonologist, and John Morthanos, IPF patient:

https://www.hightail.com/download/UlRSMFhtcWYrV3hBSXRVag

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About Jeffrey James Swigris (pulmonologist):

National Jewish Health

 Jeffrey Swigris, DO, MS, is an Associate Professor of Medicine at National Jewish Health and the University of Colorado. His clinical interest is in evaluating and caring for patients with interstitial lung disease (ILD) of any cause. Dr. Swigris’s individual research program focuses on how patients perceive living with ILD, how to assess those perceptions and how caretakers might improve quality of life in patients suffering from ILD. He was recently awarded funding for a nationwide research project: The Participation Program for Pulmonary Fibrosis or P3F (www.PFresearch.org). He is a member of the American Thoracic Society, American College of Chest Physicians and is on the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation’s Medical Advisory Board.

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If you suspect you have any of the same symptoms as John, please visit: http://www.lungsandyou.com for more information on IPF.

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Rare Gene Discovery: Protects Against Bipolar

 

bipolar4UMMS researchers uncover genetic pathway that could lead to better treatment for bipolar.

bipolar1A team of scientists led by researchers at the UMass Medical School and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (UMMSM) have identified what is likely a key genetic pathway underlying bipolar disorder, a breakthrough that could lead to better drugs for treating bipolar affective disorder, as well as depression and other related mood disorders.

bipolar6The new findings, published online this week in Nature Molecular Psychiatry, show that a rare genetic dwarfism called Ellis van-Creveld (EvC) syndrome protects against bipolar affective disorder.

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The discovery was made thanks to decades of translational research in a few Old Order Amish families of Pennsylvania with a high incidence of both diseases.

bipolar2Forty years of documented research across multiple generations showed that no person with EvC has been reported with bipolar disorder.

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“No one doubts that bipolar affective disorder has an important, disease causing genetic component,” said neurologist and geneticist Edward I. Ginns, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry at UMMS and lead author of the study.

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“In our search for the causes of bipolar affective disorder, this is a paradigm changing discovery that could lead to better treatments.”

bipolar11Bipolar affective disorder is a common psychiatric illness characterized by recurring swings from periods of high energy and mania to periods of low energy and sadness.

bipolar12During periods of mania, the need for sleep is reduced and a person feels or acts abnormally happy, energetic and impulsive.

bipolar7They often make poorly thought-out decisions with little regard for the consequences. Cycles of depression may include crying, poor eye contact with others, and a negative outlook on life.

bi3Patients suffering from bipolar disorder have a higher risk for suicide and self-harm and suffer from other ailments, such as heart disease, related to poor lifestyle choices.

bipolar5Though many factors likely contribute to onset of the disease, various studies over the years have provided ample evidence that there is an important genetic component to the illness.

bi9However, previous attempts to isolate individual genes connected to bipolar disorder have been unsuccessful.

bi6In her research among the Old Order Amish, which extends back more than 40 years, Janice A. Egeland, PhD, professoremerita of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at UMMSM and co-author of the current study, found that both EvC and bipolar were prevalent in an extended family descended from the same progenitor.

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Both conditions clearly travelled together over the generations in a few families extending from this same pioneer. Yet no person with EvC was ever reported with bipolar disorder despite decades of research across multiple generations.

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“Few research efforts can claim to have extended over half a century using various building stones to reach a goal,” said Dr. Egeland.

bi5EvC dwarfism results from genetic mutations that disrupt the signaling pathway known as sonic hedgehog (Shh). Statistical analyses confirmed the significant negative association between EvC and bipolar disorder.

bi2This further suggested that the Shh pathway plays a role in bipolar disorder.

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“Since mutations causing EvC do so by disrupting Shh protein function, linking abnormal Shh signaling to major affective disorders provides a concrete molecular and medical basis for patients’ symptoms that should help break down the stigma associated with mental illnesses,” said Dr. Ginns.

“If we can understand more details of the Shh signaling pathway in bipolar disorder, it could dramatically change the way we diagnose and treat these conditions.”

bi32According to Ginns, drugs already in clinical trials for other medical conditions that target Shh protein signaling may have the potential to be better treatments for bipolar disorder.

