News tips from the American Heart Association


American Heart Association meeting report

9:30 a.m. PST Abstract #17 Depression may nearly double risk of cardiac arrest. Clinical depression may nearly double the risk of primary cardiac arrest (PCA), even in the absence of other heart disease risk factors. This assessment comes from a population-based study in Washington state of 1,995 cases of out-of-hospital PCA and 3,756 "controls" who had not had PCA. Data on depression diagnosis and hospitalizations were obtained from medial records. Using logistic regression to calculate depression's association with PCA, researchers found the prevalence of depression was 11.3 percent in those who had PCA vs. 6.3 percent in controls an "odds ratio" of 1.9. Similar results came after adjustments for various confounders. "Clinical depression may be a risk factor of PCA independent of established CHD risk factors," the researchers conclude. "This finding extends the deleterious impact of depression on health in general and PCA in particular."

2:45 p.m. PST Abstract #25 Women who are at highest risk have lowest awareness of stroke. An American Heart Association and American Stroke Association survey finds awareness and knowledge about stroke to be "sub-optimal" among women, especially in ethnic minorities, who are at highest risk. In a telephone survey, 1,024 women over age 25, (68 percent white, 12 percent black, 12 percent Hispanic), were questioned about heart and stroke risk. Only 26 percent of women 65 and older, the group with highest incidence of stroke, reported being well informed about stroke. More Hispanics (32 percent) than whites (19 percent) and blacks (20 percent) said they were not at all informed about stroke. Correct identification of stroke warning signs was low among all ethnic and age groups, with more whites citing one-sided weakness or numbness and speech difficulties as early warnings. "These data support the need for targeted educational programs regarding stroke risk and symptoms, and underscore the importance of public health programs to improve awareness of stroke in women," researchers say.

3:30 p.m. PST Abstract #LB11 This late-breaking report asserts that use of only the pediatric body mass index (BMI) growth chart to determine overweight in children will "under-diagnose" 2.1 million overweight teenagers.

3:30 p.m. PST Abstract #P166 Alcohol, fat, but not carbs, raise levels of CHD-fighting peptide. Research has suggested that adiponectin, a recently discovered peptide derived from fat cells, improves insulin sensitivity and may curb inflammation and artery disease. High levels of adiponectin appear to be associated with lower risk of coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Now, Harvard scientists have clarified relationships between dietary factors and blood levels of this apparent disease-fighter. In their study of 532 men, moderate alcohol intake raised adiponectin levels compared to non-drinkers, but higher alcohol intake lowered them. Adiponectin also increased with higher total fat intake but not with carbohydrate intake. Further analysis found that "glycemic load" increased as adiponectin decreased. Researchers say their data suggest a link between moderate alcohol intake and higher adiponectin levels, while a carbohydrate-rich diet with a high glycemic load is associated with lower levels. Thus adiponectin may be a "mediator" between dietary factors and coronary disease.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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