“Importantly, it’s possible that drugs that modulate Shh signaling may offer a new strategy for treating some patients with affective disorders,” he said.

bi31The current findings are supported by an earlier genome-wide search for genetic loci linked to mental health wellness in relatives at high risk for bipolar disorder among the Old Order Amish, published by Ginns and colleagues in PNAS(1998).

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“Revisiting our work from the late 90s has paid off. There’s a joy of following up linkage work as new information becomes available,” said Robert C. Elston, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Case Western Reserve University.

“I wish for the patient’s sake that we could have put this puzzle together a decade ago, but some of the pieces were not known until more recently,” said Marzena Galdzicka, PhD, clinical assistant professor of pathology at UMMS.

bi8Ginns cautioned that although “we have a good idea of potential novel drug target(s) that could stop symptoms, it’s still unclear what changes along the Shh pathway lead to bipolar disorder.

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The Shh pathway involves more than a dozen other molecules, and interacts with over 100 other genes.

brainhealth21It’s likely that other genes or proteins in this pathway may participate in determining the various symptoms and sometimes catastrophic outcomes seen in patients with affective disorders, including suicide.”

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Ginns and his collaborators are already working to unravel more details of the puzzle and identify changes in the Shh signaling and related pathways that correlate with disease symptoms.

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“Even though the symptoms of bipolar affective disorder can be quite varied and complicated, the underlying genetics might actually have a more simple cause than we could have imagined,” said Ginns.

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Please check back next week as I’ll share an interview with Edward I. Ginns, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry at UMMS and lead author of the study.

 

 

Interview with Steven Nissen, Cleveland Clinic’s Chairman of Heart Health

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February is American Heart Health Month…

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No better time to see how vital your heart health is…

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Turns out, men need more reminders than women…

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A recent Heart Health Survey by the Cleveland Clinic says men are LESS likely to take matters into their own hands…

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Men are less likely than women to change their diet…

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Even AFTER they’ve had personal experience with heart disease.

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Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at Cleveland Clinic is here to tell us why and what else you can do to take good care of your heart.

 

  • Steven E. Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio is a cardiologist, researcher and patient advocate.

LINK TO INTERVIEW:  http://we.tl/3UYWUxcc4N

 

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Fifty-two percent (52%) have tried a diet in the past year to potentially improve their heart health but chose the wrong diet. 

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And, among individuals who either have heart disease or have family members with heart disease the number jumps to 68 percent – with women more likely than men to change their diet due to personal experience (74% vs. 62%).

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Even though we know that a diet based on processed food, super-sized fast food, frozen food, fried food and all manner of snacks and desserts is not good for us – it is difficult for many to stick to heart healthy diet. 
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Of those surveyed the biggest culprit of unhealthy eating is the convenience of vending machines and/or fast food restaurants followed by lack of time and social gatherings.
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And, among those surveyed men are more likely to be negatively impacted by the convenience of unhealthy food options.
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While most dietary plans tell you what you can’t eat (usually your favorite foods!), the most powerful nutrition strategies help you focus on what you can and should eat.
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In fact, research has shown that adding certain foods to your diet is just as important as cutting back on others.
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There are several practical and easy-to follow diet and lifestyle changes that can help significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and heart attack as well as improve your overall health and well-being.
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·       Know your fats.  Recent research shows that trans-fats, also known as hydrogenated oils, are harmful, while monounsaturated fats particularly olive oil, appear healthy.
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Both polyunsaturated (most vegetable oils) and saturated fats (milk and meat) are neutral. The conventional advice suggesting that saturated fats, such as butter, are harmful doesn’t seem to hold up to careful scrutiny.
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·       Eat more unprocessed foods.  Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, fiber and decrease the number of desserts and sweets you eat to a few times per month.
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·       Moderation is key.  You can drink alcohol – just be sure to imbibe in moderation.
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·       Move!  Get moving and do it on a regular basis.
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·       Maintain.  Maintain or work to achieve a healthy body weight.
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·       Get cholesterol in check.  Be sure to get your cholesterol regularly.
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  • ABOUT STEVEN E. NISSEN:
    Nissen graduated high school from the Webb School of California and pursued his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan. He then went on to receive his medical degree from the University of Michigan School of Medicine in Ann Arbor. He completed his internal medicine internship and residency at the University of California, Davis in Sacramento, thereafter completed his cardiology fellowship at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington.

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  • Nissen produced the first images in humans in 1990 and began using IVUS to document the ubiquitous prevalence of coronary artery disease.Joining Cleveland Clinic in 1992, Nissen served as Vice-Chairman of the Department of Cardiology (1993–2002), Section Head of Clinical Cardiology (1992–2000) and Director of the Coronary Intensive Care Unit (1992–1997).

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  • Starting with linked COX-2 inhibitors, such as Vioxx (rofecoxib) in 2001, Nissen was one of the first physicians to link it to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.  In 2003 Nissen led a Journal of the American Medical Association study, producing evidence that five weekly infusions of ApoA-I Milano/phospholipids complex, a synthetic form of HDL, can possibly remove significant amounts of plaque from coronary arteries. A few years later, in 2005, Nissen re-analyzed the data related to the Bristol-Myers Squibb drug Pargluva (muraglitazar,), an experimental type 2 diabetes drug. In 2006, Dr. Nissen and his co-investigators reported on The ASTEROID trial (A Study to Evaluate the Effect of Rosuvastatin On Intravascular Ultrasound-Derived Coronary Atheroma Burden).
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Steven Nissen, MD, is the Chairman of the Robert and Suzanne Tomsich Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic’s Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute.

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He was appointed to this position in 2006 after serving nine years as Vice Chairman of the Department of Cardiology and five years as Medical Director of the Cleveland Clinic Cardiovascular Coordinating Center (C5), an organization that directs multicenter clinical trials.Dr. Nissen’s research during the last two decades has focused on the application of intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) imaging to study the progression and regression of coronary atherosclerosis. He has served as International Principal Investigator for several large IVUS multicenter atherosclerosis trials.

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Specialty/Clinical interests: General cardiology, intravascular ultrasound (IVUS), diabetes and the heart, drug safety, coronary intensive care

Dr. Nissen has more than 35 years of experience as a physician. He is world-renowned for his work as a cardiologist, patient advocate and researcher. Equally as significant is his pioneering work in IVUS technology and its use in patients with atherosclerosis. 

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Publications and Speaking: Dr. Nissen has written more than 350 journal articles and 60 book chapters, including many published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association. In recent years, he has also written on the subject of drug safety and was the author of manuscripts highlighting concerns about medications such as Vioxx™, Avandia™, and muraglitazar.
He has testified in both the Senate and the House of Representatives on the topic of drug safety as well as the need to reform the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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As a physician/scientist, Dr. Nissen is often called on by pharmaceutical companies to consult on the development of new therapies for cardiovascular disease. He maintains a long-standing personal policy that requires these companies to donate all related honoraria directly to charity.

Dr. Nissen is currently the editor of Current Cardiology Report.  In 2007, he was listed as Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World – Scientists and Thinkers.”

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He is heavily involved with the American College of Cardiology (ACC), serving as President from March 2006 to March 2007, a member of the ACC Executive Committee from 2004 to 2008, and spending 10 years as a member of the organization’s Board of Trustees. In addition, Dr. Nissen has served several terms on the Program Committee for the ACC Annual Scientific Sessions.

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Dr. Nissen served as a member of the CardioRenal Advisory Panel of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for five years, and as chair of the final year of his membership. He continues to serve as a periodic advisor to several FDA committees as a Special Government Employee.

Dr. Nissen frequently lectures at national and international meetings. He has served as visiting professor, or provided Grand Rounds, at nearly 100 institutions. 
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INTERVIEW with Dr. Steven Nissen http://we.tl/3UYWUxcc4N
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This interview is courtesy of Cleveland Clinic.
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mariabiancodorfner3   Maria Dorfner is the founder of NewsMD Communications and MedCrunch, a division of Healthy Within Network (HWN).